All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Restoring a sense of humility in our day 

When Emily asked if I could preach today I did not realize that I had already begun preparing for this homily – until I read the Gospel for the day! For my birthday earlier this summer Peg gave me New York Times columnist, David Brooks’, latest book, The Road to Character, which zeros in on the lesson of today’s parable, humility, with its familiar aphorism: “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

With its seeds in Greek, Roman, and oriental cultures as well as the Hebrew community where Jesus picked it up, this traditional virtue, humility, seems to have disappeared from the landscape of our lives today. It appears to have been replaced by ‘trust yourself’ and ‘you are special’ messages, ‘winning at all costs’ mentality, and now the selfie generation.

David Brooks tells about his sudden awareness of this shift. One day, while driving home he was listening to a program called Command Performance on NPR. The episode being broadcast was the day after VJ Day, August 15, 1945. The program featured Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Bette Davis and other celebrities. What struck David was that here in the midst of one of the greatest military victories in human history, the tone was subdued in this broadcast, no chest thumping, but more self-effacement and humility. Rise Stevens sang Ave Maria and the host, Bing Crosby, came on to say, “Today, though, our deep-down feeling is one of humility.” Sure there was confetti and kissing in Times Square. But there was a real mixture of joy and solemnity. David sat in his driveway listening to the end of the program, mesmerized.

When he went inside he turned on a football game. I quote: “A quarterback threw a short pass to a wide-receiver, who was tackled almost immediately for a two-yard gain. The defensive player did what all professional athletes do these days in moments of personal achievement. He did a self-puffing victory dance, as the camera lingered. It occurred to me,” David continues, “that I had just watched more self-celebration after a two-yard gain than I heard after the United States won World War II.”

What on earth has happened? David did some research and found a study in which psychologists asked 10,000 adolescents this question in the late 1940s and again in 1989: Do you consider yourself a very important person? In the early study 12% said yes. Forty years later, the answer of another 10,000 adolescents was yes, 80% of boys, and 77% of girls. Or take the subject of fame. A 1976 study showed fame ranking very low as a life’s ambition, 15 out of 16 items. By 2007 51% of young people reported that being famous was one of their top goals.

Then David looked at some Girl Scout handbooks and found an earlier copy which preached an ethic of self-sacrifice. A more recent copy tells girls to pay more attention to themselves: “Put yourself in the center stage of your thoughts to gain perspective on your own ways of feeling, thinking and acting.”


Now a confession: Humility is not my strong suit. My own ego has always been a challenge. My parent’s pride, especially in my academic achievements and scholarships, did not help. My place in the family, coming after a developmentally disabled older sister did not help, nor that I was the first son in a traditional German American home. All these things and a confident and loquacious personality conspired to challenge me.

I remember clearly latching on to a verse from the Psalms in my Sunday School days, which was of some help: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the House of the Lord….”

Years later after being elected to the General Conference of The United Methodist Church and being nominated for bishop in a delegation meeting, the old ambition demons were set loose. A near heart attack and open heart bypass surgery came to my aid that time. And some clear limits initiated by my dear wife! Humility is still not my strong suit.


In today’s parable Jesus was at the home of a leader of the Pharisees as other guests arrived for the dinner. He noticed how people acted, especially how they managed to place themselves at or near the head table. Here was a perfect teachable moment and Jesus did not hesitate. He immediately launched into a story about a wedding banquet and how to seat oneself at the tables, concluding with the well-known injunction : “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” It was a barely camouflaged analogy to what he was seeing among the guests.

That is not the end, however. Jesus then turns to the host and virtually instructs him that for his next dinner banquet he should not invite his friends, relatives and rich neighbors – some of the very people who are right there listening to Jesus – but rather invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. He tells the Pharisee host, if you do this you will be blessed. And that is still not enough. When a dinner guest blurts out, “Blessed is the one who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God”, Jesus tells another parable, an even more elaborate story of a great dinner. You can read that after your lunch. Luke 14:verse 15 and following.

Jesus did not just talk about humility either. This attitude was central to who he was. He also ate with tax collectors and sinners. He talked with women of the streets. He touched lepers. He identified with the poor. Jesus’ humility culminates in the humiliation and suffering of the Crucifixion, as Paul testifies in his letter to the Philippians:

Have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, who did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in human likeness, and being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name….

“He humbled himself.” How on earth do we humble ourselves in this selfie culture?

