Praying us into 2019

Praying for you

Every year in January, I take a few days away to pray and to listen.  As I left town on Tuesday this week, I told our staff team, “This is probably the single most important thing that I do as the rector of our church.  Thank you for helping me protect this time.”

Thank you for sending in your prayer longings.  I received well over 130 of them!  It was such a privilege to pray for you.  I loved how you answered the questions:  What brings you joy?  What are you seeking?  What makes you afraid?  The gift to me was the opportunity to get a glimpse into your heart, to hear what God is doing, to join you in the things for which you are longing.  I felt like I got to know each of you who shared a little bit more.  Thank you.  I am so grateful to be your pastor.

I made notes on themes and spent time each morning holding the different situations, struggles, and excitement before the Lord.  I listened for His voice.

I hope that Restoration will be a place:

  • that continues to offer the joy of encouraging relationship and deep friendship
  • that provides resources for those who are seeking-  resolution on doubts, more intimacy with Jesus, direction and calling, faithfulness, clarity on job and vocational direction
  • that comes alongside those who are afraid-  of losing family, losing friends, being lonely, feeling like a failure, being discovered as a fraud, of being overwhelmed by anxiety, of chronic and never-ceasing pain

Amen.  Let it be, Lord.  Joy.  Intimacy.  Hope.

Books

I tend to bring about 35 books with me and end up reading 2 or 3.  It’s hard to know what will connect with me while still in Arlington… so I bring everything that might pique my interest.

This time, I re-read Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald.  Gordon first wrote this in the early 1980s.  It is not earth-shattering in its insights, but I appreciate the connections between his life and mine.  It’s like reading my journal but written by someone else.  And at this stage in my life, my family, and our church, I needed to take some time to re-order and reflect and renew for the next season.  God met me in it.

Sermons

During this annual retreat, I ask God for a years worth of sermons.  I read through parts of the Bible.  I look through books.  I pray through your prayer requests.  I listen.  I imagine where we will be at various points during the year.  I wonder with God what would be good for our congregation to work on during those moments.  I make tables and spreadsheets and sit with calendars.

During the season of Epiphany (now until March 3), I am going to offer a series called ‘The Rhythm of Spiritual Formation’.  It was inspired by an excellent book I read last summer called, Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan.  The premise of the book and my sermons is this:  God is always working to form us to look like Jesus, but sometimes the growth and change is not obvious.  We have seasons in our relationship with God just like the world experiences seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall.  Each week the preacher will describe a season and then follow up with activities that are available to us in that season.  8 weeks.  2 weeks on each season.  I am praying that God uses it to give us understanding, patience, diligence, and trust in the process He is working in us.

The Matthew 25 Gathering

This year I had a unique and additional thing on my mind-  the Matthew 25 Gathering that Restoration is hosting in 5 weeks.  I spent an afternoon praying through the minute by minute schedule, praying for speakers, praying for people to register, and giving thanks for the dozens of Restoration volunteers who are making the Gathering happen.  Thank you.  This will be a gift to the wider church and I believe that God has a blessing for us in it as well.  I can’t wait.

Winter

Departure

In a couple hours I will load up my car and drive to the RestoMen’s retreat at Meadowkirk.  I have been alone for several days and I am excited to engage with these guys whom I love and enjoy so much.  I hope to see a lot of you there and the rest of you on Sunday as I introduce us to the winter of our spiritual formation.

Grace and Peace to you, beloved church.

David

Praying for you as 2019 begins

Dear Restoration,

Happy New Year!!

Each year, in January, I take a few days to pray for Restoration and to plan our year of preaching.  I look forward to this time to connect with God about you and what He is doing in our church.  This year it will happen from Jan 8-11.

I would be honored to pray for the needs and concerns that are most pressing to you.   Would you share them with me, here?  Thank you so much.  Your confidentiality is important and I will be the only one who sees these requests.  You have a choice to share them anonymously, but I prefer to pray for you by name.

This is the link where you can share your prayer request.

The form will close on January 8, 2019.  Please take a moment to respond, soon!

