All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Come to me all you who are heavy laden...


July 6, 2014
Bonnie A. Perry

May the God who Creates us..

Please be seated.
Good Morning

Do you have a hard time, turning off the chatter in your brain? Mine is kind of non-stop. Like the birds in the early morning a constant chirping, sometimes it's all I can hear and sometimes it is a soft background holding all of my other thoughts.

I've been thinking a lot lately about awe and transcendence, of holiness and meaning. I've been thinking about what matters in life. And the flip-side of that. How so very much of what I worry about well—it seems to be the same thing over and over again---"Am I good enough?" "Did I say the right thing—more importantly—did I manage to do something that is helpful?"

I long for the goodness of the Lord. What about you? Do you look for signs? Little notes and messages from on high? Bits and pieces, atoms and particles of the universe aligned in a way that offer a direction of some sort. I do. I have to say that I am bitter and somewhat resentful of the men and women who populate the chapters of scripture and have real life conversations with God. Back and forth, question and answer, a repartee of real substance and matter. And I sit and wait, but not too long, for I sometimes seem to have the attention span of newt or a gnat. But when I do, when I make myself sit and wait for the Lord, I listen and I hear....the birds, the wind, the rain and myself. Being faithful is sometimes hard in a digital age. I'd like pictures God-- please, an instagram, a tweet, a status update that I could point to and say, "There's the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Lea and Rachel. There's the God of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." We're not alone.

"Come to me, all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Or as Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message, his translation of the Bible in contemporary language,

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out by religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.

What does it feel like to know that we are not the only ones carrying the burden? What does it feel like to know that we are not alone?

The other night a group of us were making plans for the All Saints' backpack blessing service in September. After a meeting and a half of trying to wrestle to the ground the myriad issues of education: public, private, charter, selective enrollment, funding, race, class, school closings and school openings it felt as if we were neck deep in the quagmire.

What to do? What would matter? I'm not sure that God usually speaks to people in committee meetings, but maybe that's how things go now. When people write the sacred history of this time and this place, perhaps they'll include a section on inspired insights in the course of a Monday evening, rain-soaked meeting. Will those bits and pieces be any less or more than burning bushes, visiting angels or still small voices? Something shifted though we had very many thoughts and twice as many opinions, something shifted: We went from being overwhelmed and stuck, to inspired and clear about a few first steps all of which are tangible, entertaining and doable. How all of the schools we know need paper. Paper is something we know how to get. What if we gathered a ton of paper? A literal ton of paper, boxes and reams of paper: plain and construction. Paper for printing tests, and worksheets, paper for cutting and coloring and folding, paper for Art and History, Science and Math a ton of paper for our students and schools. What if we got a ton of paper which we could give to every school in the area? It's a start. Not the solution, not the ultimate fix, but interestingly enough, our amazing community kitchen and food pantry where we offer some 300 of our neighbors, several bags of groceries, dental exams, nursing visits, and if they'd like a delicious, nutritious, family-style meal each week. That all started some 21 years ago when we gave away two bags of groceries to the two people who came the very first night we advertised. It's a start.

I think maybe that's what God's call is all about.

Come to me—all you who are heavy laden—it's a start.

As Eugene Peterson says, "Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

I am convinced that those little notes and pieces of the Holy, the atoms and molecules of our God are all about, as it was then it is now, where might you see them? In this summer time of ours. A time that maybe depending upon your life and your work, a time that may be exceptionally busy or a bit freer—where in this time of some warmth and light—where is God—visible in our lives—yet seemingly unnoticed? A committee meeting, a staff gathering, a family bar-b-que, vacation road trips, long, long physically exhausting days, or relaxing time on the beach in the midst of the evening setting sun—where is God?

Who says to each and every one of us—
Oh please—stop doing it all on your own.
Together we can get this.

Come to me all you who are heavy laden. Take my yoke from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

"So it is," says the Lord.



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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.