All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Arriving to Where One Loves

Staycie Flint
All Saints' Episcopal Church
June 26, 2016

God of Invitation, as you moved in the lives of Elijah, Elisha, and Jesus, move in our lives.
Open the eyes of our hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in.
Shine Your light on the hope You are calling us to embrace.
Invite us to journey into unknown territory - learning to listen for your voice in our lives.
Help us know when and how to speak in a world that does not always want to hear.
Grant us the courage we need to journey, trust, listen, and speak.

I stand here this morning feeling torn.

It is Pride Parade day in chicago and there is a clear invitation to celebrate all that is proud and beautiful about being queer and we are also remembering sorrows cry of tragic loss.

As Orlando joins the massacres that plague this country ... our own communities...

Deaths broken spines go by unaccounted for ...

One year since Charleston we are still decimated by the reality that even the places folks seek out as sacred havens are not immune from horror.

I stand here wanting there to be good and bad people. I want life with the Divine to be as simple as choosing which one I want to be.

I watched a story this week of a contingency from Hawaii who braided a 49 strand lei for each life killed in Orlando. I listened as they spoke in front of the memorial and announced that there still are good people in this world.

And I find myself desperately wishing that freedom was that simple...

I want the freedom talked about in Galatians chapter five to be simple.

I want the simplicity of loving my neighbor as myself to be as simple as having the freedom to choose to be good person or a bad person.

Yet, again and again, I hear of people lifting up and mourning the dead without lifting up the neglect and bigotry the victims endured while living - sometimes by the actions of the same ones who now mourn.

I am reminded that loving our neighbor as ourselves—walking in the light of truth—can be both harsh and beautiful, even at odds.

Loving our neighbors as ourselves requires intimacy with the paradoxes of our own souls and our own communities.

It means learning that the Pulse killer was possibly gay and not being surprised (because anyone who truly loves queer folks knows that self-hate is never easily undone).

I stand here angry and not wanting to learn how to love and desperately needing to know how to love.

How to love myself
How to love you
How to love the stranger
How to love my enemy

Philosophers, mystics, teachers, and prophets throughout the ages have long taught us that the uniqueness of the way each individual loves is best seen in who they become and that becoming and loving is a continuous call and response process, not a sequence of events.

Galatians 5:1 states "For freedom Christ has set us free."

Philosophers, theologians and thinkers everywhere have dedicated a great deal of time to understanding the concept of freedom—particularly how freedom is connected to our wills and our doing, and therefore to our loving.

Understanding that freedom is attached to the choices we make and the liberty to do or to omit things is a commonality for many of us who have grown up in the United States, the Land of the Free.

The land where people have had to fight for the right to say yes or no to marriage.

When we think of freedom as it is attached to what we can and cannot do, we only need to look at the origins of this Nation, and the recent events within the European Union and the United Kingdom, in order to understand that conversations around what is good and bad and right and wrong often dance to a tempo set by a few ones who get to control what is "good" and and what is "right."

While Galatians does talk about freedom as liberty of choice the word used in the Greek in verse one is eleutheria (el - u - there- ee - ah)

One commentary I read points out that the etymology—the parts that construct the word eleutheria—can be understood as meaning "arriving to where one loves."

Arriving to where one loves.

At the risk of causing the theologians among us to squirm (because etymology is not theology!) I do suggest that in Galatians the author is lifting up the principle that in Christ we are free to arrive where one loves.

We are freed to love one another and be on a journey to get there.

We are freed to love ourselves as whole people who—who are at once limited and limitless...

The unfolding answer to "How do we love our neighbor as ourselves?" is deeply influenced by how we live relationships and own our own becoming.

"How do I love my neighbor?" is a question we must keep finding answers to amidst the calls of relationships with ourselves, each other, and our Maker.

In the face of the loneliness and exile of devastation we must attune ourselves to the Maker of Hearts whispering to us through relationships:

the hands of caregivers,
the rhythm of the liturgy,
the transparency of song,
the largess of creation,
the attentions of loved ones,
and ways that only the individual can hear.

The Whisper persists in saying our loving.... my loving .... your loving ... does not happen in isolation.

The fact that we have been given a boundless heart fully capable of loving and relationship opens us to where we are headed.

One born into an ultimate box that was terribly void of relationship to the world around her, Helen Keller was lifted into her own becoming through relationship with her teacher Anne Sullivan. Over time she found her own way into an abundance of relationship with the whole world and it wasn't always accepting.

