All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Bake Auction Sunday

February 21, 2016
Bonnie A. Perry

So the Republican leaning people in the State of South Carolina have spoken. Again Mr. Trump carries the day, while Rubio and Cruz are separated by half a percentage point. Do you have a sense watching primary results that these are scenes that Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are just longing to portray? Real live politics in our country today, make the Netflix's, "House of Cards" look like a really boring bridge game.

When you finally move past astonishment at our political permutations, do you find yourself wondering what exactly is going on in our country? Have you moved past, incredulity and now maybe transitioned into a conspiracy theories and fear? I've seen it heard it from you all. For myself, I have to say this all feels a bit alien and out of control, and I am a somewhat terrified of our election in November.

Remembering that sense of out of "controlness," do you recall how you felt on a Fall Tuesday morning more than 14 years ago? September 11, 2001: Do you recollect how you felt early that morning? And then how you felt mid-morning?

I remember getting up, with an amazing sense of expectation. You see after 9 years of being the priest here at All Saints' I had finally gotten a full complement of an amazing staff. We were all going to gather that morning for real live staff meeting one of our first of the program year: me, Margaret, Leslie, Bridget, Ashely and Rose our seminarian. I was so excited.

Then the phone rang, and it was Ashley calling me.
"What's up?"
I remember her saying,
"The weirdest thing just happened, did you hear?
A plane of some sort just flew into the world trade center."
To which I said,
"Wow—that's weird. Was it like a little two sitter? A Cessna of some sort...?"

At which time, Ashley, who had continued to watch Good Morning America, while we were talking suddenly said,
"Oh my god, O my God, this plane, this huge plane, oh my god, it just hit the other tower. Oh my God."
I said, "What? What happened?"
Ashley said, "I have go, I have to call Win. (her husband).

Do you remember where you were on that morning?

Do you remember how you felt about life, maybe shifted and changed?
The second plane, going into the building, then 20 to 30 minutes later the first tower collapsing, then word that the pentagon was burning,
then seeing the other tower collapsing,
and the news of a passenger airliner crashing outside of Pittsburgh.

I recently re-watched a snippet of the coverage. And started crying all over again.

I offer these instances to you as examples of times when we may have experienced our country as somewhat out of control. Times separated by almost 15 years. But each times when I found myself feeling dislocated, upset, and unsure.

These two times separated by almost a decade and a half, if we put them together and had them happening simultaneously, maybe we then might have a an inkling of what it must be like to live daily in South Sudan.

A place in the world that has been eviscerated by some sort of civil war for most of the last 30 years. South Sudan, a new country in 2011 that had so much promise of hope, once they'd separated from Omar Al-Bashir's wretched regime in Khartoum.

They were their own country, a democracy, ruled by a coalition of parties working together to create a new nation. Then less than two years into the new venture the government falls apart, accusations of coup's between the president and vice president, elected leaders seem to be acting erratically and opportunistically.

Gunmen going through villages, through churches. People, with whom we were friends, shot, killed, gunned down.

Can you imagine, hiding, running, fleeing from your home because your village, your street is under attack? This then has been the norm for many of our sisters and brothers in South Sudan for the last two and a half years. Not all that unlike what had happened to them throughout their lives. Only now it cannot be blamed on an unfriendly Islamic government.

There are almost 12 million people in South Sudan. In September, 2015 the World Affairs Journal reported that Some 1.64 million people have fled fighting inside the country,
While another 628,000 have fled as refugees into neighbouring nations,
while over 4.6 million people are now dependent on food aid. (September,21, 2015, World Affairs Journal)

Over 192,000 terrified civilians are sheltering inside UN bases. Just this past week there was an attack in one of the UN camps. With many people killed and many more wounded.

It is true there is a new peace agreement between the President and his vice President. They have formed a government again, but it is fragile, tenuous at best.
Meanwhile as Bishop Joseph said to me this morning. "We are all praying for Peace. We ask you our Christian Sisters and Brothers to share in these prayers for us. For if we have some peace, then we shall open the door for education, food security, health care and development. Therefore any supports coming from sisters and brothers who partner in Gospel [with us] mean a lot for us."

Khartoum has re-opened the border between Sudan and South Sudan, displaced people are streaming into and back to Renk. Because they are a people of inordinate faith, their hopes are high, but their resources are scarce.

They need money, to buy seed to plant sorghum. So that they may eat.

We pay salaries of mid-wives for Renk and Dr. Paul's salary. They are essential for life to continue. In a country with a high birth rate and higher infant mortality rate these people offer essential care.

The people of St Peter's church in Gieger, are rebuilding their church. We here at All Saints know a bit about that. Only they are reconstructing a building destroyed when last the Nile flooded and literally washed their church away.

Renk High School has every possibility of soon reopening— our money will be received gratefully used to make education a reality. As any of our young people could tell you, education is the single most effective way for a person or a group of people to transcend poverty. Renk High School is essential.

Our friends in Renk, in South Sudan, lack the bare essentials of life. They need us to assist them so that they have hope.

Remember what it feels like to be attacked, to be in a world seemingly out of control?

We make a serious investment in people half way around because we don't want anyone to live in that place of terror and fear.

We bake, we buy, and we give, so that others may live.
It is as simple as that. We are one answer to their prayers.
We bake, we buy, because we can.

Copyright February 2016 Bonnie A. Perry


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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.