Dear Beloved in Christ,
Jesus said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment.
And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
This is what Jesus is talking about here – the essential parts of our faith. Love God, love your neighbor as yourself. Everything that we do, every decision we make, every action we take, can be guided by these two essential commandments. Love God, love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commands hang the law and the prophets and every bit of our discipleship.
We’ve talked a lot in the past six months about the essential. Who are the essential workers? What are the essential trips we need to take? What meetings are essential to have in person, and what meetings can be accomplished just as easily online? It is a blessing of the times in which we now live that we are able to see much more clearly those things, those people, those activities, those communities that are truly essential.
We’ve seen, too, in these months all of the ways that Atonement is essential to you and to the wider world. Since the pandemic began in March, Atonement has
continued to worship together every day, expanding our worship to include daily Morning Prayer and harnessing new technologies, like Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook Live
collected masks for distribution in Edgewater
organized check-in calls, both inside and outside of our parish family
collected enough school supplies to fill 110 backpacks for Swift Elementary School
run an online Summer Arts Camp for children aged 3-7
begun to offer online Choral Evensong with remote singing from the St. Cecilia Choir
creatively used technology to allow the Atonement Schola to keep singing (and working)
baptized 4 children into the Body of Christ
held in-person Mass regularly since August
provided lunch for the staff at the Self-Help Home and meals for the women at Sarah’s Circle
held an online pet blessing
begun a practice of Atonement Daily Prayer
welcomed Bishop Lee, who confirmed, received, and reaffirmed 8 of our fellow disciples
…and much more.
Even in these challenging times, we have been true to the essentials of our faith – to love God in our worship and prayer and to love our neighbors through our witness to the Gospel and service in Christ’s name.
Atonement is essential, and you are essential to Atonement.
It is the time of year when we ask you to make a pledge of financial support to Atonement – out of your gratitude for all that God has given you. We know that this year, everything is different. But what has remained the same is that Atonement still has important work to do in the world, bringing justice and reconciliation and healing and comfort to those in our pews, on Zoom, in our neighborhood, and in the world. Atonement is essential, and your support is essential to our future.
Please pray. And then please give as generously as you can to support our faith community as we continue to follow Jesus’ commandments: to love God, our neighbors, and ourselves, and to love as he has loved us – generously, and with an abiding and life-giving hope.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev’d Erika L. Takacs