“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was give you in Christ Jesus…”  1 Corinthians 1:4

See you on Sunday,
-David

DMH Advent 2018

West Asia Reflection #2

Join us on

20 January 2019 at 6:30pm

in the sanctuary for

West Asia Treats and  Team Report

West Asia Team in refugee room

A Reflection from Ryan Bettwy

The dimly lit room, slightly cool and damp from the week’s worth of rain still steadily falling outside, was the most beautiful space I had ever seen in West Asia. To be clear, it was plain: white walls, drawers off their hinges in the corner, a few oddly wrapped stacks of clothes strewn around the room. But even compared to the Hagia Sophia, the skyline of Istanbul, the shoreline of the Lakeside town, or the Lakeside Roman amphitheater, this room has something more beautiful. This is the place where on Sunday nights young school-aged children growing up surrounded by secular and other-minded people learn about Jesus as they read their copies of the Jesus Storybook Bible. One weekday each week, the same little room transforms into a staging area where mothers who are struggling to support their families can get their
families’ basic needs met, including chick peas, milk and occasionally some clothing.

On this afternoon, we took the seven suitcases of clothing filled to the brim with clothing donated to these families and sorted everything from newborn footie pajamas to adolescent boys’ jackets to adult shorts and dresses. We only had two hours to sort diapers, clothes, and socks, so we were pleasantly surprised to have 20 minutes to spare to gather in a circle and pray for this space. We listened as R shared about her experiences with the refugee women, as well as her ability to relate in as simple ways as she could, limited by language and cultural barriers: most days, warm smiles and lifting boxes to support them as they collect their supplies. As we prayed for God to send people who can communicate with these women, and thanked him for raising up people to care for these vulnerable families, I glanced around the room and appreciated once again how God can use the least presuming circumstances to shape and change the course of peoples’ lives.

2018 Christmas Eve Offering

Christmas Eve Offering for Yemen

Every year, on Christmas Eve, Restoration invites those who attend our services to give to an organization (outside of Restoration) that is doing excellent work in a place of great need. 

We recognize 2 things:

  1. Lots of people visit on Christmas Eve and may not be attached to the work and mission of our local church.
  2. Lots of people want to give to something bigger than themselves.

Consequently, our Outreach Steering Team takes time to interview and vet a number of options so that we can all participate in the Christmas Eve offering and give to something that is doing important work.

In 2018, we will give our Christmas Eve offerings to The Ras Morbat Eye Clinic, which is a ministry of Christ Church Aden, an Anglican Church in Yemen.

The Ras Morbat clinic located in Aden Yemen provides eye care and basic health care services to the local people. The clinic is located within the compound of the Anglican Christ Church. The Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf and the Ministry of Health in Aden established a partnership to provide compassion and care for people in need without regard to religious or tribal identities. Over the years the work expanded to include and emphasis on eye care and in 2014 when the Yemeni government opened a small hospital a half a kilometer from Christ Church it was decided that the Ras Morbat Clinic should focus primarily on eye care which is not offered in the local government clinic.

The funds will be used for capital equipment and ongoing operations. The clinic is currently engaged in a project to raise funds to introduce new equipment that will allow our surgeons to offer a broader spectrum of treatment for cataracts and glaucoma. Currently they cannot treat these diseases until they are in rather developed stages and effectively the patients have blindness in one or both eyes. This piece of equipment will make it possible to treat these diseases in much earlier stages of development. This will help people to not experience significant levels of blindness before treatment and will expand the capability to treat cataracts. Treating these ailments in earlier stages will enable the patients to continue employment and support of their family.

