All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Easter Vigil 2014

Bonnie A. Perry

Since the beginning of creation we have been stumbling toward holiness; lurching, leaning, limping toward God in our own brilliant, yet frequently inept way. Since the beginning of creation we have been stumbling toward holiness, stumbling and falling.

Sometimes we fall forward and other times, we fall back: snakes and apples getting in the way. Is there any rhyme or reason to these interludes? If you, like me, have ever found yourself wondering about your life—your trajectory, meaning and purpose—if you find yourself wondering about those things done and left undone—on this night—in this place you find yourself in amazing company.

On this night Jacob—second son of Isaac—who, of course, is the second son of Abraham—Jacob on his way back to meet his older brother—the one he cheated out of everything—Jacob on that dark night on the river bank stumbles and falls or is he tackled and thrown? Either way he spends all night, wrestling with one whom he cannot move beyond.

All night wrestling—finally doing on the ground what he has never done standing up—he receives a blessing he has earned.

Wrestling with God, he is blessed, with every limping step he takes there after he knows he does it with God. He is now more than a cunning man he is a tenacious soul, utterly flawed yet completely called.

And so it goes, Pharoah’s daughter, did she ever expect to be an agent of the holy? To save the one who would set God’s people free? No, only in her boredom and self-absorption she longs to do something grand, something that matters. By chance she plucks Moses from the River Nile and then lurching forward she decides that she rather likes being someone else’s hope. We lurch and we limp and God uses it all.

Hannah, wants a child, a little one, she endures the abuses of short-sighted priests and along the way prays like we do, (you know the prayer) “Oh lord—if you give me this thing—then I promise you that.” Is it good news or bad : “This/that” prayers have been around as long as humanity. “Help me now God with this and I promise you that …”

She prays for a son and promises to give that very son back to God. Which brings us to little Samuel 3 the answer to her prayers. He hears as a boy, God’s call. Little Samuel—eventually anointing Israel’s first king—Saul.

Saul who is a first class nutcase, because we are stumbling toward holiness—falling toward God—none of it as a smooth direct line. It doesn’t go well with Saul—so we move on from him and Samuel, tries again—this time he finds David, God’s anointed one. We lurch once more toward God.

Isaiah, an upright man in the royal courts, never in his life did he expect to find God in that temple. Nor did he ever imagine, angels flying to him in that holy of holies and anointing his lips.

Yet, the next thing he knows he hears himself say, “Oh Lord here I am, send me.” Lurching and limping toward holiness.

Which brings us to this night. With William and Harry, babies beginning and Sarah an adult, finally finding—here we are all together stumbling toward holiness and hope.

Falling frequently, because it is dark. We cannot see well the way. By ourselves we will never get there, but with each other, even in the dark, with each other and the morning stars to guide our way—with each other 4 we will discern the path and find the way, risking, wading into the water, risking, lurching, questioning all. We are stumbling toward holiness, because it is dark now—but not--not for long.


  1. This Week
  2. Services Times
  3. Contact Us
  4. Sermons
Annual Meeting Jan. 28, 2018: Rector's Address

Annual Meeting Jan. 28, 2018: Rector's Address

Here is a link to download Bonnie's address.

Weekly Message for February 18

Weekly Message for February 18

Dear Friends,    


How much longer will the killing continue? 
Here are some groups and activities you might consider supporting with your time and your money: 
  • The IL Council Against Handgun Violence 
  • Moms Demand Action 
  • Gabby Giffords' PAC 

  • And here's a list of congressional representatives who have received the most amount of money from the National Rifle Association. Apparently they are all praying for the people in Florida directly affected by our country’s latest mass shooting. I invite you to pray for their souls and to drop them a note wondering if God is answering their prayers. Will it make a difference? I don’t know. But, being held hostage by a diabolical association that has convinced our elected officials that it is the God-given, constitutionally-sanctioned right of every American to wander around with a semi-automatic rifle is absurd. Seems like all of us ought to start loudly pointing out this insanity.
    I’ll be at the Moms Demand Action Lakeview gathering on the 24th of February. Let me know if you’d like to come with me. Please let me know what other courses of action you plan to take to end gun violence in our country.
    This evening, All Saints’ will be hosting a gathering for the friends, family, and neighbors of our long-term neighbor John Vanzo at 7:00. Tomorrow morning at 10:30 there will be a visitation in the sanctuary and a memorial service at 11:00 am. All are welcome. 
    I’m super excited that we will finally kick off the All Saints’ Youth Group with an overnight this Saturday. Please RSVP to Hilary Waldron if your 7-12 grade child is planning on attending. 
    Following the 11:00 Worship service we will have a Newcomer’s Brunch at O’Shaughnessy’s at 12:15. Please join us!
    This Sunday, Emily will be preaching, I’ll be celebrating, and our choir will be singing some wonderfully moving Lenten music. It seems like the right time to be praying and repenting. So please come and join me.
    All my best,