In a letter to Senator Robert La Follette, Helen Keller wrote:

"So long as I confine my activities to social service and the blind, they compliment me extravagantly, calling me 'arch priestess of the sightless,' 'wonder woman,' and a 'modern miracle.' But when it comes to a discussion of poverty...that is a different matter! It is laudable to give aid to the handicapped. Superficial charities make smooth the way of the prosperous; but to advocate that all human beings should have leisure and comfort, the decencies and refinements of life, is a Utopian dream, and one who seriously contemplates its realization indeed must be deaf, dumb, and blind."

See, there is a risk in loving and living the wholeness of ourselves. It will not always be received well by others.

Dr. Audre Lorde said, "There's always someone asking you to underline one piece of yourself—whether it's black, woman, mother, dyke, teacher, etc.—because that's the piece that they need to key into. They want to dismiss everything else."

I highlight this resistance because I want to acknowledge that we can't be about loving our neighbor without claiming our relationships to our personal social location and how it engages the social location of those around us.

Responding with a critical self-awareness to the call of relationships that resist us and seek to limit us is as important to shaping our love of neighbor and self as the response to the call of our encouraging relationships.

Hellen Keller needed the pretentiousness and devaluing of a senator as surely she needed the support of Anne Sullivan in her learning to love.

Martin Luther King Jr. needed the ignorance and cowardice of Bull Connor as surely as he needed the inspiration and guidance of Howard Thurman to live into his becoming.

So I repeat, truly, the work of becoming puts the wide world in relationship with us.

One of the most powerful things Christianity teaches the larger world is that a tomb of emptiness and abandonment can give way to life unmeasurable.

And this is the hope and assurance we have.

In our loving we are connected to a source of life that goes way beyond our earthly days and the paradoxes of our soul.

Dr. Howard Thurman, spiritualist and mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., frames our loving in this way, he states:

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

When you are answering "How do I respond to the Divine's invitation to love my neighbor?" don't forget that the answer best speaks to how your Creator has made you to come alive!

Also, don't forget that your source of this life is a boundless Divine who has become all things—not just a few things, all things!

As Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou of Ferguson and Baltimore reminds us, "We have seen the face of God, and God has got tattoos on God's face, and God sags God's pants, and God is angry and God is queer."

One of the few promises in life that I am comfortable making is that the Maker and Keeper of hearts gives life and sustains our wholeness by giving us boundless hearts that know no limits—unless we create them.

I close by wondering what awaits you as you go about the continual work of answering "How do I love my neighbor?"

The more we trust and practice being open to the call and response of all that surrounds us—the good, the bad, the ugly, both within ourselves and without ourselves—the clearer it becomes that it is not the events of our lives that define us but how we belong to this world.

It is how we embrace the freedom to love ourselves and our neighbor―how we respond to the calls of this world―that defines the events of our lives.

I paraphrase a conversation Krista Tippet shared with Courtney Martin when I point out that we are often asked to show up in life as only slices of ourselves. To feel like we're showing up as our whole selves in different settings is a rebellious act.

It is an act of freedom to know Christ, to walk with each other, to be freed to love ourselves—our whole selves—and the whole selves of others, even the pieces we do not like - truly humbling and difficult work.

I sometimes wonder if I am too angry with evil and the human capacity for evil in myself and others to ever freely do this work of wholehearted loving.

But, I find hope in knowing that we have been freed to learn how.

So, I invite you to go forth... learn about this mysterious connection between freedom and loving


I invite you to take in your whole self in the presence of your Maker, be vulnerable to this ongoing work of loving, show up with the fullness of all you can grasp, and rebel against the powers that would ask of you and the Divine's beloved community for less.

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Dear Friends,

maryjaneI am so very sad to tell you that my Mom, MaryJane Fahey Perry, has died. I flew to Virginia last night to be with my Dad and siblings. I will fly back Saturday night and will be in church briefly, but mostly I am coming in to celebrate my spouse Susan's installation as Senior Pastor at People's Church this Sunday at 2:00pm. Please join me there if you are able.

