Your Chicago: All Saints Episcopal Church

CHICAGO (CBS) — A small church on the North Side has found a way to help its community and make life for meaningful for its members.

All Saints Episcopal Church has been a Ravenswood staple since 1884. It is the oldest frame church in the city and is a Chicago landmark, but that’s not why Polly Tangora says it’s her favorite place.

“It’s a congregation that is full of joy and really changes peoples’ lives,” she tells CBS 2’s Rob Johnson.

That congregation has been led by Pastor Bonnie Perry for 19 years. When she got here there were just 30 parishioners, and they nearly had to shut down.

Early on, she says, “I suggested that instead of worrying about our bills that we start worrying about the people in our neighborhood.”

Now, every Tuesday night, 400 people show up for bags of food packed by some 70 volunteers in their Just Neighbors Food Pantry.

During tough times in this neighborhood in transition, it is much appreciated.

“It’s very important. I’m disabled, so it’s difficult for me to work,” says Adelaide Meyers.

The church’s kids help weekly with the food pantry and have raised money for aid projects in the Sudan. In addition, church members have been helping to rebuild New Orleans.

Even though it is now a flourishing church with a membership over 600, it is one badly in need of repair. There’s even a hole in the foundation. Perry estimates it would take another $1.5 million to fix all of its problems.

“We are never going to do that at the expense of scholarships in Sudan, or rebuilding New Orleans or feeding people here,” she says.

As for Polly, she says the building is important, but it who’s on the inside that really matters.

“It’s a landmark to the community, but it’s really the people here who are important,” she says.

Polly has been at the church for 20 years now, and has run the children’s ministry for several years now.

Your Chicago with Rob & Kate

Your Chicago with Rob & Kate

Submit Your Favorites!

Tell us about your favorite places in the Chicago area. We could pick you and your idea to be on TV. Tune in every Thursday at 10pm to see ideas from viewers just like you! It’s Your Chicago!

Submit your favorite place at:

Check out picks from previous weeks:

More from Rob Johnson
  • Chicago Kid

    Are they a church or a soup kitchen?

    Too many churches these days are getting their roles confused.

    • JB

      The people receiving the aid are probably mostly minorities who take advantage of unsuspecting whites.

  • Chicago News Stories for Sep 24 2011 : Travel tips, hotels, restaurants, jobs and news | Travel 2 Chicago

    […] Royals backed him with four home runs Friday night in an 11-1 romp over the Chicago White Sox.Your Chicago: All Saints Episcopal ChurchA 19th-century wood frame church in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood has been dispensing aid […]

  • srluke

    Of all the ignorant, raciist remarks that I have heard, JB yours certianly takes the cake!!! As of Chicago Kid, yes… they are a church, a soup kitchen and what ever else is needed for the community! Obviously Jesus’ words, “what you do the least of these you do unto Me” was LOST on you!

    You can’t have a “cut & paste” theology – taking only what is convienient or comfortable for you, leaving the rest and call yourself “Christian” – a follower of Christ. Being Chrisitan is radical; it goes against the tide of society AND it means that you work to correct the injustices of what the WORLD create, ie… greed, anger, hatred, sexism & racism, ect… That is what the message of Christ was and is! It is about LOVE, and justice.

    • JB

      The only racism I see is against whites. Government and private programs that help minoirites, but do little to help whites who are struggling more because they don’t receive as much help.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live