Mercy and Covid

Mercy has seen many changes over the last 15 years, but none quite so drastic or immediate as our response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is hard to believe that in February of 2020 we were meeting for church shoulder to shoulder, passing the body of Christ from hand to hand, singing as loudly as possible about a Revolution, and escaping the cold and rain inside without much thought.

In March it became clear that things needed to change. With the help of our church partners at Druid Hills Presbyterian we moved from our crowded basement to a larger space upstairs and began meeting with intentional distancing in mind. Whether it was masks, gloves, or social distancing, from the start we made it clear we would adopt any protocol that meant our community would be as safe as possible without sacrificing our care for our community’s basic human needs as well. We were ever aware of the reality and dangers of multiple health crises to consider in the care of our community members.

Worshipping during a pandemic

Many of our churches have had to navigate how to be a faithful worshipping community during a global pandemic. With so many of our members without homes to ‘shelter in place,’ for us, it was never as simple as worshipping online (though we do that too!). We had to remain present to our siblings in Christ experiencing homelessness, but in the safest way possible. Early on we realized that meeting indoors just would not be possible–especially as our community grew in size! In May our community moved down Ponce de Leon to the lawn of long-time partners and neighbors St. John’s Lutheran Church. It is here that we continue to meet 5 days a week. With safety and hospitality ever present at the forefront, we are able to meet as a church. We serve and are served. We worship, pray, sing, feast, and support one another…if only at distance and a little muffled by our masks.

As a church we made a clear decision that we would still be present to our community in whatever way that meant – it looks different. It feels different. It is different. But it is also safe. It is good. It is community. It is church. And it is growing. Through the pandemic we have seen more new people every week. We have served more, worshipped more, and shared more than ever before. As other churches and many organizations closed their doors, we found ourselves with more and more feet on the lawn of St. John’s doing more than we have ever dreamed possible–and we’re really thankful.

Ever present needs, still ever present

Like so many in our community, we as a whole church have had to adapt to the world around us. When you have no home to stay in, ‘shelter-in-place’ can seem little else than a reminder of gross injustices in our society. Hot meals, shelter from the elements, access to clean restrooms, community, acknowledgement; these basic needs are still ever present.

Since February we’ve had to find ever creative ways to safely care for our growing community. It has been difficult, but it has also been full of grace and joy. One of the most encouraging realities of our work is that we never do it alone. While we have been sharing more food, clothing, and resources than ever before it is only because so many people have stepped up to share so generously with us! Throughout this pandemic we have been graced by the generosity and selflessness of so many people including essential partner organizations who care for the well-being of our community members, faithful volunteers who come clean and serve, gracious church partners who have opened up space for us, and generous donors who have shared monetary gifts as well as endless produce and clothing!

Here are just a few of our essential friends and partners who have worked alongside us day in and day out throughout the pandemic! We’re so thankful for them (and many, many more)!

Intown Collaborative Ministries

Feet on the Streets Ministries

St John’s Lutheran Church

Our Volunteers

Our Donors

Mercy Care

Herbalistas + Harriet Tubman Free Foot Clinic

Oak Grove United Methodist Church

Druid Hills Presbyterian Church

Church at Ponce and Highland

Advent Devotionals – 2020

Blessed Advent, community! We’re so happy to share with you our new Advent + Christmas Devotionals featuring contributions from 19 different authors and artists from the pastoral team and members of the Mercy Community. For more information on some exciting new changes we have made this year, read the full story below. Also, check out our website or Facebook page for weekly videos and music to accompany your reflections!

Digital Version

Print your own (5.5×8.5)! | Print your own for booklets!

Easier to read, larger print, but fewer pizzas.

Since February, Mercy has been adapting and evolving with the pandemic; the devotionals were no exception. In years past, we’ve held a ‘devotional print, staple, and mail pizza party’ doing everything by hand to get them out the door to you. With social distancing in mind, that just wasn’t an option this year, so we decided to also reimagine how they could look! If you are on the mailing list, you’ll experience the biggest change: booklet sized, self-addressed, direct mailed to you. Bonus points that this also allowed for a color cover created by our own Pastor Chad! Extra bonus: we saved ourselves some time AND were able to pinch some pennies as well. To top it off, we think the end result is a great devotional experience we can share with you!

You’ll also notice the format has changed from horizontal to vertical. Not only does the format feel more like a book, it also allows us to increase the font size! So – now the devotionals are easier to read and print from home if you would like.

Weekly Videos to Guide your Devotional Experience

This year we’ll also be sharing weekly conversational videos to guide your devotional reading experience. In our first video Pastor Chad talks all things apocalypse as he ponders the lectionary texts for the first week of Advent. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Advent reflections and music that we’ll be sharing throughout the season.

Some things never change

We are happiest to share that what hasn’t changed about this community project is the hard work and heart that went into these devotionals. While 2020 has been a whirlwind, we couldn’t miss this important opportunity to share the voices and creativity of our beautiful community with you!

This year, like all years past and future, Mercy will be working together to build up God’s house of love and care for one another. As you read, pray, and study with us this Advent season, we hope you feel connected to the work and people of our community!

This year the devotionals feature 19 writers and artists, include photos of our day-to-day during Covid, and give a little insight into what the future of what Mercy looks like!