The 2015 recipient of The S. Michael Yasutake Award was the Rev. Dr. Bonnie A. Perry, who received the award at the 178th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago in November.
Bonnie Perry is rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago and has been a priest in the Diocese of Chicago for over twenty years. In that time, she has worked to engage the other on a consistent basis, perhaps no more so than in her founding of the meal program with Ravenswood Community Services (RCS). RCS feeds, on a weekly basis, hundreds of people at a sit-down, family style meal where our neighbors are engaged as people with dignity; not just strangers looking for a bag of groceries. This program is essential to the north side of Chicago, and has played a vital role in the revitalization of All Saints’ since Bonnie was called to be Rector in the 1990s.
Bonnie’s prophetic work with the Chicago Consultation is unparalleled in the Diocese. This organization has engaged Anglicans across the world in serious theology and discussion for nearly a decade; and the work continues. Just this year, delegates from the consultation met in Ghana to discuss human sexuality with African bishops and priests. No meeting of this kind had taken place until the Consultation traveled to South Africa in 2014 to do so. This healing work is the essence of living out the Gospel: making ways for peace and justice, despite the risks involved.
In 2011, Bonnie worked with then-seminarian Jack Clark to found CROSSwalk, the Diocese’s first major engagement with gun violence in Chicago. In its first year, the initiative brought together a coalition of faith and community leaders to create a four-mile vigil and march through the city that drew nearly 2,500 people. CROSSwalk later transformed into CROSSwalk to Work, a program that now finds summer jobs for at-risk youth in Chicago. Amongst all of this, Bonnie remains a dedicated pastor that engages her congregation on a weekly basis with thoughtful sermons and excellent pastoral care.