Rector's Announcement

11 March 2021

















So…you’ve heard of FAQs? Frequently Asked Questions?


Welcome to SALOAQs – otherwise known as Sometimes (At Least Once) Asked Questions!


Here are some of your questions – and some of my answers/thoughts/musings – about our Return and Renewal Project. Be sure to read the newest article – specifically about the 8:00 am and 9:00 am Sunday Masses – below, and to check out the website for past communications.

And so, without further ado…here we go!


When are we making the switch from Zoom to YouTube?

Our plan is to begin broadcasting solely on YouTube beginning on Palm Sunday; we’re using the three Sundays before Palm Sunday to practice our streaming. This means that while our new equipment is up and running, we aren’t using it to broadcast yet.


Can I watch both Zoom and YouTube at the same time, or watch one and listen to the other?

No, you can’t – well, you can, but they won’t be synced. This doesn’t have anything to do with our equipment; it’s just the way those two platforms interact with each other.


Can I call into YouTube like I call into Zoom?

Unfortunately, no, you can’t. You can access YouTube on your smartphone, but you cannot call in using your phone’s calling function. If this is going to be problematic for you, would you please email me? I would love to be able to work with you on a solution!


Will all of Holy Week be on YouTube?

All of our Holy Week liturgies will be streamed live on YouTube, including Maundy Thursday (7pm), Good Friday (7pm), and the Easter Vigil (8pm). The brief and beautiful Holy Saturday liturgy, which is more like a little office, will be streamed on Facebook Live (10am).

How will things look different on YouTube?

They’re going to look much better. Our new, top-notch professional cameras will provide a much higher video quality. Things will sound better too, because we’ll be able to use our regular sound system (instead of the phones we’ve been using on Zoom). Best of all, you’ll be able to see the whole church – readers reading from the lectern, preachers preaching from the pulpit, processions moving about the aisles and the Angelus prayed by the Lady Shrine.

How can we interact with each other on YouTube, particularly at the Peace?

Each YouTube liturgy will have a live chat, just like Zoom does. You are encouraged to use this chat to pass the peace with one another. (You can also always text or call someone from church at the peace too – I know some of you are doing this already!)


Will readers and intercessors be able to participate from home?

Yes! For now, we encourage people to continue to read or lead the prayers from home, as you have been doing since March. Instead of doing this live, though, which is impossible on YouTube, you are invited to record your readings ahead of time.

What about coffee hour?

Coffee hour will continue on Zoom, and we will make it as easy as possible for people to find the Zoom link while also protecting the security of the meeting. (But I really can’t wait to get back to our in-person coffee hours and Jerry’s lemon bars!)

Will all of the wrinkles will be ironed out by the time we “go live” on YouTube?

Errr…probably not.


If you remember back to the early days of our Zoom worship, you will remember lots of “oops” moments. The morning that we tried to stream on Facebook at the same time...the morning that Zoom simply shut down… the morning that you or I or someone else lost their internet connection... such warm memories!


We are doing everything possible to make sure that our worship will be as beautiful as possible once we make this switch, but I can pretty much guarantee that something, somewhere, isn’t going to go as intended. Please pray for us – and thank you in advance for your patient understanding.


So all of this sounds great…but why will we need any of this once this pandemic ends?

Quite simply, because in 2020, the world changed. 2020 forced us to step into the world of online streaming. It was frustrating at times, and exhausting, but we have seen the blessings: namely that we can, in fact, produce streaming liturgies that bring the worship of God to people wherever they are.


Online streaming is no longer the purview only of a few, large, wealthy parishes – it is Atonement’s ministry too! Never again will we have to say to a parishioner that they cannot be a part of our weekly worship because they are ill, or hospitalized – or even out of town. In addition, online streaming allows us to exponentially increase our mission field, connecting with people who may not even live in Chicago. In other words, we have just installed a powerful tool for connection, fellowship, and evangelism.


Let’s talk choirs… when will they be moved into the Chancel?

The answer to this is that we simply don’t know. Eventually all of our choirs (Atonement, Schola, and St. Cecilia) will sing from the Chancel, but as of this email, our Diocese has still not changed its COVID worship guidelines, which stipulate that there can be no live singing in the church building. So, for now, we are not planning to set up any permanent seating (pews) in the Chancel, because we still aren’t planning on having any live singing soon, and also because we simply don’t know what the guidelines will be for spacing out our singers once we are able to. If you’ve seen any other churches’ streaming liturgies, you’ve seen singers all over the place – spread throughout the crossing, even standing in the pews. We want to give ourselves as much flexibility as possible when it comes to making these decisions to be able to offer beautiful music-making while keeping our singers safe.

Once the Choirs are in the Chancel, though, will they be in the way?

This is such an interesting question – interesting and very important. Let me start by saying that the liturgical space and the liturgy itself are structured in a way that actually helps to focus the congregation’s attention on what matters. First, the space. The choir will be positioned in pews that face in towards the center of the church. We’ll talk more about this next week in our communication about the architecture of this project, but for now, just know that the position of the choir will frame the liturgical action; they will face each other and the altar – not the congregation, as if it were a concert. The shape of liturgy itself also helps to focus our attention. When the choir is singing, we focus on the choir, as they offer our prayers with their music. When they are finished, our focus returns to the altar, or to the lectern. Liturgical leadership is handed back and forth, passed around to all of our liturgical leaders, from choir to celebrant to deacon to reader to intercessor – each with their own space, each with their own moment to come to the fore. That being said, of course, this will be a change for all of us, and this change, like any other, will take some getting used to. Our hope is that in a very short time indeed, the choir singing and the conductor conducting will be no more distracting than the celebrant charging the thurible or the MC moving the procession into place – all work, the people’s work, done for the glory of God.

Yours in Christ,

The Rev’d Erika L. Takacs, Rector


Other questions?

Email us your questions HERE!


Or look on the Atonement webpage for the Return and Renewal Project  HERE for up-to-date information and photographs!