All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Sometimes I want to slip away

Courtney Reid
All Saints

August 23, 2015

Sometimes I just want to slip away, to leave. When it feels like too much or it's too hard. When leaving seems like a better option than staying in or having a challenging conversation; when leaving seems easier than confronting my fears; when staying might mean I need to acknowledge my dependence, my feelings of not being in control; when staying means I need to acknowledge my own brokenness. Sometimes I just want to leave - before it gets too close, too real. And I suspect that many of you may sometimes feel this way, too.

These past five weeks of Gospel readings have been abundant with stories and images of bread, of the Eucharist. They have been drawing us deeper and deeper into the reality of a relationship with Jesus, and today is when the rubber hits the road - so to speak.

At the end of July, we began in the gospel of Mark with Jesus feeding the 5000. Transforming five loaves and fishes into enough for all.

The next week we moved to the gospel of John where Jesus appears as a patient but frustrated teacher - trying to get his followers to understand. "You are looking for me because you are full from eating the loaves. It is not earthly bread I give. It is eternal life. 'so how do we know you are the one, what signs will you give us. You gave Moses signs,' says the grumbling and disbelieving crowd. Jesus responds; “I am the bread of life. Come to me and never be hungry.”

The next week, the crowd is at it again, “how can you say you are the bread come down from heaven when you are the son of Mary and Joseph. How can God be your father?” And Jesus patiently explains it again. “I am the bread of life. Whoever eats of this bread will have eternal life.”

Last week, Jesus picked up where he left off the week before- “I am the bread of life, the true bread from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will have eternal life.” And now the argument becomes - how can we eat of your flesh? Yuck! What is it you're telling us? It's amazing that Jesus just doesn't pack up his bags and find a new crowd to work with.

And this week we hear the last of this “bread” series in our lectionary. “Eat my flesh, drink my blood, and you will abide in me and I in you. This is the bread come down from heaven.” No less than 8 times over the past four weeks has Jesus said - I am the bread of life, I am the bread of heaven. Each week, Jesus has been moving deeper and deeper into the true meaning of the bread. Come to me. Believe in me. Eat me. Become me. And still folks don't get or don’t want to get it. (and for the compilers of our lectionary, I'm thinking that they think we don't get it either) This week some find it so difficult to hear that they complain to Jesus about how difficult it all is and just leave.

Sometimes, I just want to leave, too. Do you?
When the words of Jesus seem too much, too hard?
When the world in which we live seems beyond hope.

Yet, in the midst of wanting to leave, of wanting to hide, I hear the voice of Peter (Peter, the one whom so often is bumbling his way to Jesus) Here, he’s spot on – when Jesus asks, “are you going to go, too” Peter responds – Lord, where would we go. … We have come to believe that you are the Holy One of God.”

Where would we go? Even when we don’t fully understand. Even when we’re scared and feel lost. Even when the risk of staying seems too much.

And this is why I love the Eucharist- Jesus comes whether we're ready or not, whether we get it or don't, whether we want to run away in fear or approach the table with joy. Jesus comes.

In our sacramental church, the Eucharist is often the place where we experience moments of intense grace, of overwhelming gratitude, of deep unworthiness, and of great communion.

"Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I abide in them." Jesus is telling us - eat me, ingest me, become me, really live.

Through sharing with us his body and blood, Jesus invites us into as intimate a relation and communion with him as we can imagine, perhaps a communion and relationship that is even closer than we want.

When I take in Jesus, what is he calling me to believe, to do. Might Jesus be calling me to live out of my comfort zone, to embrace a new way of being. These are important questions for us to reflect on and pray about. What and who does the bread of life, our holy communion, call us, as individuals, to be?

And there is another important side to this bread of life, this holy meal. We do not dine alone, we don't experience Jesus just singularly but in community. My fear at the table can be bolstered by someone else's immense faith. My belief in the life changing power of the Eucharist can sustain that person who wants to run.

The bread binds us together. In Book 1 of the Hunger Games, before the reaping that sees Peeta and Katniss chosen to represent their district in the games, Peeta’s saves a starving Katniss and her family when he throws her two loaves of bread. Loaves which Peeta’s mother had said to give to the pigs. Instead, Peeta chooses to share those loaves with a starving girl, huddling in the darkness. Later, in a moment of despair during the horror of the games themselves, she tells Peeta, “it was the bread that gave me hope…” The bread that Peeta gave, that gave Katniss hope creates a bond between them which remains long after the bread is gone.

The power of the living bread is not only what it calls us to be individually but as a community. It strengthens, challenges, and builds us up to be Christ for the world. When answering Jesus's question, Peter doesn't say I believe. He says, we believe. We believe and know that you are the holy one. We're all in this together.

The invitation to be in relationship, the demands of a relationship with Jesus become clearer. And "real life, life lived, abundant life is hard to fathom, hard to accept, hard to imagine that it could be ours." (Karoline Lewis)

Sometimes, I just want to slip away. It's too hard, too much. It's easier to walk away before it gets too close.

And yet, no matter what I do, the Bread of life is still there.
And there’s no need for me to run.



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Weekly Message for December 10

Weekly Message for December 10

Dear Friends,    

Tomorrow morning, Saturday the 9th, from around 10am to 2pm, I’m looking for people who might want to assist me in doing some Christmas decorating for the outside of our church building. Ahn Gallagher has graciously agreed to hang some lights in our bell tower, now I’m looking for assistance is getting lights in our oak tree out front. I’ll be able to put on my climbing saddle and rig a belay and climb the tree, but it will be much easier and way more fun if I have assistance. Right now our beautifully restored building looks GREAT in the day and kind of dark at night. I hope to fix that tomorrow. Dress warm and come join the fun!
Two Wednesdays from now, on December 20th, our evening prayer will be extended to include more silence for reflection, more music for our souls, and an opportunity for anointing. Christmas can be a very difficult time, particularly if we are in the midst of a transition or have lost someone we love. We hope to create a time and some space to acknowledge those difficult feelings and offer some solace and consolation. I invite you to take an hour to care for yourself with some prayer and music.
This Sunday I’ll be preaching, Emily will be celebrating, the children will be rehearsing our presidentially-recognized Christmas Pageant, #HamiltonmeetsJesus, and Colin and our choir will be creating seasonal music that will lift our spirits.
I look forward to seeing all of you!
All the best,
Working Against the Virus of Racism

Working Against the Virus of Racism

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. 

All Saints' Book Club

All Saints' Book Club

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 (

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!

Evening Prayer at The Breakers

Evening Prayer at The Breakers

 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!


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.

New Opportunity: Hospitality Ministry

New Opportunity: Hospitality Ministry

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.

Join Our Member Directory!

Join Our Member Directory!

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.

Love on a Plate

Love on a Plate

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.


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 

This OLD Church

This OLD Church

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.
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.