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.

  1. This Week
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  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,


    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


    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.