All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Bake Auction Sunday

February 21, 2016
Bonnie A. Perry

So the Republican leaning people in the State of South Carolina have spoken. Again Mr. Trump carries the day, while Rubio and Cruz are separated by half a percentage point. Do you have a sense watching primary results that these are scenes that Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are just longing to portray? Real live politics in our country today, make the Netflix's, "House of Cards" look like a really boring bridge game.

When you finally move past astonishment at our political permutations, do you find yourself wondering what exactly is going on in our country? Have you moved past, incredulity and now maybe transitioned into a conspiracy theories and fear? I've seen it heard it from you all. For myself, I have to say this all feels a bit alien and out of control, and I am a somewhat terrified of our election in November.

Remembering that sense of out of "controlness," do you recall how you felt on a Fall Tuesday morning more than 14 years ago? September 11, 2001: Do you recollect how you felt early that morning? And then how you felt mid-morning?

I remember getting up, with an amazing sense of expectation. You see after 9 years of being the priest here at All Saints' I had finally gotten a full complement of an amazing staff. We were all going to gather that morning for real live staff meeting one of our first of the program year: me, Margaret, Leslie, Bridget, Ashely and Rose our seminarian. I was so excited.

Then the phone rang, and it was Ashley calling me.
"What's up?"
I remember her saying,
"The weirdest thing just happened, did you hear?
A plane of some sort just flew into the world trade center."
To which I said,
"Wow—that's weird. Was it like a little two sitter? A Cessna of some sort...?"

At which time, Ashley, who had continued to watch Good Morning America, while we were talking suddenly said,
"Oh my god, O my God, this plane, this huge plane, oh my god, it just hit the other tower. Oh my God."
I said, "What? What happened?"
Ashley said, "I have go, I have to call Win. (her husband).

Do you remember where you were on that morning?

Do you remember how you felt about life, maybe shifted and changed?
The second plane, going into the building, then 20 to 30 minutes later the first tower collapsing, then word that the pentagon was burning,
then seeing the other tower collapsing,
and the news of a passenger airliner crashing outside of Pittsburgh.

I recently re-watched a snippet of the coverage. And started crying all over again.

I offer these instances to you as examples of times when we may have experienced our country as somewhat out of control. Times separated by almost 15 years. But each times when I found myself feeling dislocated, upset, and unsure.

These two times separated by almost a decade and a half, if we put them together and had them happening simultaneously, maybe we then might have a an inkling of what it must be like to live daily in South Sudan.

A place in the world that has been eviscerated by some sort of civil war for most of the last 30 years. South Sudan, a new country in 2011 that had so much promise of hope, once they'd separated from Omar Al-Bashir's wretched regime in Khartoum.

They were their own country, a democracy, ruled by a coalition of parties working together to create a new nation. Then less than two years into the new venture the government falls apart, accusations of coup's between the president and vice president, elected leaders seem to be acting erratically and opportunistically.

Gunmen going through villages, through churches. People, with whom we were friends, shot, killed, gunned down.

Can you imagine, hiding, running, fleeing from your home because your village, your street is under attack? This then has been the norm for many of our sisters and brothers in South Sudan for the last two and a half years. Not all that unlike what had happened to them throughout their lives. Only now it cannot be blamed on an unfriendly Islamic government.

There are almost 12 million people in South Sudan. In September, 2015 the World Affairs Journal reported that Some 1.64 million people have fled fighting inside the country,
While another 628,000 have fled as refugees into neighbouring nations,
while over 4.6 million people are now dependent on food aid. (September,21, 2015, World Affairs Journal)

Over 192,000 terrified civilians are sheltering inside UN bases. Just this past week there was an attack in one of the UN camps. With many people killed and many more wounded.

It is true there is a new peace agreement between the President and his vice President. They have formed a government again, but it is fragile, tenuous at best.
Meanwhile as Bishop Joseph said to me this morning. "We are all praying for Peace. We ask you our Christian Sisters and Brothers to share in these prayers for us. For if we have some peace, then we shall open the door for education, food security, health care and development. Therefore any supports coming from sisters and brothers who partner in Gospel [with us] mean a lot for us."

Khartoum has re-opened the border between Sudan and South Sudan, displaced people are streaming into and back to Renk. Because they are a people of inordinate faith, their hopes are high, but their resources are scarce.

They need money, to buy seed to plant sorghum. So that they may eat.

We pay salaries of mid-wives for Renk and Dr. Paul's salary. They are essential for life to continue. In a country with a high birth rate and higher infant mortality rate these people offer essential care.

The people of St Peter's church in Gieger, are rebuilding their church. We here at All Saints know a bit about that. Only they are reconstructing a building destroyed when last the Nile flooded and literally washed their church away.

Renk High School has every possibility of soon reopening— our money will be received gratefully used to make education a reality. As any of our young people could tell you, education is the single most effective way for a person or a group of people to transcend poverty. Renk High School is essential.

Our friends in Renk, in South Sudan, lack the bare essentials of life. They need us to assist them so that they have hope.

Remember what it feels like to be attacked, to be in a world seemingly out of control?

We make a serious investment in people half way around because we don't want anyone to live in that place of terror and fear.

We bake, we buy, and we give, so that others may live.
It is as simple as that. We are one answer to their prayers.
We bake, we buy, because we can.

Copyright February 2016 Bonnie A. Perry


  1. This Week
  2. Services Times
  3. Contact Us
  4. Sermons
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.