All my best,

Friends, this Sunday, March 26, I will be away to attend the funeral of a close family friend, Andy Becker, who died in a plane crash last week at the age of 33. I am incredibly grateful to Carol Reese and Jeanne Wirpsa, who are stepping in to preside and preach, respectively, on short notice. I also am so grateful to Colin and the choir, who will be leading gorgeous music (like this song), and to Polly Tangora and others who will be making sure things run smoothly. The strength and faith and talent of this place run deep.

I am available by email and phone, and I'll return Sunday night.

We will send a note next week with information about services for MaryJane. In the mean time, I ask your prayers for Bonnie, her father Ray, and all of her family during this terribly difficult time.




People's Church of Chicago, Sunday March 26, 2pm

susanhBonnie invites you to join her for the installation of her spouse, The Rev. Dr. Susan Harlow, as Senior Pastor of The People's Church of Chicago this Sunday at 2pm. A reception will follow.

People's Church is located at 941 W Lawrence. Parking is available at 850 W. Lawrence at the Chicago Lakeshore Hospital Doctor's Office building. Although not required to park, use of this "permit" would be appreciated, as it helps give organizers notice as to which cars are connected to Peoples Church.

For more details, see the Facebook event here.


The Communications Summit previously scheduled for this Saturday, March 25, at 9:00am has been postponed, due to Bonnie's and Emily's last-minute travel. It will be rescheduled for later this spring. Stay tuned.


Sunday, April 2 at 10am

asygEver played Human Rock, Paper, Scissors? Ever jammed in a drum circle? Ever had in-depth conversations with teenagers about how faith matters in the ups and downs of our lives? I'm guessing the answers are "No," "Not really," and "Not since I was a teenager." Well, this could be your chance to change all that.

All Saints Youth Group, or ASYG, is (literally) a growing ministry, and we are looking for additional help. On April 2 during Coffee Hour, we will meet in the Parish Hall to share what ASYG is all about and provide information about the many ways you can help support, from joining the leadership team to simply dropping off dinner... and maybe play Human Rock, Paper, Scissors...


Wednesdays, March 8 -- April 12, 7:00-7:30pm 
Evening Prayer with music and candlelight will be offered at the high altar on Wednesdays throughout Lent. 

Come, join us in taking time to pause and listen for God.


Wednesdays, March 8 -- April 12, 7:30-9:00pm 
For those new to the Christian faith or to the Episcopal Church, our 6-week Inquirer's Class, led by both Bonnie and Emily, is an exploration of adult spirituality by way of a "spirited" romp through history, prayer, scriptures, theology, church polity, and more. 
This lively series offers space to question beliefs, imagine possibilities, learn about All Saints', and make new friends. If desired, it may also serve as preparation for the rite of confirmation or reception into the Episcopal Church in May or June. Contact Emily with any questions.


Beginning now and ongoing 
The All Saints' Listening Group offers ministry of presence to any member(s) of our church family facing an important decision. Perhaps you are at a crossroads in your career or you're deciding where to move or go to school. The Listening Group is happy to gather with you and provide a supportive, nonjudgmental space in which you can think through your questions more deeply.
Gatherings typically run for a couple of hours and are scheduled as needed. If you're interested in meeting with the Listening Group, or if you're looking to serve on the ministry, please contact Jess Howsam Scholl at


Sunday mornings at 10:15 beginning March 19
The Screwtape Letters by the Christian apologist C. S Lewis never grow old precisely because they are about me, you, and the world we inhabit. In a series of letters, Screwtape guides the young demon - his nephew Wormwood -- through the finer points of temptation, the weaknesses and foibles of human beings, and the disaster of his patient becoming a Christian.
On Sundays March 19, 26 and April 2, Jim Nixon will lead a discussion of these very human letters from 10:15 to 11:15 AM in the Reading Room.
So get the book (easily available on Amazon or local booksellers), grab a cup of coffee and join us in a reading and discussion of this perennial classic. 
Any questions? Contact Jim via email or 678.910.4923.


Individual Actions Towards Racial Equality

Volunteer Opportunities, Events, and Recommendations

(re)imagining: Racial Justice Summit Sponsored by YWCA Evanston/North Shore:

Thursday, April 6 from 6 - 8 pm
Friday, April 7 from 9 am - 4 pm
Unitarian Church of Evanston
1330 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL
Goal: "To bring people of all ages and demographics together to deepen their understanding of their own racial identities, develop skills to work for change, formulate action plans and engage with others."