Restoration’s relationship and dialog is with Dr Bill Schwarz who is an Archdeacon in the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. Bill maintains the relationship with the Christ Church of Aden and The Ras Morbat clinic.  The church was comprised mostly of expatriates and has seriously declined because foreigners have all had to leave Yemen because of the fighting and the risk of kidnapping and worse.
Bill characterizes the prayer needs as “encourage focus on an end to the fighting and reconstruction of society. Once civil order is restored food and medicine can be distributed and aid agencies can reach the people. We long for the day when we can relocate a clergy couple in Aden and reach out to the people who live there in sacramental ministry.
May the Light of Christ shine in Yemen…  and Arlington…  as we remember Immanuel.  God came among us.
-David

West Asia Reflection #1

Join us on 20 January 2019 at 6:30pm in the sanctuary for the

West Asia Treats and  Team Report

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Ryan and Lorene with our 5(!) huge suitcases of clothing for Syrian refugees

Bread and the Spirit

By, Lorene Eberhardt

When I think about our time in West Asia, two themes keep coming to mind.  The bread is plentiful and abundant throughout the country: a staple of every meal, loaves overflowing in shops littering the streets.  Jesus tells us He is the bread of life, and every time I saw a loaf or slice I found myself praying that the people of this land would come to know the One who can satisfy their hunger.
In the city by the Lake the hunger sits quietly below the surface.  People move around at a relaxed pace, stopping for conversations, sharing bread and olives, practicing their English with the funny Americans.  Occasionally a question or comment reveals the deeper hunger, a tiny wave breaking through the tranquility.
In the Big City, the scene feels more familiar to us from DC; locals and foreign visitors alike move past one another in a rush, never making eye contact, looking either at their phones or at where they’re trying to go, not at who is next to them.  Somehow you can feel the hunger more palpably here; like the seas and straits that surround this city, bigger waves and disturbances crest more frequently.  There are reminders of political upheavals, clashes of secularism and religious fervor, and the daily pressures related to cosmopolitan life.
Our trip was a week of opening our eyes to the work of the Holy Spirit, and stepping into his open invitation to join Him in the work He is already doing. Our team stepped out of vans to pray with fruit sellers, out in faith to buy an axe, into a room where refugee women are welcomed and handed clothing and diapers for their children, and then up in front of other Christians to share our stories of trusting Jesus with our desires.  Conversations that might have felt scary or unfamiliar back at home were somehow made comfortable and tender, through the transformational power of His Spirit.  There were multiple occasions in which I opened my mouth and heard His words on my tongue.
I’m grateful for the eight days of opportunity to see His Spirit work, and filled with hope and anticipation for how He continues to satisfy the deepest hungers both in West Asia and here in my own life.

Warden’s Report: December 2018

At our December 5th Vestry meeting, we enjoyed dinner together and prayer before starting the meeting.  This month Dietrich Kuhlmann led us through prayer which included a time of intercession and thanksgiving for Beth Tipps, our new Associate Rector (she joined us on October 1st) . We prayed gratitude that Beth was truly an answer to Restoration’s prayers and that Restoration has been an answer to Beth’s. We are grateful for the way Beth has spent time intentionally getting to know Restoration and our parishioners, and we pray for God’s direction for the next few months as Beth continues to learn what it means to be a vocational priest and a leader at Restoration. As always, we hope that you will pray with us for all the staff, vestry and God’s work here at Quincy Street. 

In our meeting we approved the Outreach Steering Team’s recommendation to give away our Christmas Eve Offering to Ras Morbat Clinic in Aden, Yemen, a ministry of the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. We also received reports from Incarnation about their first three months meeting together, and from the personnel team regarding a gracious in-kind donation we have received from some unified communications consultants.

Meredith Taylor, our Treasurer walked us through a finance report that shows we are under on anticipated giving for the months of September-November 2018. The vestry will wait to hear a report on giving in December 2018 before making any necessary adjustments to the FY2019 budget, which was approved in August of 2018 (Restoration’s fiscal year runs from September to August.)

Chris Belen raised a motion to clarify a previous point in our outreach granting decision that will allow us to plan on three-year granting relationships with some of our local and global outreach partners. Additionally, Becky Mohr lead discussion concerning our maternity leave policy and our plan for staffing outreach needs in 2019.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, words of wisdom or encouragement, please know that we are open to your feedback.  You can read an archive of past Wardens’ Reports on our website or Vestry Meeting minutes on CCB, under the ‘Files’ tab in the ‘Entire Church Group’

–Dietrich Kuhlmann and Becky Mohr, Wardens

Information about Oliver McNeil’s Funeral

Oliver's hands

It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you of Oliver McNeil’s death on Wednesday, December 5.  He and his parents, Shannon and Matt, are loved by many in our church and on their behalf, I extend my deep thanks for all of the ways that you, their community, prayed for and served them over the last months while Oliver’s body was in decline.

