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
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,
    Bonnie

     

    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

    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.