For Information and Registration, click here

"The Scottsboro Boys" at Porchlight Theater through March 12th
A musical production that is getting rave reviews, "nominated for 12 Tony Awards, and presented in the style of the notorious "minstrel show", this true-life story of nine African American teenagers accused and put on trial in Memphis for a crime they did not commit is one America's most notorious episodes of injustice; inaugurating a wave of social changes leading up to the modern Civil Rights Movement."

For information and ticket prices, click here

Suggested reading, non-fiction: 
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson, January, 2017

This book has been described as "...a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted."

Recommended as a "companion piece to the film rather than a stand-alone book." One reviewer recommended "seeing the film first, and then using the book for meditation and revisiting afterward."

Volunteer opportunity: GROWING HOME "We have a vision of a world of healthy people and communities. Everyone deserves to have a good job, and everyone deserves to eat well." Since 2002, Growing Home has trained and employed and, most importantly, given a second chance to people with employment barriers. You may be familiar with their Wood Street farm in Englewood. Their farms are the first and only USDA-certified organic high-production urban farms in Chicago, and because they strive to also feed their community well, all their produce is grown, harvested, cleaned, and sold within a 20-mile radius. Read more at

Volunteer opportunity: Non-profit Reading In Motion has successfully refined its mission over its 30+ years to help give kindergarten and first grade students foundational reading skills they need to start on a path for lifetime learning. They partner with public school teachers and have been extremely successful in making a difference in children's lives. Click here for more info.


Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

The Ravenswood Run website is officially open! 

Register now at their website here.

The race times (subject to change) will be 5k - 8:00 AM
Kid's Race - 9:00 AM.

Save the Date! May 12threalityf

The 11th annual Reality Fair will be held Friday morning at Ravenswood Elementary School. Please mark your calendars now, and we'll send more information and sign up instructions later. This is an incredible event which truly affects our children's lives.

If you have any questions, please contact Jen Simokaitis or Helen Poot.

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!


Jeff Lee
Dear Polly and All Saint's Kids,
I am writing to you from a meeting of the board of Episcopal Relief & Development in Bogota, Columbia. We are meeting here to visit some of our partner ministries with people in need. I have seen the amazing results of this year's bake sale (in fact, I'm looking at photos of some of the cakes - wow!), and you have reminded me that we don't have to travel to Columbia or South Sudan to make a huge impact for the good of God's people.
I am so proud and grateful for you and the work you do. You guys are heroes. Our friends in South Sudan will be blessed by your effort.
In Christ,
Jeffrey D. Lee
Bishop of Chicago

Sundays at 10am

The phrase Imago Dei means the Image of God. Specifically, the image of God as it is found in humanity. The image of God in us - it is what makes us spiritual people - valued as whole and complete. What does it mean to creatively live as whole people? How do we live in relationship with others - respecting and sharing one another's security and one another's discomfort?

Join us on Sunday mornings between services as we figure out together how to help one another take practical responsibility for living in this world - especially as racial and spiritual beings.

True - our time will be uncomfortable because it will mean talking about race, violence, personal helplessness, and personal failure. Also true - this will be comforting and supportive because it will mean getting to be honest, practicing together, and caring for one another.

Every week we will ask one another "What have you done in these past 7 days with who you are and within your sphere of influence when it comes to the realities of race?" the answers will be different for each person and it won't be a competition. We will be lifting up the everyday choices we make and don't make. Sometimes we will like what happens and sometimes we won't.

And - we will be doing it together.

The Middle Eastern refugees and immigrants served by the Iraqi Mutual Aid Society were deeply moved by the notes of welcome from All Saints. We shared them at our community lunch on Thursday, and now they will hang in our conference room to remind people of your warm welcome in the days to come. Thanks!

Laura Youngberg

breadbakersSignup online to bake for a month

Calling all bakers! If you love the smell of fresh-baked bread filling your kitchen, please consider signing up to bake communion bread for our services. This involves a one-month commitment that you'll share with another baker, and you can do all your baking at once and add to the reserves in our freezer.

Signing up is easy, just click here for our page on Signup Genius and reserve your favorite month.

Contact Jennifer Simokaitis, or Anne Ellis if you have any questions.

Yard Signs Available 

Grow Community has created yard signs for anyone who would like to display support for our local public high schools. Signs and sign holders are available in the Reading Room.



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 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 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


Information about pastoral care.


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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.