2016 06 12 14


Out of an abundance of caution, our congregation will not be hosting in-person services this Christmas season.


Out of an abundance of caution, our congregation will not be hosting in-person services this Christmas season.


Dear Members and Friends of Atonement,

It's with a heavy heart that I write you to announce that our congregation will not be hosting in-person worship services this Christmas season.

Our leadership and I have agonized over this decision, which is why this e-mail comes to you at this late date. We know that, as much as we Christians like to describe ourselves as Easter people, the celebration of Christmas with candles, carols, and Communion--all shared in community--is at the very heart of our worship life. This is most certainly true for my little family. Based on our typical Christmas worship attendance, which hovers at around 1,000 souls, I suspect that you can say the same for your families, too. Christmas Eve is just so special!

Because of a mind-boggling number of factors, however, we have come to the conclusion that the most prudent thing to do this year is to refrain from gathering as a congregation. If this decision proves to be an over-reaction or otherwise wrong-headed, I pray that God and you will forgive me. But even if this decision proves to be the right one, please know how much I have hated making it.

The staff and a quartet of choristers will be producing a brief worship video for Christmas Eve. This video will include the reading of the Christmas Gospel and the singing of Silent Night. As your pastor and sibling in Christ, I encourage you to turn out the lights, light some candles, and watch this video with your household sometime on Christmas Eve. If your household is a household of one this year, please know that you are not alone in singing praise to Jesus, "love's pure light"--and God willing you will not be physically alone much longer.

As individual Christians and as a community of faith, we must cling now as much as ever to the good news that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.

Oh, how I will miss you folks this Christmas! I am praying for us all. Please pray for our hurting world, for one another, the staff, our families, and for me. May Christ bring you a blessed, merry Christmas!



A faith founded on good news.

Lutherans are:

Evangelical (meaning gospel-centered)

catholic (meaning a part of the whole Christian church across time and space)

Reforming (always being made new, seeking where God is calling us to reorient)