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


  1. This Week
  2. Services Times
  3. Contact Us
  4. Sermons
Weekly Message for December 17

Weekly Message for December 17

Dear Friends,    

Tomorrow is our long awaited and much anticipated #HamiltonMeetsJesus Christmas pageant. As I write this note, I remember Fonzi and the writers’ of that beloved 70s TV show, Happy Days, and conclude that this year’s pageant may truly have "jumped the shark." That said, our young people have spent an inordinate amount of time working on this year’s production. Tomorrow you will see that the camel and sheep legislators are busy amending the celestial republic’s founding documents, the shepherds are trying to figure out their new tax bills, the innkeeper offers Joseph some sage advice, “Smile more, talk less,” Mary is adjusting to a new donkey, the archangels have an opening rap that really puts some flesh on the notion of the virgin birth, and King Herod is quite sure that the immigrant Wise Men will be back. All of which is to say, it’s pretty much business as usual for the All Saints’ Christmas Pageant which will be premiering at the 9 and 11 o’clock worship services. 

In the midst of the Hamilton hoopla one truth I hope to offer to all of us is that God, in the infant Jesus, came into this world to show each of us the unending power of love. While Alexander Hamilton and the founding parents of our republic took a step toward liberty and justice, I invite you to remember and hold dear that the real revolution, the true up-ending of our world, comes not through government policy, but through our ability to live our lives in such a way that the love of God is made real in all we do. Please let that revolution begin.

To avoid donkeys, camels, and chaos, attend the 8:00 service and then return for the absolutely amazing Advent and Christmas Lessons and Carols that our choir will be offering at 4:30 tomorrow afternoon. To end a long day at 5:30 we’ll all journey to the back room of O’Shaughnessy’s Pub for Beer and Caroling! At noon—we’ll be serving a light lunch and transforming our sanctuary from Advent austerity to Christmas greenery. Please come and join in any or all the activities that may feed your soul in this season of expectation and birth. 

All my very best to you on this my MOST FAVORITE WEEKEND of the year,


Working Against the Virus of Racism

Working Against the Virus of Racism

kellybdWe are very excited that the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas will be spending a weekend with us this fall, September 23 and 24. Kelly was formerly the Canon Theologian at our National Cathedral. In the fall she will become the first Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School, now located at Union Theological Seminary. We've invited Kelly to spend the weekend with us so that we might again return to our work on confronting racism. Kelly is an amazing preacher and theologian and we are beyond honored that she is making time in her incredibly busy schedule to be with us. Look for more details in the next few weeks on the spirituality and theology that we will be exploring together. 

In the event that you find yourself looking for some interesting summer reading, here are some books she has suggested we investigate: HomecomingThe Color of Law, and one by Kelly called Stand Your Ground. She also suggested that watching 13th on Netflix would be helpful.

Racism is an issue that we are called to confront and challenge and end. It is not something that will just die a gentle death. Our hope is that with our time with Kelly and one another, we may again return to this important work. 

All Saints' Book Club

All Saints' Book Club

midnightFall Reading List Selected

The All Saints Book Club has defined its reading list through the fall. The meetings start at 7:30 PM usually at the home of a member. The locations and further details are on our Facebook page. Here is the schedule for the next several months:

  • August 10 - "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" by John Berendt
  • September 14 - "Operation Breadbasket" by Martin Deppe (meet in the Reading Room at the church)
  • October 12 - "Saints and Villains" by Denise Giardina
  • November 9 - "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson
  • December 14 - Pick your own poetry book and share favorite poem(s)

For additional information, contact Mike Burke (

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!

Evening Prayer at The Breakers

Evening Prayer at The Breakers

 Sundays at 2pm

breakersbibleWe are very excited to announce that every Sunday at 2:00 pm, All Saints' offers something new at the Breakers - An Evening Prayer Service! Our first event was Sunday, December 4th, and went marvelously well - we had 13 attendees! Folks are very pleased that there's a Protestant service being offered in addition to the current choices (which are Catholic and Moody Bible.) The Prayer Service itself is printed in large print and in bulletin style with scripture taken each week from the Common Lectionary.

The weekly service starts at 2:00 pm, upstairs on the second floor Meditation Room, and lasts about 15 minutes. Please contact Paul Mallatt if you have questions, or comments at 773-860-4649. When you can, stop by the Breakers (5333 N Sheridan Rd) where the parking is free (for 2 hours), the coffee is hot, and the folks are friendly!


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.

New Opportunity: Hospitality Ministry

New Opportunity: Hospitality Ministry

helloDo you feel called to create an open, welcoming, hospitable environment at All Saints? Do you like meeting and connecting with people? Join the new Hospitality Ministry! Members of the Hospitality Ministry will help the clergy and vestry create a welcoming culture by greeting new members, engaging new faces at coffee hour, and helping connect new members of All Saints with our various programs.

Interested? Contact Diane Doran or Michelle Mayes. Include "Hospitality Ministry" in the subject line.

Join Our Member Directory!

Join Our Member Directory!

Our new Associate Rector, Emily Williams Guffey, is enjoying getting to know everyone in our congregation. Help her put names and faces together by adding yourself to our online directory!

If you are a member of All Saints' and haven't already registered for the directory, please contact our resident web guru Jim Crandall at and he will send a user name, password, and instructions.

Love on a Plate

Love on a Plate

Join the All Saints' Care Ministry! 

casseroleThe Care Ministry at All Saints' is a quiet one, simply providing meals after a new baby arrives, after surgery, during an illness. Because when life gets complicated, dinner is often the last thing on our minds--but sometimes a meal and visit from a friend is exactly what we need!

If you can provide a meal, give someone a ride, or run an errand once in awhile, please email You'll be contacted when a need arises and you can sign up to help at your convenience.


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 

This OLD Church

This OLD Church

This week’s stories of the bell tower: The beams and posts in the bell tower are being filled with epoxy and fungicide to prevent future insect damage and to restore their strength and integrity. Here are some photos of the work currently taking place. Everywhere you see white is where the post or beam is being rebuilt, restored and protected.
The blue hue in the photo is from the tarp surrounding the bell tower enabling Ron Young and his crew to continue working in the dropping temperatures.
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.