All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

A New Second City...?

Jeremiah 33:14-16

A failed city. A corrupt city. A city where wealth and power are worshipped and the poor are shuttled to the side and ignored. A place of chaos, violence and segregation. Rulers hanging on: Making deals and plying bargains. A failed city. A corrupt city. Thus it was said of Jerusalem in 587, as the prophet Jeremiah predicted its fall, foretold of its coming destruction.

I wonder when the people of faith in Jerusalem looked around and said, "This is not as it should be." Was it when Jeremiah first spoke, or was it more likely when the Babylonians made it through the breach in the walls and began to pour through the streets?

For years Jerusalem had been hanging on—living in a netherworld between the Assyrians, the Egyptians and now the Babylonians. For years the prophets have been saying to the leaders of Jerusalem you are corrupt change your ways. Or else...

Ages ago, far away, different time, different place. And yet I wonder what the prophets, Micah, Isaiah and Jeremiah would have to say to us these days in Chicago, this second city of ours.

Much has been said, some has been heard, and even a bit understood about the systematic, institutional racism of the usual business of our city. I feel no need to repeat what anyone of us can read on every third post of our FB feed. My question for us given all that has happened in our city and country this past year is: Will the egregious murder of Laquan McDonald be what finally shoves the silent, complacent majority of this city (of which I count myself) into a prolonged, profound, movement for change? Will this be the event that propels us into active solidarity with our black and brown sisters and brothers who are demanding change?

Yes, this congregation has been working. We've done more to begin educating ourselves about systemic racism in the past year than we've done in the past 25 years put together. That is however, frankly, something of a low bar. But yes, we have not been ignoring the world.

But, as I watch things unfold in the city and across the country I find myself wondering if what we are doing is way too little, way too late. Then a tide of gelatinous hopelessness rises over me. I am left feeling inept and marooned. I wonder if that might be something like how the ancients of Judah and Jerusalem must have felt. Exiled, overwhelmed with the sin of their complicity and despair at anything ever changing.

That then is when the prophet Jeremiah, who has spent chapter and verse telling the people of the ways that they have failed to honor God and their covenant with the Holy, it is then when Jeremiah offers seeds of hope. A promise and a vision of what could be. Jeremiah ceases to tear down and pluck out and instead begins to plant and sew seeds of hope.

He says, "There are days surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promises I made to the House of Israel and House of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David...Judah will be saved, Jerusalem will live in safety."

A vision of a new Jerusalem.

Jeremiah says to the people, there is something more to come. The difference between people of faith and people of despair is that people of faith have hope. People of faith have hope in something more. Their actions reveal their belief in something more. God through Jeremiah is promising the ancient people of Jerusalem something more. God through Jeremiah is promising us the same. It is our choice whether we act on or ignore that hope.

As biblical theologian Walter Brueggemann says, The people who stay close to God's promises are very odd people, who will never be 'subsumed' either under the false promises of empires or under the large despairs of a failed city. After the failed city and the false promises of the empire, there persist these promises, the God who makes them, and the people to whom they are made. The promises, the God, and the people constitute an always new possibility in history, a possibility undaunted by the... empire. (P 269 A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming 1998.)

It is tremendously difficult to create and live into transformation if we have no visual image of what that might be. What my friends would be a concrete vision of change and transformation look like in our own city, in our own lives?

To start this process of transformation I suggest that there are some of us, such as myself, who must begin first with a confession of sin. 

To frame some of our personal and institutional sins of racism I offer the following statement constructed by a group in our congregation working on confronting systemic racism:

The blood of the dead is calling us to repent for our sins of racism.

We confess that when we do nothing, we permit the neglect, abuse, and murder of our black and brown sisters and brothers.

God yearns for us to care, to act, for all to be set free.

Longing for justice, learning from history, listening to voices of truth, we vow, with God's help, to claim our responsibilities to overturn, step-by-step, systems of racial inequality.

And so we build the beloved community of God.

So that all may live.

May we this day, begin to live into a new city, a new way, so that all may live.

Silent no more.

Copyright Bonnie A. Perry December 2015

 

  1. This Week
  2. Service Times
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  4. Sermons

Dear Friends,

 

martinThis Sunday, the Rev. Martin Deppe, retired United Methodist pastor, lifelong activist, and parishioner here at All Saints', will be preaching on Psalm 133, which begins, How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity.

How good and how sorely needed. You will not want to miss his sermon, which I expect to be both balm and challenge for our souls.

Martin has walked with Martin Luther King, Jr., worked closely with Rabbi Abraham Heschel, and advocated for female bishops in the United Methodist Church. Earlier this year, he published Operation Breadbasket: An Untold Story of Civil Rights in Chicago, 1966-1971, which chronicles underreported aspects and strategies of the movement here in Chicago which remain, of course, incredibly important today.

breadbasketOperation Breadbasket is the All Saints' Book Group's selection for September. You are invited to discuss the book along with them on Thursday, September 14, at 7:30pm in the Reading Room.

At this point, Bonnie has been to Michigan, Canada, and Virginia, and this weekend will head to Scotland! Please do reach out to me by email or phone (cell is best) if there is any way I can help you.

I hope this finds you delighting in summer, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Peace,
Emily

back2017Sunday, September 17

Mark your calendars for the annual Backpack Blessing on September 17. PJ Karafiol, principal of Lake View High School, will be the guest preacher, and educators will speak on a panel during the 10am coffee hour.

Once again we will be collecting ONE TON OF PAPER to distribute to our neighborhood public schools. And there is even more up our sleeves to make this the most incredible Backpack Blessing yet...

Want to help make it happen? You're invited to join the planning meetings this Wednesday, August 2, 6-9pm, and Wednesday, August 23, 7-9pm. Contact Emily for more information.

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)

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. 

Gardening at 10am

churchschool2010

For the rest of June and July - although Sunday school classes do not meet at 10 during the summer - Atrium I will continue to be open during the 9 o'clock service until the end of July. Atrium I children who attend the 11 o'clock service will be welcome in the nursery during the service.

At 10 o'clock children are encouraged to come help water, weed and harvest vegetables from the garden we're planting to support the Ravenswood Community Services kitchen and food pantry

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!

 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!

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

tinaParishioner, Tina Tchen, accepts Bishop Maryann Budde's invitation to preach at the National Cathedral Sunday, May 8. Click here to see the video.

 

Please consider supporting the restoration project of our historic building. To make a donation, click here

1883 Construction web 

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.
 
 

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.