All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Ready, Let’s Jump, Together

Remembering James Carroll Harlow, Sr
September 16, 1915—April 23, 2016

Bonnie A. Perry
April 10, 2016

I propose to show that what we promise in baptism is to hold each other’s hands, in the beginning, the end and the middle, so that the people hearing the sermon will discern ways to extend ourselves—being there—comfortable with one another’s reality—even though it may not be our reality –bearing witness not walking away.

Saul breathing fire and persecuting the Christians, has a letter from the high priests giving him authority to arrest anyone who claims to be following the Way of Jesus. He is traveling to Damascus when a light flashes all around and throws him to the ground. While he is on the ground a voice from Heaven asks him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Saul says, “Who are you?”

The voice replies, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city and there you will be told what to do.”

The men with him were astonished, speechless, confused. As they helped him up they realized that though his eyes were open he could not see, so they led him, by his hands… his destiny.

Where Saul becomes Paul, one of the greatest earliest Evangelists… the scales fall from his eyes. Now no longer blind, but a visionary, (true with maybe one or two blind spots remaining…) no longer being led by the hand but leading….

But not without the help of his friends, taking his hand, leading him, though they may not understand—they stay with him—hand in hand.

Last week, when I went to Baja, to co-lead my Kayak surf camp, (that’s a sermon for another day) Susan took our two dogs and drove home to see her mom and pop. Her mom is 94, her pop is a hundred and a half. I feel like saying half years is valid at both ends of life.

Her mom still lives in the 19th farmhouse in rural Virginia that Susan grew up in by Lake Anna, Louisa County. Her pop is now in an assisted living facility: The Gordon House, where for the last two years he has been thriving. But now he is failing. He’s mostly blind in his left eye, is mostly in a wheel chair and has limited use of his arms. More and more these days he is less and less in touch with the world as we know it.

On her last day visiting, her father was particularly removed from the world. He told Susan he’d been on this journey, and he’d found himself at this new place where the owner gave him three meals a day at considerable expense but he didn’t like it there and very much wanted to get back the Gordon house. So he’d started walking back—he’d found a horse along the way—followed the horse for a while but still he hadn’t found his way back.

That was where he was when Susan visited him. And as much as she tried to tell him that he was at the Gordon house she could not convince him. His reality was not hers. She desperately wanted to visit with her lucid pop and not have him dwell in this dream world. She wanted him to be the pop she enjoyed visiting and talking to and playing checkers with. He was still regularly beating her at the game in December.

But her logical explanations weren’t working. Now he said he was on a metal contraption that was sliding rapidly down a hill and he couldn’t stop it or even slow it down. Maybe he said if he had a board—he could stick that out and slow it down. But no he had nothing and it was out of control. He was scared.

Susan was really a bit beside herself at this point so she went to find one of his nursing aids, (they all just love him) to see if she could help. Elinore came in and listened to Susan’s pop talking with him. And at one point he looked at Elinore and he said, “How did you get on this metal contraption with me.?”

She said, “Well, Mr Harlow—I just jumped.”

Then Susan convinced him that she too had jumped on.

But Mr. Harlow continued to get more and more agitated. At one point convinced that it was out of control moving so fast—he yelled out, “Somebody help me—How can we get this thing to stop.”

Then the nurses aid, said, “It’s a beautiful day Susan—why don’t you take your dad on outside.”

So they went out—and her pop was able to take in his surroundings a bit more.

He remarked to Susan that neither the building across the street nor the big tree in the front yard was moving very much.

To which she said, well you know pop---maybe if they aren’t moving too much, maybe this metal contraption is slowing down enough for us to jump off.

He thought about that for a minute and then he said, “Ok—will you jump with me?”

He reached out his hand for Susan to take.

She took his hand and at the count of three they each jumped. Susan in the air, her pop with his arms from his wheel chair. And together holding each other’s hands they got off that out of control metal contraption.

He then knew where he was—at the Gordon House and he asked Susan to wheel him back to his room. “Room number 1 please.”

Isn’t that what we are doing today, as we baptize these seven little ones? Isn’t that what they did for Saul, promising to hold each other’s hands: At the beginning, the end and the middle.


Let’s Jump.

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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.