All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

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A Light to the Nations

The Lord called me before I was born,
    While I was in my mother’s womb he named me…
I will give you as a light to the nations;
    That my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. V 47:6b

Good Morning.

Writing this sermon I could see an almost full moon rising outside my living room window. I watched as it rose and travelled across the sky. Seeing it, took me aback, made me stop and hold my breath. Who else can see this dinner dish in the sky; this light rising in the darkness? As they too look, what then are they seeking? For what are they looking? And longing?

There is much that I do not know on this weekend before the inauguration of our 45th President. What I do know is that it is an intense time here, here in our nation, our world and in this place itself. Three memorial services in 10 days, a 24 year old young man—Alex, a little, tiny bitty baby-David, and a 34 year old woman—Yvette. Such pain and sadness. Always in death, regardless of what our beliefs may be of the afterlife, there is in the end of life, an abiding loss, a chasm of emptiness. This crevasse is sometimes felt as deeper and darker when the people who die are young, for it seems in their deaths we grieve the loss of their future and a portion of ours. Whereas, when we who are older take our last breaths it is as if a portion of the past dies with us. At least for me, in this time and space, the passing away of their future, our futures with them can be harder to bear then letting go of what has been. It can be as if, our dreams have died.

I believe that a portion of this our country, the majority of people even, are feeling the cold bite of the approaching chasm of our 45th President’s inauguration. I had partially talked myself into believing that having been elected he would be shaped and changed by the power of the office, the weight of the responsibility, and the gravity of governing. But a week away, I see only an extremely small insecure man, who derives deep delight in taunting and casting aspersions, offering shallow policy in 144 characters or less. Is this how someone who is about to become the most powerful person in the world comports himself?

The President elect’s twitter response to Congressman’s Lewis public questioning of his legitimacy is behavior I’d expect to see from a 12 year old boy who has had one too many Red Bulls. I now feel as if I am about to be exiled to foreign land, governed by a man who worships statues made of gold.

I apologize for my possible hyperbole and perhaps my fears will dissipate some in the coming weeks and months. But in this time of feeling in exile, I find comfort in the words written o so long ago by the prophet Isaiah, to a people some 2600 years in the past who also found themselves living in a foreign land, wondering how they could sing hymns and offer God praise.

To these people come these words,
Listen to me, O coastlands,
Pay attention, you peoples from far away!
The Lord called me before I was born,
While I was in my mother’s womb, God named me.

So says the suffering servant—
God has called me –before I was born—God called me and knew me—
God called us and has known us—

The servant goes on to say—
God has made my mouth like a sword, I am an arrow in God’s quiver—
Though I know this—it feels as if—I labor in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing….

But in the suffering servants pain and sadness, in our pain and sadness, God replies,
To God’s servant formed in the womb, called to gather the people in exile,
It is too light a thing, that you should just be my servant,
To call the tribes of Jacob
And restore the survivors of Israel only
No says Our Lord,
You—shall be a light to the nations (all of them)
That God’s salvation shall reach to the ends of the earth.

This then was the prophecy, the prediction given by God, proclaimed by Isaiah
And heard by the people in exile. And it came to be.
They were returned and restored and brought home to God’s holy mountain.

My friends, last night, after an amazing memorial service with 400 people, after we’d cried and prayed and sang out our hearts, and most importantly commended our friend Yvette to God’s care and God’s Holy tender hands, we moved our altar of sadness, we replaced it with a garland not of ashes, or a faint spirit—
But literally a garland that twisted in a spiral. During their Epiphany camp. Here where our altar typically is, a literal garland Dotted with stations of God’s promises and prophecies, candles glowing at each, all offering a suggestion of hope, an epiphany of God. There in the darkness, many of the children of this parish, began to understand what it means to seek out the light of Christ. To hear God’s promises and to know that even in our darkest moments God will be with us. Calling us to come and see all that is good and right and holy.

Those candles, like the moon rising, proclaiming that no matter what, be it the loss of our loved ones, the trampling of historic ideals, the moon rises, the light shines in the darkness and the Glory of the Lord will be revealed.
Amen.

Copyright Bonnie A. Perry 2017

January 15, 2017
Isaiah 49:1-9

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Dear Friends,

As wildfires in California continue to burn and Illinois Republicans of Lake County hold a fundraiser where an assault rifle and an assortment of other guns will be raffled, we might begin to find ourselves losing hope. Yet as people of faith we are called to not let ourselves be carried from the shore by a rip of despair. We are called to hope and to action and to prayer, perhaps in that order and perhaps in another. Action, hope, and prayer. Prayer, hope, and action.
 
And yes, we are also called to create space for rest and for sorrow. I am unclear how any one of us can read the newspapers, listen to the radio, immerse ourselves on our Facebook and Twitter feeds and not be filled with grief and sorrow.
 
So on Sunday, come join me as we create space for sadness and grief while simultaneously praying for change and acting in hope. I’ll be preaching, Emily will be celebrating, and Colin and our choir will be creating music that offers balm for our souls. 
 
In the midst of all that is going on in the world, our slice of the global community experienced a dear loss in the death of Jeanne Marie Uzdawinis. Jeanne, her husband John Boesche, and their daughter Maddy have been longtime friends of All Saints’, always supporting our ministries. Jeanne was a co-owner and co-founder of Cafe Selmarie, one of Lincoln Square’s and Ravenswood’s best restaurants. Here's an obituary that appeared in the Sun-Times on Tuesday. Services for Jeanne will be held at All Saints’ on Saturday, October 28 at 5:00 pm. I am honored and so so very sad to be officiating at Jeanne’s memorial service. I miss her so very much. 
 
And through it all, we continue on as a people of hope, action, and prayer.
 
Enjoy the weather. We’ve got that in our favor.
 
All my best,
Bonnie
 
Stop by the church tomorrow or Sunday-we’ll be welcoming hundreds of visitors as once again we will be a part of Open House Chicago.

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. 

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 (mebcat@gmail.com)

Gardening at 10am

churchschool2010

For the rest of June and July - although Sunday school classes do not meet at 10 during the summer - Atrium I will continue to be open during the 9 o'clock service until the end of July. Atrium I children who attend the 11 o'clock service will be welcome in the nursery during the service.

At 10 o'clock children are encouraged to come help water, weed and harvest vegetables from the garden we're planting to support the Ravenswood Community Services kitchen and food pantry

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!

 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!

 

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.

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.

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 website@allsaintschicago.org and he will send a user name, password, and instructions.

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 care@allsaintschicago.org. You'll be contacted when a need arises and you can sign up to help at your convenience.

 

tinaParishioner, Tina Tchen, accepts Bishop Maryann Budde's invitation to preach at the National Cathedral Sunday, May 8. Click here to see the video.

 

Please consider supporting the restoration project of our historic building. To make a donation, click here

1883 Construction web 

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.
 
 

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

Email info@allsaintschicago.org 

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.