All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Easter 2016

Then They Re-Membered

Luke 24:1-12

Bonnie A. Perry

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

“Why do you look of the living among the dead?”

At sunrise on that morning they went to the tomb. They went to the tomb, looking for the dead, among the dead. As you do.

Taking their spices to anoint their friend. To say their final goodbye to a man they thought was more. The women having seen him die, go to the tomb to say goodbye and settle into the despair that is the reality of their new lives.

Yet when they arrive, the stone is rolled, the body is gone and there are men in dazzling clothes saying, “He is not here, He is risen.” Why are you looking for the living among the dead? Remember? Remember? Remember what he said? Don’t you remember what he said….?

They did and they do—and then they run to tell the others… They run, they go, leaving their spices next to the linens.

They go and find the apostles—but the reaction is mixed—mixed at best.

Here’s the tough part—that is true for me—how can the apostles even begin to believe—“He is risen.”?!

When the women are, as the Greek says, obviously delirious.

But Peter—the one whose last interaction with Jesus was to say over and over again “I do not know—the man. I do not know the man. I do not know him. “

Peter, the one who has the most to lose and the most to gain. Peter—gets up and runs to the tomb—he goes and sees, bloody, rumpled, wraps, linens only on the floor.

The emptiness of the cave overwhelms his eyes and drips down his face because maybe—maybe there is something more.

All he knew, crashed and burned three days before when darkness, strangely covered the land. Death has come—this he understands, despair he knows in his marrow, in his soul.

Do you know despair? Do you know that aching, pounding loss? That shriveled, anxious pump of adrenalin, that tells you over and over again, “Wrong, wrong, wrong, you got it wrong, again, again. Wrong.”

Do you know despair: That blanket of depression, smothering your soul, flattening your affect?

Do you know despair: a simmering sense of ineptness, preventing you from taking even one step to intercede in a world of violence, sadness, and pain.

Do you know despair: When the God of your childhood doesn’t stand a chance in this adult world?

I do. I know despair. I know it so well, that sometimes I find myself turning to it, for its familiarity and comfort, the release its inertia offers. Despair.

Benedictine Scholar, Joan Chrittister says, “Despair is the affliction of the small-minded who have not so much lost their faith as they have lost their memory.” People afflicted by despair have lost their memory of what God has done before.

Resurrection is the opposite of despair.

I believe, Resurrection means that we are no longer condemned to live with business as usual politics or quid pro quo theology and religion. Instead resurrection calls us to a way of being, a spirituality that invites us, requires us, as biblical scholar Walter Bruggerman says, to remember how God has acted in the past

To remember, as the women who came to the tomb did. To remember all that Jesus had done in Galilee. How the canannite woman’s daughter was healed, how the demoniac was brought back from the caves of insanity to the village of relationships. How blind bartimaus received sight, how the woman at the well, with five husbands was not judged by Jesus but rather loved by him. How the paralyzed man on the stretcher, lowered down through a hole in the roof by his friends to Jesus, picked up his mat and walked: sins forgiven, body and soul made whole.

The women remembered all of these things and more. They remembered a man who ignored hateful class lines and sexual divides. They remembered a man, who on the night before he died, said, “Take, eat, this is my body, given for you.” And you. And you and me.

They re-membered. They re-membered and gradually and gradually and then suddenly their beliefs and hopes that had been amputated from their hearts and souls as they watched a fearful, oppressive government execute their friend and leader, suddenly their understanding and longings were re-attached, and they knew all he said and did was true and done in a way they themselves could never have conceived on their own.

The empty tomb, the risen Christ, reached far beyond, one regime change, one pendulum swing of the government and instead became a shift in history, a bend in space when time and history began, (as Martin Luther King said,) “its slow arc toward justice”, wholeness, and healing.

Because, those brave women and fragile, exuberant, self-absorbed Peter began to understand, that now and forever more we can no longer limit our lives by living in despair, looking for the dead among the living.

No more—He is gone. He is risen.

So we no longer return to the dead end tombs, burned out pyres of our besetting sins. He is not there. He is risen.Christ is Risen.

The Lord is Risen Indeed.


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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.