Message From the Diocese


March 11, 2020


God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth be moved. . .

Psalm 46


Dear Friends of the Diocese of Washington,


In uncertain times, each of us has the responsibility to make choices

for the public good. Now that the COVID-19 coronavirus has arrived in

our communities, those choices become even more important.


As your bishop, my highest priority is the health, safety and

well-being of our people, with particular concern for the most

vulnerable. It is also our collective responsibility as Christians to

be good neighbors, and to do our part to protect the social fabric

upon which many lives depend.


As a diocese, we have been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19

in Washington and Maryland, and the most recent recommendations from

civic and public health leaders. Two things are now clear: social

distance is needed to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and

the populations most at risk are highly represented among our

congregations and clergy.


As a result, and in consultation with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry,

I am directing that all public worship services and normal parish

operations be cancelled within the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and

parish buildings be closed for two weeks, effective Thursday March 12.

On March 25, we will assess the situation, and our hope is to reopen

for Sunday worship services on March 29. This does not pertain to

schools that function within church buildings that must determine

their own response to present circumstances.


In the interim, we invite all members of the diocese to join us online

for virtual worship services at Washington National Cathedral on

Sunday March 15 and Sunday March 22. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

will preach on March 15 and I will preach on March 22. All Cathedral

worship services can be accessed via, or on the

Cathedral’s Facebook page.


Some congregations already have the capacity for on-line and telephone

based worship gatherings, while others are just beginning to explore

that option. We are gathering online worship and meeting resources on

the diocesan website and will send a link to that site tomorrow,  as

well as information regarding pastoral care, emergency financial

assistance, and virtual gatherings throughout the diocese.


My goal in cancelling services and providing a virtual option for all

in the diocese is to free up the time and energy of clergy and lay

leadership across the diocese to assess the pastoral needs of your

people and to reach out to civic partners, so that we aid in the care

of our communities.


I am painfully aware of the significance of this change, and what it

will mean for people all across this region. I understand the

spiritual and financial implications, the headaches and frustrations,

and I share this disappointment that we, as worshipping communities,

will not be able to gather.


However, I am equally aware of the responsibilities we have as people

of faith who follow the one who came among us as one who served. Not

only do we have a moral, religious and civic obligation to take

whatever steps are necessary to aid our communities in stemming the

spread of this virus, we exist in order to love and serve our

neighbors. It is what faith communities do best in times of need.


To be sure, we will have situations or particular needs arise at

individual parishes that need attention or consideration, and I invite

our clergy to contact diocesan staff for guidance.


We are indeed in uncharted waters -- not just as a diocese, but as a

country and as a global human family. As people of faith, these are

the times for us to draw closer to God and to look to the Scriptures,

where we can find comfort and reassurance:


“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who

loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels,

nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor

height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to

separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:




Message From Atonement

March 11, 2020

Dear Atonement Family Member,

In response to the increased outbreak of COVID-19 virus in our region, all episcopal Churches within the Diocese of Washington will close for worship effective immediately.  We will tentatively reopen on March 25. This means all activities will be canceled within the building. The fish fry on Saturday is postponed until further notice. All scheduled events, rehearsals and meetings are canceled. The Church office will also be closed.

Bible Study scheduled for this evening will continue by phone and online only. The presiding Bishop Michael Curry will be televised from the national cathedral on Sunday, March 15, at 11 am. Also, we will hold Morning Prayer by call or online at our regular worship time 10am.  More information about the services will be forthcoming.

Please either hold on to your gifts or mail them to the church as the needs of the church continues.

If you have any questions or concerns please call Rev. Sheppard at (914)426-2896.

Please pass the word, we are aware that not everyone will receive this message or the emails that have been sent out.

Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”



Anita Marsh

Parish Administrator

The Episcopal Church of the Atonement


Contact Us

Episcopal Church of the Atonement

5073 East Capitol Street, S.E.

Washington, DC 20019

Phone: 202.582.4200 

Fax: 202.582.4202


Atonement is wheelchair accessible. An elevator is available. There is a wheelchair accessible passenger van available upon request with advance notice

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