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
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  4. Sermons
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.