All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Snow Epiphanies

January 5, 2014

When was the last time you went out of your way for God?

Either looking for signs of God or acting in such a way that someone might say—wow he or she really must have a faith or a commitment to something more than the immediate. She or he—is living by a noticeably different set of values. When was the last time you went out of your way for God or for your faith?

I'm not talking about the things you may or may not do here at church—although those activities could certainly count. I'm talking about when was the last time you altered your course, your behavior, your trajectory to bear witness to or enhance your spiritual beliefs? When was the last time you went out of your way for God?

What would it take to change your path? Because that's the point...isn't it? "Behold I bring good news of great joy—unto you is born—in the city of David—a savior who is Christ the Lord. And now days later— what are we doing differently?"

The magi, the three kings, the wise ones from afar—they have seen a sign and are looking for its earthly cause. Something has happened in the heavens, something has transpired in the night skies enough to agitate, motivate and captivate their sense of self. Something has happened, enough to divert them, pull them out of their typical lives to go and see this thing which has been made known to them. An epiphany a revelation is waiting to happen—if they are willing to go and see.

Epiphanies are rarely delivered to us on steak platters, medium rare waiting to be consumed. Typically a little bit of work is involved, some investment required. An epiphany usually requires a willingness to see, experience and interact with the revelation. To spend some time knowing—epiphanies from God from the divine are no different.

When was the last time you went out of your way for God?

The wise ones of old, traveled how far? How long? Looking, searching, seeking.

Epiphany: a revelation, an inspiration, an encounter encouraging us, beckoning us to look, to see things anew.

Which brings me to snow. Epiphany.

Snow is evidence that something can seemingly appear out of thin air and transform our entire view of the world. Snow for me is one big frozen Epiphany.

I always say that I am looking for an epiphany: a sign from God—but rarely, I realize, do I slow down long enough to see anything unusual. Which is why, at least one of the reasons why I adore snow. For there is no way, for us to be fast when we deal with snow. Particularly here in Chicago, in this glaciated-pancake of a city of ours--where we have precious few hills to slide down, not even gravity can move us through snow fast. Snow is catalyst for revelation. We move slower in snow. Things look and feel different.

When you walk through the new stuff, shuffle through the virgin untouched places, do you notice how you scuff your feet along? Watching the white clouds puff out in front of your toes, causing mini-tidal bores along the sidewalks?

Or what about, what when the snow is no longer new? When the temperatures drop precipitously. How then does it sound? The scritch, scritch, squeak and crunch as I plod along to the El—because there is no way— there is no way I'm going to leave my newly dug out parking place so just any old slacker can pull in and reap the reward of my hard work....What does it sound like as we make our way down the street? Can we even hear the crunch over the restless noise of the wind?

Snow is catalyst for Epiphanies. As I trudge along, lamenting the clods of it that accumulate behind the tongue of my boot, next to my sock, can its penetrating cold make me think of all that I feel each day? The sensations that come and go, washing over me without more than a momentary notice?

Snow is a catalyst for Epiphanies. What's it mean to be cold? What's it mean to be warm? Why do some of us have the means to be relatively comfortable in the storms of winter and others live precariously on the edge of exposure?

Epiphanies, whether they are stars in the sky or endless flakes of snow cascading down, epiphanies require—that we alter our typical course and behavior. Epiphanies invite us to alter our paths and begin to see all that is around us.

On this day—what might your snow epiphany be?

Copyright: Bonnie A. Perry January 2014


  1. This Week
  2. Services Times
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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,


    Annual Bake Auction

    Annual Bake Auction

    Dear Friends,
    For nineteen years, All Saints' has been creating an Africa Bake Auction that changes people's lives. Last year we raised over $26,000 by buying cakes that we baked! With the money raised during the auction between our 9am and 11am worship services, our young people chose to fund:
  • wells and clean water for people in South Sudan
  • a women's collective tea store, creating a place for women entrepeneurs
  • scholarships for Sudanese refugees in Uganda
  • financial aid for two scholars working on LGBT issues in Africa
  • health care for women, children, and men in the Diocese of Renk, South Sudan
  • In terms of what it buys in South Sudan, our money is multiplied by a factor of ten. And now, more than ever, our assistance is needed. What you do--what we give--helps people so very much.
    So come with your debit cards, bring your friends, bake some goodies, and get ready to make an investment in the lives of people in South Sudan.
    Susan and I will be spending at least $750 to make a difference. I'll be baking my no frills, simply chocolate, kinda ugly, really tasty cake!
    And during our worship services on Sunday, each offering that isn't marked "pledge" will be given to our friends in South Sudan.  
    Please start baking, and email a title and brief description to Polly Tangora so she can streamline check-in by preparing your bid forms in advance. Then post your amazing goodies on Facebookor Instagram, tagging All Saints' and using the hashtag #AfricaBakeAuction. 
    All the best, 
    March For Our Lives - A Lenten Pilgrimage

    March For Our Lives - A Lenten Pilgrimage


    Dear Friends,

    I invite you to join me on a pilgrimage to Washington DC on March 24th to support the young people from Florida who are marching in memory of their slain friends, murdered in their high school.

    I believe this journey to DC or a shorter trip to Downtown Chicago needs to be an intrinsic part of our Lenten Discipline this year. This country can no longer sigh and wring our collective hands and be lulled into thinking that there is nothing else we can do. We can show up. We can show up by the thousands, by the hundreds. That showing up begins when each one of us changes a plan and alters a schedule to be there to show we care. Because we do. 

    For DC, we’ll leave Friday evening at 5:00, March 23rd. Click here for more information and to purchase bus tickets. We’ll March during the day on the 24th. And return Saturday night so that we all may be back in time for Palm Sunday Services, March 25th. Know that the procession we take part in on Saturday will be a Palm Sunday Procession for the world and not just our church.

    I hope you can be there, with your family and friends in either DC or Downtown.

    All my best,



    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.