Let’s begin with some models of humility. One thinks of the desert monks, or Albert Schweitzer who humbled himself before the smallest creatures and critters on earth, or Mother Theresa, soon to be named a saint, who served among “the poorest of the poor,” or some of the greatest artists such as Michelangelo who always created an intentional flaw in each work of art to acknowledge their humility before the Creator God.

Or General George Marshall, at President Roosevelt’s side throughout the war, and then Secretary of State and author of the Marshall Plan. This account is in David’s book. As Marshall lay dying, age 79, messages came from all over the world, from General Eisenhower, Charles de Gaulle, Mao se-tung, Joseph Stalin, Marshall Tito. Visiting at his bedside were former President Harry Truman and even 84 year old Winston Churchill, from England. Marshall was a towering figure of the day. Take a listen to his funeral plans: “Bury me simply, like any ordinary officer of the U.S. Army who has served his country honorably. No fuss. No elaborate ceremonials. Keep the service short, confine the guest list to the family. And above all, do it quietly.”

My most memorable lesson in humility occurred when I entered a chartered airplane at O’Hare Airport for the flight to Atlanta and Dr. King’s funeral in April, 1968. The plane was overbooked and I was asked to leave. My traveling mate, Jim Barnes, Lay Leader at the church I was serving on Chicago’s south side, who already had a seat, stood up, and insisted to the stewardess that I, his pastor, be allowed to take his place, and with that he immediately left the airplane. I’ve never been so humbled as on that sad day.

Humility is truly a gift of grace. It is an ability to say, “I’ve screwed up” “I’ve sinned” “I need help.” It is self-awareness of our humanity, of our limitations, of our interdependence with others and with all creation. Humility is an attitude of openness, vulnerability, surrender, of outstretched arms ready both to receive and to give. Humility is recognition that each of us is a stumbler, to borrow a word from David Brooks, but as we grow, as we unite with God as companion, we stumble less. Humility helps remind us that we are not the center of the universe, we are not superior to anyone else. True humility allows no room for racist, sexist, homophobic or nationalistic attitudes or any other bigotry.

But today, sadly, humility is portrayed as weakness, and it is clearly ridiculed by certain candidates in the current election campaign. On the contrary, humility has within it a deep spiritual strength, an uncommon acceptance of life. I recall so vividly that day, 50 years ago August 5th, in Marquette Park on the South Side, when we were marching with Dr. King for fair housing and an open city. To be surrounded by hundreds of angry local residents lobbing missiles of hatred at us over the heads of a line of Chicago police officers, missiles in the form of jeers and bottles and bricks, this was a humbling experience. It was, in a sense, the way of the cross, to be totally non-violent, at least trying to be, accepting of the hostility, expressing love in the face of hate. Some of you might recall feeling a similar, if less intense, humility in the midst our diocesan-led Crosswalk against violence here in Chicago a few years ago. Are there persons here who were on that Crosswalk?

Humility is an attitude of openness to God. In the words of an old hymn, “Pass me not, O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry; while on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.” Humbling ourselves asks God to accompany us in life’s journey, to embrace us, to share our joys and sorrows and angers. As the Apostle Peter writes to the elders, that’s you, Emily, and me: “Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another.” And Paul, to all of us: “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience….. And above all clothe yourselves with love.”

When we open our hearts humbly to ourselves, to others and to God we are preparing the way for a life of joy, reverence, interdependence, and true non-violence, the way of peace and Shalom. So, I dare you all, myself included, “wrap yourself in humility.” If this is a message you can affirm, join me in saying “Amen.”

Rev. Martin Deppe
All Saints Episcopal Church, Chicago
August 28, 2016


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Dear Friends,

Please mark your calendars for our upcoming Reality Fair on Friday, May 12th. Here's a link to volunteer. This wonderful event at Ravenswood School is essentially a 3D game of Life. The 7th and 8th graders pick a future occupation, are assigned a spouse (OK, not that romantic) and a certain number of children. Then they try to make it through a month paying student loans, taxes, and other assorted bills. My favorite station is the “Fickle Finger of Fate” where a student will draw a card and may receive money from a great Aunt’s estate or break an ankle and pay for an unexpected ER visit. It’s a wonderfully fun morning, designed to teach the kids a bit of financial literacy. If you can spare a few hours to volunteer I promise the event will not disappoint!
Today I’m driving to Indianapolis to be a presenter at Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows’ consecration as the next bishop of the Southern half of the state of Indiana. I’ll be back for church on Sunday and am very much looking forward to hearing our interim music director, Colin Collette, preach.
Following the service I’m going to take a week away to recover a bit from all things Holy Week and my mom’s death. Emily will be here and available to assist you with whatever you may need.
Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!
All the best,

May 12threalityf

This year marks the 11th anniversary of the Reality Fair! On Friday morning, May 12th, RCS will bring this powerful learning experience to the seventh and eighth graders at Ravenswood School once again, and you can get in on the fun. Not familiar with Reality Fair? It's a financial literacy challenge where students receive a fictional job and a paycheck and attempt to navigate real-world monthly expenses without going bankrupt. We still need volunteers to serve as bankers, utility company reps, travel agents, car salesmen, financial counselors and more. It's a three-hour commitment you won't forget! 

