All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

elephantdonkeypoliticsThe Sunday after the Election

November 13, 2016
Luke 21:5-19,
Bonnie A. Perry

When life is hard and I am sad, overwhelmed, tired, depressed, self-loathing, insecure, exhausted, or when I feel as if my country is falling apart, I find myself saying, without thinking,

"Create in me a clean heart, O God,
Renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
And take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Give me the joy of your saving help again."

It's a portion of Psalm 51 and it comes to me unbidden. Yet, come it does, present, from a period in my life when I said this psalm almost every morning as I prayed for a bit, sitting on my window seat in my living room.

This psalm is in my synapses. I've been saying it a lot this week, something of a spiritual reflex, words that form in my mouth but seem to link to my soul.

Next week, the week after that, and the one after that, we can talk about and plan our coming actions in response to the tectonic plate shifting of our country. In the weeks to come we can delve into and deeply explore the theological, spiritual, and political ramifications of what it means to have elected a man, as an article in The Economist succinctly put it,
[to have elected a man]

Who led a racist campaign to discredit the incumbent, Mr. Obama. While campaigning, he abused women, the disabled, Hispanics and foreigners. He advocated using torture, and nuclear bombs, said his opponent was corrupt and possibly a murderer, and swore that, if elected, he would lock her up. Almost half of American voters have now given Mr. Trump an opportunity to follow through on that threat. Who knows; perhaps he will. (November 9, 2016)

Create in me, a clean heart O God,
Renew a right spirit within me...

Next week we can begin to move forward, right now, I am compelled to grieve, to voice my fears, list my sins, lick my wounds and marvel at this almost unexpected reversal of fortune, "As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down." Or, as our friends in R.E.M. said years ago, 'It's the end of the world as we know it..." Except I don't feel fine.

So we grieve and we lament:
the loss of power and the sense of safety and security,
be it real or imagined,
that we experienced with that power.

We grieve the ascension to power of an individual who spews and embodies racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic beliefs.

We lament the presence of physical and emotional violence linked with his movement.

We grieve the seeming loss of civility in public discourse.

We grieve the potential harm for people seeking refuge in this country.

We lament the potential loss of religious liberties.

We lament, the loss of shattering of a profound barrier in public life.

In short, many of us grieve the loss of our dreams of how we thought the world should be ordered.

We would be remiss if we did not also grieve and lament our insulation and isolation from so many people in our country; our possible blanket judgment of people with whom we may not agree; our willingness to remove the depth, texture and humanity of people who may appraise the world differently from ourselves; and most importantly of all our clear inability to work for and bring about justice for all.

Create in me a clean heart O God,
Renew a right spirit within me.

We long for something more...that longing and living and working for more, that begins next week, in a way, the likes of which many of us have not done before.

What does truly progressive Gospel-infused, coalition building look like? How much of our time, money and souls need we offer to transform our world? How might we, in the triple bubble of insularity, living on the North side of the city of Chicago in the state of Illinois, how might we meet and hear individuals, different from ourselves, so that we might truly respect the dignity of every human being? This then is the work of the weeks, months, and years to come.

But today, this morning, we grieve. We look for God. We hold fast to God's promise, to be with us always. We take some heart from the hymn written years ago, by Tommy Dorsey. While away at a revival, Dorsey received word that his wife had died giving birth to their son. He raced home. A day later his son died. Dorsey buried his wife and son in the same casket and ceased to play, compose in public, or have anything to do with music, the church, his family or friends.

But one day, as Nancy Lynne Westfield, tells the story, he sat in front of the piano and he heard a melody in his head, he'd never heard before, he began to play it. Then composed this hymn to it.

Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, Let me stand:
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn:
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the Light:
Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

Although we grieve, dear friends, we are not alone.



  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.