All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Resurrection People

John 20:1-18
March 31, 2013
Bonnie A. Perry and Andrea L. Mysen

Gracious God, hear our call, touch our hearts, fill our lives, 
In your Holy Name we pray.


(Please be seated.)

Good morning!

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed.  Alleluia!

Years ago, the brilliant yet cantankerous Baptist preacher Carlyle Marney was speaking to some students at a Christian college. When a student asked, "Dr. Marney, would you say a word or two about the resurrection of the dead?" Marney replied, "I will not discuss the resurrection with people like you: I don't discuss such things with anyone under 30. Look at you all: in the prime of life. Never have you known honest-to-God failure, heartburn, impotency, solid defeat, brick walls or mortality. You're extremely apt and handsome—white kids who have never in all of your lives been 30 miles from home, or 20 minutes into the New Testament, or more than a mile and a half from a Baptist or Methodist church, or within a thousand miles of any issue that mattered to a kingdom that matters. So what can you know of a world that makes sense only if Christ is raised?"

Marney is a bit provocative, and while I’m sure a number of those students indeed knew something of real life, his point is well taken.

We have to dwell in death to find New Life.
We have to know despair to truly understand hope. 
We have to welcome/endure sorrow to find joy.

Easter only really makes sense if we’ve endured a Good Friday.

By the cool darkness of early morning, she makes her way to the grave. She’d watched him die. Her heart aches. Tears clouding her sight, Mary Magdalene makes her way to the grave. Just to be near him; just to be close by, once again, to the One who had changed her world.  Her Jesus.  Her Teacher. Her Rabouni.

We know the story from the other side, from Easter morning, but Mary, whose entire world ended nailed on that cross –  Mary  goes to that grave, ventures to that tomb wrapped in the  wretched pain of [Good] Friday.  That Sunday is just one more day,   the third day of desolation.  

Mary arrives at the tomb to find the stone is rolled away. She presumes that someone has stolen Jesus’ body. She runs to tell the disciples that his body has been taken. Peter and the other disciple come running, and find a tomb with linens strewn and little else, burial cloths are all that remain. 

So what, do these hand-picked—chosen disciples do---they go home.  They leave, back to a place of the safety of a place they know, narrow and limited, confined and constrained. They go home, they leave.

But Mary, Mary stays. In her grief,  in her sorrow, Mary stays in the garden weeping, looking again into the tomb. “Women why are you weeping?  For whom are you looking ?”  

He speaks to her.  She thinks he is the gardener, who else would he be this early in the morning.  He speaks to her and calls her by name.


She hears, she sees, she knows.  It is the Lord.

And in unexplainable splendor, in unimaginable glory, He who was dead is now alive,  her despair has become hope, sorrow-- joy. Jesus is alive. 

Out of the tomb, life emerges. Out of Good Friday, Easter comes. 

******    *******   *********

In some lectures at Southern Methodist University, Carlyle Marney confessed that there were days he didn’t know if he believed in the resurrection or not.

Not long before Marney died in 1978, he preached at First Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina.  He preached about death, resurrection and the church. On the way back to the hotel, one of Marney's friends said, "If I didn't know better, I'd think you believe in the resurrection." Marney quickly responded, "Well, I do . . . when I'm around the right people."  

It seems, it seems that for Marney, the right people, the people he needs are resurrection people.

We become resurrection people when we stay at the tomb weeping.  We’re not going to see or know resurrection if we leave, if we disengage and remove ourselves from the pain.  The disciples went home yet Mary stayed at the tomb. We need people like Mary who will bring us the good news and assure us of its reality so when we don’t know, we don’t believe they can nod and know and carry us along.  Because that’s what resurrection people do.  

True enough there will be days when I will go home, unable to understand or bear the pain anymore, but some of you will stay and you will hear God’s voice, hear God calling your name.  And then you will come and find me and tell me all.  

Other times I will do the same for you.  Together we will spread the news and then we will do what resurrection people do.  We will process through this city in the face of death refusing to be bowed by senseless violence, we will take people to dialysis until a kidney donor is found, we will care for and comfort one another in our deepest sorrows and pain and we will give to each other hope for what is yet to come. For we are not people of the grave, for we by the grace of God are resurrection people. And so we will rejoice together when morning comes.  

Alleluia!  Christ is Risen.

The Lord is Risen indeed Alleluia.


  1. This Week
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Dear Friends,    

This seems to be the year where I realize that the young people who were 8 and 10 years old 18 years ago, are now in their late twenties; time doing what time does. This week is particularly poignant for me as I spend the weekend watching Patrick Pressl, (the man whom many of you know of as our amazing Christmas Pageant Donkey) become a 2nd Lt. in the United States Marine Corps. 
I won't be with you all on Sunday because I've flown to Quantico, VA to be with Patrick and his family to celebrate his wonderful achievement. My dad is a retired Lt. Col. in the Marines, so I find this milestone for Patrick to be particularly moving. It is such a gift to be with this faith community for this long and to see our children become faithful adults with purpose, pride, and an abiding sense of justice. 
This Sunday, Emily will be celebrating. Parishioner and retired pastor, the Rev. Martin Deppe, will be preaching and Colin and the choir will be creating compelling music. I'll be back Sunday night.
Many thanks to Parker Callahan and Emily Guffey and the very, many volunteers who enabled last week's All Saints' Cafe to be one of our best ever. The food was amazing and the dishwashing crew was stupendous. 
Advent evensong and reflections begin Wednesday, November 29th. I am looking forward to having the beauty of Holden Evening Prayer wash over me and to then spend some extended time studying and reflecting on W. H. Auden's poem, "For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio." Please join me Nov 29, Dec 6 and Nov. 13. 
Enjoy the return of Fall. 
All my best,

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. 

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 (

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!


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.


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.



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.