On the first Sunday of Lent I announced that our Lenten project this year would be to raise money to forgive medical debt for some of the poorest people in Atlanta. Our goal was to raise $25,000 by Easter, with the vestry agreeing to match all donations up to $25,000. In a partnership with RIP Medical Debt that combined $50,000 would forgive $5 million in medical debt for Atlanta households. (RIP buys medical debt for pennies on the dollar, and then partners with other organizations to forgive it. Each dollar raised forgives $100 in debt). The beginning of our Lenten campaign was on March 1, which seems like a lifetime ago. In those five weeks the world has changed in ways that we could not have imagined. Who could have dreamed then that by Easter we would all be sheltering in place, going to school, work, and even worship online? It was not exactly a fortuitous time to begin an ambitious fundraising campaign.
But I am happy to say today that so far we have received $17,790 in contributions toward our $25,000 goal. I think that is pretty amazing. Even while quarantined many of you have mailed in checks or made online donations at our website. With the church’s matching grant, we will be able to forgive almost $3.6 million in medical debt, at a time when medical costs are soaring due to the coronavirus. At our online vestry meeting next week I will ask them to consider giving the entire $25,000 from our outreach endowment, even if we have not met that goal. If so, we will be able to forgive $4.2 million. To me that is a great statement of faith to make during a pandemic, reaching out to help those who need it most.
Thank you to everyone who tuned in to watch our Palm(less) Sunday service yesterday. I am so glad we figured out a way to include music in the service when it is being streamed from our house. (And by “we,” I mean Joseph Henry.) Here is the rest of our Holy Week worship schedule, all online.
Monday — Wednesday, Stations of the Cross, 8 p.m. You can follow along and participate by downloading the attached service. And many thanks to Claudia Gimson for putting this together, and Tommy Hannah for the beautiful photographs.
Thursday, Maundy Thursday service, 7 p.m. — There will not be the traditional foot washing or stripping of the altar, but we will remember the last night of Jesus’ life with readings, prayers, and the Eucharist.
Friday, Good Friday service, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Easter Vigil, 7 p.m. Unfortunately, baby Georgina Armstrong’s baptism is delayed, but we will still come together online to hear the stories of God’s salvation and proclaim that Lent is over!
Sunday, Easter service — 10 a.m. Join us to celebrate the resurrection, at a time when we need to hear it the most.
Many of you have given money for Easter flowers. With your permission, we will save those contributions and use them for the blowout service we will have when we are able to come together again.
See you tonight for Stations of the Cross.