Some of you may not have known Oliver.  He was 11 years old, a regular at the 11am service, a huge fan of the Washington Nationals, and he loved to have his shoulders squeezed when he came up for communion.  Here is a link to an old blog post that his mom, Shannon, wrote in 2011, several years before their daughter, Waverly, died (2015) and when Oliver was still quite young.  You may find Shannon’s blog helpful in getting to know a little about their story as a family.

A service of thanksgiving for his life will be held at McLean Bible Church (MBC), on the ground level of the Smith Center, on Saturday, December 15 at 11:00am.  MBC will have “funeral parking” signs to guide you as you turn onto the property from the stoplight on Rt 7.  There will be people greeting you as you enter.  You can find more detailed travel directions to MBC, here.

Everyone is invited to stay for a light lunch reception that will follow the funeral.  It is being provided by Oliver’s friends at Jill’s House.  In many ways Jill’s House became Oliver’s house too— a home away from home where he could enjoy life’s simple pleasures, have fun, and find rest in a context that cared for him.  Jill’s House, a 501(c)(3), offers respite to children with intellectual disabilities and their families in the Greater Washington, D.C. area.

Shannon and Matt have suggested that gifts to honor Oliver’s life be given to Jill’s House.  Please visit here, and include ‘Oliver McNeil’ in the comments section.  Or checks can be sent to:  Jill’s House, 9011 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182.

If you have questions about the funeral, you can call the Restoration office.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”  1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14
We do grieve.

But our grief is tethered to hope.
It does not overcome us.  On December 15 we will gather together to both grieve and to remind ourselves of our hope.  Thanks be to God for both.

-David

Vestry Election Results: the class of 2021

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Dear Restoration,

It brings me great joy to write to you with the results of our 2018 Vestry Selection.  It was an excellent process that was undergirded with faithful and overt prayer.

The selection process began with several dozen nominees.  The Vestry Discernment Team (VDT) was thrilled with the number of people who were offered as potential servant leaders for vestry.  We were also humbled by the number of people and the task of discerning the few out of the many who could be put on the slate.  I am so grateful for the number of people who WANT to serve AND the number of people who are ABLE to serve.  Restoration has a rich resource of gifted servant leaders and it is the reason we have such excellent leadership through our advisory teams (personnel, facility, outreach, finance, church planting);  and discernment teams (for people considering vocational change–  especially to ordained ministry); and vestry.  Thanks be to God!

 

During the “Restoration Annual Meeting” that was open from November 25 to December 2, members of Restoration voted for 3 of the 7 candidates.  Here are the results:  Erica Chapman, Mary Breed, and Brad Jones now comprise the vestry class of 2021.

The Restoration Vestry will look like this next year:

The Vestry Class of 2019

  • Leigh McAfee (liaison to Incarnation Anglican Church)
  • Sean Burke
  • Chris Belen

The Vestry Class of 2020

  • Kevin Marshall
  • Danny Lee
  • Johanna Montague

The Vestry Class of 2021

  • Erica Chapman
  • Mary Breed
  • Brad Jones

Every year, we are asking God for clarity about people with the right gifts for whom vestry is the right time.  There are always multiple people who could fill these roles–  and for that we are grateful that there is a rich choice.  Thanks be to God that He sees the future and He knows what our church needs and He guides the heads and hearts of His people to select and to choose and to faithfully follow.  Thank you to all the people who considered serving on vestry.  I appreciate your courage and humility and willingness to serve.

Please pray.

Over the next few weeks, the old vestry will be meeting with the new vestry through informal coffees and lunches in order to begin the process of orientation to this team.  On January 22, 2019 the new vestry will meet for the first time.  On January 26 the vestry will leave town for a day retreat at Meadowkirk as we begin to anticipate all that God might do this year.