    Memorial Service for John Vanzo

    Memorial Service for John Vanzo

    AUGUST 13 2013 11The memorial service for our friend and neighbor John Vanzo will be held at All Saints' this Saturday the 17th, at 11:00 am. There will be a visitation in the sanctuary prior to the service, beginning at 10:30am. All are welcome. 

    On Friday evening, the 16th, we will host a time of conversation and story telling for John's friends and family. All are invited from 7 to 9pm to share a drink, and hear and tell a favorite story of the very many sides of John.

    May John's soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


    Lenten Evening Prayer

    Lenten Evening Prayer

    On Thursdays, February 15-March 22, brief services of Evening Prayer will be offered at 7:00pm, with scripture, poetry, and song. Come find rest for your souls.

    Inquirers’ Class

    Inquirers’ Class

    On Thursdays, February 15—March 22, the Inquirers’ Class will take place in the Reading Room next to the sanctuary. Designed especially but not exclusively for those new to All Saints’ and/or the Episcopal Church, this 6-week series is an exploration of adult spirituality through history, prayer, scriptures, theology, church polity, and more. If desired, it may also serve as preparation for the rite of confirmation or reception into the Episcopal Church in May or June.

    The book we’ll refer to occasionally in the class is called Jesus was an Episcopalian (and you can be one, too!): A Newcomer’s Guide to the Episcopal Church by Chris Yaw. If you’re interested in joining the class, consider getting a copy to look over.

    Contact Bonnie or Emily for more info.

    Bags for RCS

    Bags for RCS

    We're running low on paper and reusable bags for our Tuesday night pantry. Please bring us your extras! 
    We will be taking donations on Tuesday evenings, M-F 9am-4pm, and on Sundays during church services. Look for the bins by the doors. Thanks for your help!

    Community Kitchen Volunteers Needed

    Community Kitchen Volunteers Needed

    Tuesdays 6:15-8:00pm 

    RCS is looking for help serving and cleaning up after dinner on Tuesdays from 6:15-8:00pm.

    If you're able to volunteer, contact Emily or Operations Manager Parker Callahan, or call 773-769-0282.

    Donate to The 1883 Project

    Donate to The 1883 Project

    Please consider supporting the restoration project of our historic building. To make a donation, click here

    1883 Construction web 

    Fixing This Old Church

    Fixing This Old Church

    Here is a collection of photos of the progress of our 1883 Project. Here is a collection of bell tower photos. Check back often for updates.

    Sunday Service Times

    8:00 am Inclusive Language Eucharist
    9:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir
    10:00 am Children's Church School
    10:00 am Coffee Hour
    11:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir


    Contact Us

    4550 N. Hermitage in Chicago, IL 60640 (Directions)

    Phone (773) 561-0111


    Information about pastoral care.



    Bonnie on Huffington Post

    Occasionally Bonnie's sermons are published on the Huffington Post. Here are some links.

    Pain. Change. Hope.

    November 15, 2015

    What Does St. Francis of Assisi Have to Say to Us Today?

    October 4, 2015

    Wake Up Calls

    September 6, 2015

    Christmas Reminds Us That We, Like God, Are Human, Too

    December 24, 2014

    The Deep Sleep of Racial Oblivion: One Pastor's Sin of Omission

    November 30, 2014

    Pulpit Swap

    The Pulpit Swap between St Thomas and All Saints is part of our ongoing effort to bring our parishes closer together as we engage in a conversation about systemic racism and how we can work together to forge new possibilities and outcomes.

    Going Home—Changed

    Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Bonnie Perry of All Saints Episcopal Church on October 16, 2016.  

    When Prayers Go Unanswered

    Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Dr Fulton L Porter celebrating at All Saints Episcopal Church on Oct16 2016.