Angels I have known

Today we celebrate the legacy of St. Francis.  We’ve probably all heard stories about him – making you believe he was, perhaps, a little crazy – but he was a good man and loved to share the Good News of the Gospel. 

One story tells of an encounter with a flock of birds – doves, crows – all sorts of birds.  When St. Francis spotted them down the road, he ran toward them and expected them to scatter but to his surprise – and probably anyone else’s who may have witnessed this – the birds stood still and seemed to wait for him.  He was filled with awe and he asked them to stay and then proceeded to give them a little sermon, reminding them that they should always praise their Creator for he was the one who gave them feathers for clothes, wings to fly, and anything else that was needed.   “It is God who made you noble among all creatures, making your home in thin, pure air.  Without sowing or reaping, you received God’s guidance and protection.”  And so the story goes that from that day on, Francis made it his habit to invoke all animals to praise and love their Creator. 

But wait a minute, Francis.  While all of what you told those birds was certainly true –  if I may say so – you missed the bigger picture!  I believe that animals have a lot to tell us, to teach us, and to remind us of.  They are messengers and, I believe, vessels enabling 2-way communication with God.  So, Francis, perhaps spending some time listening to them would have done you some good, too. 

Click here to read the whole sermon preached by Susan Mitchell on Pet Blessing Sunday, 2019

Land Acknowledgement


Donations for New Plaque

Please help St. John’s acknowledge the past and presence of our Native American neighbors. The cost is $2,500. An anonymous donor will match your donations to have a plaque made and installed! You can use the donate button at the top of the page or pay by Quick Pay to treasurer@stjohnschicago.com, or by cash or check. Please put “plaque” in the memo line Thank you for contributing to this important work.

Anti-Racism Team

The Anti-Racism Team was established in January 2018 and meets monthly. Our Anti-Racism Action Plan was presented to and accepted by our vestry (leadership council) on June 20, 2018. We are now working on our 2019 Anti-Racism Plan. Our work began with an African-American Literature Book Group. A list of the books we read over two years can be downloaded here: Reading to End Racism. You can find a list of more recent articles and books here: Anti-Racism Team: What we’ve been reading. Currently we have a Latinx Book Group meeting (email us for more information).

Festival of the Arts

October 26, 2019
10:00 amto5:00 pm
October 27, 2019
10:00 amto3:00 pm

Saturday, October 26, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and
Sunday, October 27, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

St. John’s Episcopal Church on Chicago’s Northwest Side will host a new Festival of the Arts on October 26 & 27, 2019, celebrating new and local talent in visual, culinary and horticultural art with a focus on sustainable, recycled and upcycled materials. Shop for holiday gifts! A homemade chili and bread lunch will be available on Saturday.

Pet Blessing

October 6, 2019

All creatures great and small (and humans too) are welcome to Pet Blessings Sunday, October 6 at 8:00, 9:15, or 11:00 a.m.

At 10:15 there is a Memorial Service for those who want to remember their beloved pets who have died. (Weather permitting the memorial is in the garden).

art by Scott Gustafson

Purses, Aprons, and Politics

sermon on Luke 12:32-40
The Rev. Kara Wagner Sherer

I have a large cardboard box in my basement, filled with hardly used, basically new purses, wallets, backpacks and bags. They were once THE thing my daughters had to have to hold their wallets, laptops etc. but a second after they were purchased they were out of style, hence the large box of purses in my basement.

When I read the parable today I thought, “Great!” I don’t have to prepare a sermon this week, I can just bring that box to church and give everyone an almost new purse and tell you “Jesus said, sell all your things, give the money away. Make for yourself purses that do not wear out, treasures in heaven!”

I think I am in a cleaning mode because of this week’s news. Those of you who were alive on 9/11 will never forget where you were. I haven’t. It was the month we moved into a new apartment, before I started seminary. I was cleaning. And when I heard the news I just kept cleaning. Listening to the radio and cleaning. It is what I do when I am under stress, paralyzed by the world.

So I’ve called you here today to ask, “What should we do?”

Should we raise money and send all the lawyers at St. John’s to the border and to Mississippi? Should we gather the doctors, nurses and counselors that we know to go Dayton and El Paso and the streets of Chicago? Should we get all our writers and artists and musicians to Washington, DC to write new protest songs, bang on drums, make signs and not be silent until our elected officials do their jobs? And who will stay home to help Mark plan his mother’s funeral, and mourn with our neighbor whose husband’s funeral is next week? Who will take care of the kids and make dinner?

Suddenly the side door opens (the one by the organ that no one ever uses) and a stranger walks in. We’ve never seen him before, but we know exactly who he is. He looks at me and says, “Kara, sit down!” and at all of us and says, “Stop, breathe, hold on.”

“But Jesus! What should we do? Should we go to the border? To Mississippi and Dayton and El Paso. What about our own Chicago neighborhoods? And who will watch the kids?”

Jesus doesn’t answer. He goes downstairs. He puts on an apron, not one of the white ones, but that one from Nicaragua with all the embroidery on it. And he rummages in the fridge. And suddenly we are all eating. Nothing fancy, but good food, lots of fruit and vegetables, home-made, nothing processed…real comfort food. And Jesus serves the food and picks up the dishes. And washes them. And Jesus says “Stop, breathe, eat, enjoy each other’s company. You have everything you need. You are ready.”

“Now go and do what I have called you to do.”

Sermon preached on Sunday, August 11, 2019. For more sermons go to:
http://www.stjohnschicago.com/?page_id=678