All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Come to me all you who are heavy laden...


July 6, 2014
Bonnie A. Perry

May the God who Creates us..

Please be seated.
Good Morning

Do you have a hard time, turning off the chatter in your brain? Mine is kind of non-stop. Like the birds in the early morning a constant chirping, sometimes it's all I can hear and sometimes it is a soft background holding all of my other thoughts.

I've been thinking a lot lately about awe and transcendence, of holiness and meaning. I've been thinking about what matters in life. And the flip-side of that. How so very much of what I worry about well—it seems to be the same thing over and over again---"Am I good enough?" "Did I say the right thing—more importantly—did I manage to do something that is helpful?"

I long for the goodness of the Lord. What about you? Do you look for signs? Little notes and messages from on high? Bits and pieces, atoms and particles of the universe aligned in a way that offer a direction of some sort. I do. I have to say that I am bitter and somewhat resentful of the men and women who populate the chapters of scripture and have real life conversations with God. Back and forth, question and answer, a repartee of real substance and matter. And I sit and wait, but not too long, for I sometimes seem to have the attention span of newt or a gnat. But when I do, when I make myself sit and wait for the Lord, I listen and I hear....the birds, the wind, the rain and myself. Being faithful is sometimes hard in a digital age. I'd like pictures God-- please, an instagram, a tweet, a status update that I could point to and say, "There's the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Lea and Rachel. There's the God of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." We're not alone.

"Come to me, all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Or as Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message, his translation of the Bible in contemporary language,

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out by religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.

What does it feel like to know that we are not the only ones carrying the burden? What does it feel like to know that we are not alone?

The other night a group of us were making plans for the All Saints' backpack blessing service in September. After a meeting and a half of trying to wrestle to the ground the myriad issues of education: public, private, charter, selective enrollment, funding, race, class, school closings and school openings it felt as if we were neck deep in the quagmire.

What to do? What would matter? I'm not sure that God usually speaks to people in committee meetings, but maybe that's how things go now. When people write the sacred history of this time and this place, perhaps they'll include a section on inspired insights in the course of a Monday evening, rain-soaked meeting. Will those bits and pieces be any less or more than burning bushes, visiting angels or still small voices? Something shifted though we had very many thoughts and twice as many opinions, something shifted: We went from being overwhelmed and stuck, to inspired and clear about a few first steps all of which are tangible, entertaining and doable. How all of the schools we know need paper. Paper is something we know how to get. What if we gathered a ton of paper? A literal ton of paper, boxes and reams of paper: plain and construction. Paper for printing tests, and worksheets, paper for cutting and coloring and folding, paper for Art and History, Science and Math a ton of paper for our students and schools. What if we got a ton of paper which we could give to every school in the area? It's a start. Not the solution, not the ultimate fix, but interestingly enough, our amazing community kitchen and food pantry where we offer some 300 of our neighbors, several bags of groceries, dental exams, nursing visits, and if they'd like a delicious, nutritious, family-style meal each week. That all started some 21 years ago when we gave away two bags of groceries to the two people who came the very first night we advertised. It's a start.

I think maybe that's what God's call is all about.

Come to me—all you who are heavy laden—it's a start.

As Eugene Peterson says, "Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

I am convinced that those little notes and pieces of the Holy, the atoms and molecules of our God are all about, as it was then it is now, where might you see them? In this summer time of ours. A time that maybe depending upon your life and your work, a time that may be exceptionally busy or a bit freer—where in this time of some warmth and light—where is God—visible in our lives—yet seemingly unnoticed? A committee meeting, a staff gathering, a family bar-b-que, vacation road trips, long, long physically exhausting days, or relaxing time on the beach in the midst of the evening setting sun—where is God?

Who says to each and every one of us—
Oh please—stop doing it all on your own.
Together we can get this.

Come to me all you who are heavy laden. Take my yoke from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

"So it is," says the Lord.



  1. This Week
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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.