To sign up, go to this Signup Genius link. If you have questions about the event contact Helen Poot or Jennifer Simokaitis.

To see Helen and Jen talk about the Reality Fair with Greater Chicago Broadcast Ministries click here for the interview!

¡Veinte de Mayo! May 20th at 6pm
The 5th Annual Mexican All Saints’ Mexican Fiesta will be held from 6:00 - 9:00 pm on Saturday, May 20.  Our special guest will be Padre Bayron Chanchavac, Priest in Charge of our partner congregations Santa María Virgen in Xalapa, and their mission La Família Sagrada in Alchichica.  Also featured will be music by Mariachi Herencia de México, Margaritas and other Mexican beverages, great Mexican food, and a piñata! We will hold both a live and silent auction of Mexican crafts, a custom painting by Lori Mueller, and stays at vacation houses including AJ Buckingham’s gorgeous guest house in Guanajuato, Mexico and the Jones’ Lake Michigan beach cottage as well as numerous other enticing items.
The proceeds of the auction help support the programs of our two partner congregations. 
What can you do?

• Add the Fiesta to your calendar and purchase your tickets ($25 adult/$10 child) which will be available soon on the All Saints’ website!

• Donate an item, activity, or vacation stay for our auction (bottle of wine, special meal, a few days stay at your vacation cottage, etc.)!

• Volunteer to help on May 20 with setup and cleanup!  (You will still have plenty of time to eat, drink margaritas, and bid on auction items.)

• Take Padre Bayron to your favorite tourist site or restaurant in Chicago or meet with him over coffee to talk about the exciting things that are happening in his congregation. He speaks excellent English and is a thoroughly delightful person!


Please contact Dave or Karen Howe if you can help or need more information.
Thursday, May 11, 7am - 3pm
Since 1902, the Woman's Society of Winnetka Congregational Church has conducted a rummage sale on the second Thursday of May with all net proceeds awarded to Chicago area non-profits that support women and children. 
Our community kitchen and food pantry, Ravenswood Community Services, is one of the beneficiaries of this great event. This year's sale is on May 11th, 7am - 3pm. 
For more information, including lists of types of goods sold and media coverage of past years' sales, visit the Rummage Sale website
Click here to view the event flyer. 
Saturday, April 29, 2017 in the Parish Hall
Level I: 9:00-11:30am -- Learn how to keep our children safe from sexual abuse in the church and in our community. Parents of children and teens in our congregation are especially encouraged to attend. This session is mandatory for anyone working with our children or youth (or hoping to in the future!), clergy, staff, vestry, and persons providing care to home bound members of our community.

Level II: 12:30-3:00pm - How can we sustain healthy boundaries among adults in our community? How do we prevent the misuse of power as we minister to one another? How can we work together to safeguard the more vulnerable members of our community from emotional and sexual abuse? This session is open to all members of our community who are seeking to live into the fullness of our baptismal vow to "respect the dignity of all persons." Those working with Tuesday night guests would especially benefit from this workshop. It is mandatory for leaders of programs that minister to adults, clergy, staff, vestry, and persons providing care to home bound members of our community.

Level I will be facilitated by Norman Linde, social worker/therapist who has worked extensively in this area and is a certified trainer for KGPS. Level II will be facilitated by Chaplain Jeanne Wirpsa, also certified by the Diocese to teach this material.

Please register by Friday, April 21st so we can have adequate materials available. For further information & to sign up contact Jeanne Wirpsa via email or 773-316-6936 (cell).

Cinco de Mayo Style- May 6 at 6pm

What you ask, is 'What's Cooking at All Saints?' It is a chance for parishioners to come together to prep, cook, and eat a meal, with both adult and equally attractive non-adult beverages. It is a chance for a small group to talk, to get to know each other, and to share fun cooking tips and hacks.

We are looking for 6-8 individuals to join us in the All Saints' Kitchen on May 6 at 6pm. Food (carnitas and more, perhaps) and beverages provided.

Please email Joe Wernette-Harnden to get in on the fun.

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.


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.