All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Easter 2016

Then They Re-Membered

Luke 24:1-12

Bonnie A. Perry

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

“Why do you look of the living among the dead?”

At sunrise on that morning they went to the tomb. They went to the tomb, looking for the dead, among the dead. As you do.

Taking their spices to anoint their friend. To say their final goodbye to a man they thought was more. The women having seen him die, go to the tomb to say goodbye and settle into the despair that is the reality of their new lives.

Yet when they arrive, the stone is rolled, the body is gone and there are men in dazzling clothes saying, “He is not here, He is risen.” Why are you looking for the living among the dead? Remember? Remember? Remember what he said? Don’t you remember what he said….?

They did and they do—and then they run to tell the others… They run, they go, leaving their spices next to the linens.

They go and find the apostles—but the reaction is mixed—mixed at best.

Here’s the tough part—that is true for me—how can the apostles even begin to believe—“He is risen.”?!

When the women are, as the Greek says, obviously delirious.

But Peter—the one whose last interaction with Jesus was to say over and over again “I do not know—the man. I do not know the man. I do not know him. “

Peter, the one who has the most to lose and the most to gain. Peter—gets up and runs to the tomb—he goes and sees, bloody, rumpled, wraps, linens only on the floor.

The emptiness of the cave overwhelms his eyes and drips down his face because maybe—maybe there is something more.

All he knew, crashed and burned three days before when darkness, strangely covered the land. Death has come—this he understands, despair he knows in his marrow, in his soul.

Do you know despair? Do you know that aching, pounding loss? That shriveled, anxious pump of adrenalin, that tells you over and over again, “Wrong, wrong, wrong, you got it wrong, again, again. Wrong.”

Do you know despair: That blanket of depression, smothering your soul, flattening your affect?

Do you know despair: a simmering sense of ineptness, preventing you from taking even one step to intercede in a world of violence, sadness, and pain.

Do you know despair: When the God of your childhood doesn’t stand a chance in this adult world?

I do. I know despair. I know it so well, that sometimes I find myself turning to it, for its familiarity and comfort, the release its inertia offers. Despair.

Benedictine Scholar, Joan Chrittister says, “Despair is the affliction of the small-minded who have not so much lost their faith as they have lost their memory.” People afflicted by despair have lost their memory of what God has done before.

Resurrection is the opposite of despair.

I believe, Resurrection means that we are no longer condemned to live with business as usual politics or quid pro quo theology and religion. Instead resurrection calls us to a way of being, a spirituality that invites us, requires us, as biblical scholar Walter Bruggerman says, to remember how God has acted in the past

To remember, as the women who came to the tomb did. To remember all that Jesus had done in Galilee. How the canannite woman’s daughter was healed, how the demoniac was brought back from the caves of insanity to the village of relationships. How blind bartimaus received sight, how the woman at the well, with five husbands was not judged by Jesus but rather loved by him. How the paralyzed man on the stretcher, lowered down through a hole in the roof by his friends to Jesus, picked up his mat and walked: sins forgiven, body and soul made whole.

The women remembered all of these things and more. They remembered a man who ignored hateful class lines and sexual divides. They remembered a man, who on the night before he died, said, “Take, eat, this is my body, given for you.” And you. And you and me.

They re-membered. They re-membered and gradually and gradually and then suddenly their beliefs and hopes that had been amputated from their hearts and souls as they watched a fearful, oppressive government execute their friend and leader, suddenly their understanding and longings were re-attached, and they knew all he said and did was true and done in a way they themselves could never have conceived on their own.

The empty tomb, the risen Christ, reached far beyond, one regime change, one pendulum swing of the government and instead became a shift in history, a bend in space when time and history began, (as Martin Luther King said,) “its slow arc toward justice”, wholeness, and healing.

Because, those brave women and fragile, exuberant, self-absorbed Peter began to understand, that now and forever more we can no longer limit our lives by living in despair, looking for the dead among the living.

No more—He is gone. He is risen.

So we no longer return to the dead end tombs, burned out pyres of our besetting sins. He is not there. He is risen.Christ is Risen.

The Lord is Risen Indeed.


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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.