All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Do Not Be Afraid.

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

There are so many things I want from an Easter Sunday morning. I want the energy, the excitement, the crowds, the quiet desperation of people arriving late, thinking that we are place that begins on time. On Easter Sunday: I want the music, the bells, the solos, the cymbals and I want a trumpet.

I want all of that on Easter Sunday and truth to you now, from my soul: I want to know beyond the shadows of my many fears that all will be well.

I want to know that the world as seemingly screwed up as it is will eventually be ok. (I want to know that the arc of the universe bends toward justice.” MLKing)

I want to know that I will cease to be somewhat self-absorbed and periodically inconsiderate. I want to know that our besetting sins will leave us (all of us) at some point in our lives for more than half a day, so we can be who we long to be.

I want to know that the sad people I see pictured daily in the news will somehow have the wrongs of their lives righted and that they will be safe; that they and their children will not leave this world in a violent way. I want to know that the people I love who have died are now nestled safely in God’s arms and that they like being there.

On Easter Day, on Easter Day. I want to know that he is alive. I want to know that Jesus not only came into the world and died brutally— but that the tomb is now empty, the stone rolled, his body gone, because he has been raised just as he said. If I were to go back to that time on those three days here is what I think I would see and feel….

* * * * *

Friday was beyond belief. We watched as the Son of God, the messiah, at least that’s who we thought he was, we watched him writhe and die. We heard him scream and yell to God, that phrase that so many of us at one time or another have all said, “Why, Why, Why God have you forsaken me.” We watched we didn’t run away, but I wished I was anywhere but there. So though I stayed and was there in my body, my mind, my brain, my spirit was far away.

Joseph, the rich man from Arimathea, came after he was dead. He climbed up on that cross, pulled the stakes out of his bones and struggled down the ladder with his head hanging back. He was more than dead. He was broken.

So were we. We followed to the tomb. Watched him being set inside, wrapped in white, dried blood “browning” the cloth. He put the stone in front.

It was the Sabbath and we left. After the Sabbath was over as the first day of the week was dawning we went back. From there it is all a blur: earthquakes, angels, really? How do I make that up?

This is what I now know. The stone was rolled, the tomb was empty. It smelled of anointing oils and decay. And it was empty. Then we left. When we ran to tell the others, because we knew no one would ever believe us, when we ran to tell others, he greeted us. He greeted us. And Jesus said, “Do not be afraid.”

That is what I took from him. For three straight days, 72 hours I had been terrified, twisted, contracted, incapable of thinking or hoping or seeing beyond what was then going on. And then he said to me, “Do not be afraid.”

“Do not be afraid.” The words the angels said to Mary as it all began, are the words the two Marys’ hear in the end. “Do not be afraid.”

Resurrection is about not being afraid—then---and Now.

* * * * * 

What I long for, over and over again is a certainty and assurance of what I think should come to be will be.

Do not be afraid.

But, resurrection is not a certain assurance of what I want. If we look only for a certainty of what we want, of what we imagine, a promise that the world will be how we think it should be— -than we limit our lives and the arc of our world to only what our small, frail minds can imagine --- rather than what God knows can be.

Resurrection lays aside our quest for human certainty and instead offers us a promise of God’s reality. God’s reality: A world filled with courage—a world where 20 years ago Rawanda was in the midst of Genocide and now they are slowly making there way to a wholeness none of us could have ever imagined.

Resurrection invites to not be afraid, to not be afraid to love with all we have, for death is not final.

Resurrection bids us to set aside our past defeats and risk again. For God knows and sees more than we can ever ask or imagine.

Resurrection calls us to a reckless joy of finally letting ourselves be known and loved completely and utterly as we are.

Resurrection moves us beyond fear.

Resurrection is more than angels more than earthquakes more than metaphor.

Resurrection is a way of being and existing. Resurrection is an act of rebellion and resistance to the world’s known order. We don’t have to accept either “no” or death as the final answer. The sins of humanity no longer have the final say.

Resurrection means we do not have to be held hostage to the constraints and limitations of this narrow-temporal minded world.

Resurrection means there is always something more. Resurrection means—we do not have to be afraid.

For the stone is rolled, the tomb is bare, he is not there, He is risen.

Alleluia Christ is Risen,
The lord is Risen indeed.


Copyright Bonnie A. Perry April 2014


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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.