All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Christmas reminds us that we like God are human too. 

 This sermon also appears in the Huffington Post.

angels

Christmas…

I have a friend who doesn’t do church and doesn’t particularly do God, but she drove 45 minutes to listen to our parishioners sing Christmas carols (and drink beer) at the Irish Pub next door to my church.

“So, why come to this?” I asked.

“Because I like those songs.”

“Those songs—Christmas Carols?”

“Yes.”

Christmas is like that…

Christmas Eve is no different. I’m always curious as to who will be here. And, I always wonder how it is that all of us came to be sitting here. Here in our drafty,
candlelit sanctuary. Some of us come every year. Some come every year and have traveled a considerable distance to do so. Some of us have come because we were at a party and we got dragged along, others of us are here to avoid a family Christmas fight. For some, maybe, this place is open, inviting and warmer than outside. Then some of us are people who were just literally passing by and on a whim, in search of something or someone slipped in casually right after we finish singing Come All Ye Faithful.

Because, Christmas is like that. People walk through our doors who wouldn’t normally. Christmas is one of those times, in the midst of the early darkness and late sunrises, when we get a bit reflective. It’s this time, when there is more dark than day, when we remember all over again the hole in our collective hearts. This year that hole has gotten, deeper, dimmer, and darker. We do not have to look far to see the crumpled bodies of Eric Gardner and Mike Brown. Or travel far to hear torture justified. Or wait long for another Sandy Hook . Frosty may be a jolly, happy soul, but his old top hat and button nose, do little to lift our collective woes. Loved ones ailing, fraught relationships, professional disappointments: a sad unrest settles in. Our wounds are palpable. Christmas.

“For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Christmas is…a wailing infant, wrapped in rags. If any one of us saw him, vulnerable and exposed, who of us regardless of how inept we are and overburdened we may be, who among us would not reach down, pick him up and care for him? All of us would protect him, hold him and keep the little one safe. Because that is what humans do. We see someone in need and we help. God knows this and the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, calls us to this truth over and over again each year We are the human beings we long to be: Seeing, holding, caring, leading, you and I, each and every one of us.

Christmas reminds us that God knows this core truth about us even when we have lost that essential knowledge of ourselves. Christmas reminds us of what we know how to do. Christmas reminds us, even when we are so far gone, that we have forgotten how to cry. God knows. God has not forgotten. Christmas is that night. And on that night, on this night as God is made known to us, our true selves are revealed. As God trusts us to care in a way that we might not yet trust ourselves to do. Yet God who knows us, trusts us and risks for us.

“And this will be the sign for you, you will find the child wrapped in bands of cloth lying in the manger.”

We, whose hearts have holes, we who have found ourselves feeling underwhelmed, and over burdened, it is we to whom God trusts and turns. Though we find ourselves struggling and giving up, God will have none of that. Saying to us, in the birth of that child, “Carry on, go forth, care for me, and for all that there is.”

“So the Shepherds went with haste and they found Mary, Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. They made known what had been told them about the child and all who heard it were amazed.”

We, with an infant, crying and calling us, we cannot leave that little one alone. We, must act now, to care now and move forward; seeing, finding and taking hold of all that is Holy in the world, eventually filling that dim dark hole.

As we leave church tonight, it will still be dark and cold. But the next day, the sun will come up earlier, than it did today. A hope born this night will show itself in that early sun that rises tomorrow. Calling us to be again, who we long to be, the humans who we are so that this our world will become a place, of wholeness and holiness.

“And there was with the angels a multitude of heavenly hosts, saying, “Glory to God in the Highest heaven and on earth, peace and good will…”

Come all ye faithful. All ye humans. Let us adore him.

Bonnie A. Perry

 

  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,

Bonnie

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 (mebcat@gmail.com)

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 website@allsaintschicago.org 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 care@allsaintschicago.org. 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

Email info@allsaintschicago.org 

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.