To the One who always does more than we can ask or imagine:  glory and honor, thanks and praise.

From the One who knows what we need before we even ask:  grace and peace; faith, hope, and love.

-David

A 5pm Town Hall Conversation!

sunset Arlington

You are invited!  December 9 at 5pm

Dear Friends,

The 5pm service has always had a special spot in the life of Restoration.  The later time of day and the smaller size offer the possibility of a more intimate worship experience. 

We want to acknowledge that when we launched Incarnation, we sent some of our dear friends and many of our faithful, fellow, 5pm worship go-ers!  When a community chooses to change by multiplying itself in another part of the city, there is an opportunity to take stock and discuss ‘what could be’. 

The staff and clergy would like to have a ‘Town Hall’ meeting at the 5pm on Sunday, December 9.  We want to hear what this particular service means to you and how it is important to your worship of God and your experience of community at Restoration. We also want to hear what you would like the 5pm worship service to be.   

We love being Anglican and leading liturgy that requires ‘the work of the people’ in kneeling, praying out loud, singing, listening, eating, and drinking.  You are already participating in this liturgy by attending the service and many of you are already serving so that the rest of us can participate in the service.  THANK YOU!  There is an opportunity for more people to serve before, during, and after the liturgy.  We can’t do it without you.  So, we’ll be talking about that, too.

Would you mark December 9 on your calendar?  We will have our regular Advent liturgy.  When we get to the ‘sermon part’, we will take some time to talk about our hopes and dreams for the 5pm service, then we will close with Eucharist.  After the blessing, we will roll over to Sunrise Senior Living on Glebe Road to sing carols and hark the herald!

It will be a special evening and I hope to see you there.

-David 

The Matthew 25 Gathering

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Restoration,

A few years ago, a generous donor made a grant to our province, The Anglican Church in North America.  The purpose of the grant was to kick-start works of justice and mercy all over North America.  The vision was that Anglicans would become known as Full-Gospel People who proclaim the Good News of God’s rescue through His Son, Jesus and who serve the marginalized and vulnerable in acts of justice and mercy.  This grant became known as The Matthew 25 Initiative (M25i).

One of the first M25i grant recipients was Restoration Immigration Legal Aid.  This generous kick-start grant allowed RILA to hire their first staff person and to pursue the administrative requirements of becoming a new organization. We are so grateful for this grant and so grateful for the good work that RILA is doing.

Along with the grants, Archbishop Foley Beach asked if the province could host an annual gathering of Anglicans who are doing works of justice and mercy around North America. The first gathering was in Austin, the second was in Phoenix, and next year, we are hosting it here, at Restoration.

I am so excited that we have this opportunity to host The Matthew 25 Gathering! I want to answer a few questions about it and then make a BIG ASK.

When is it?  The Matthew 25 Gathering will be February 19-21, 2019.  It starts around 3pm on Tuesday and ends after Eucharist at 12:30pm on Thursday.  We will use every inch of our facility!

How many people are you expecting?  We are hoping that 100 people will attend.

What is the purpose of the Gathering?  We created it as an opportunity for Anglicans from across North America to network with each other, to share and learn best practices in the work they are doing, and to be renewed in their call to their vocation.  As you know, Restoration seeks to ‘refresh the workers’ in all of our outreach efforts and this is a very practical way that we can ‘refresh these workers’ who are serving the marginalized and vulnerable.

How will you refresh them?  The Gathering is structured around 4 plenary talks that will feature speakers talk about contemplative activism-  how can we grow deeper with Jesus as we serve?  We will also have 15 workshops that share best practices from people around our province.  In the middle of the Gathering, we will bus down to the Lincoln Memorial and prayer walk to the MLK memorial.  There is a ‘pre-Gathering’ retreat offering through our friends at Corhaven and a ‘post-Gathering’ tour of the Museum of the Bible and the National Museum of African American History.

Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 11.39.44 AMI am excited by the confluence of prayer in DC, prayer with our friends at Coracle, and prayer from people at Restoration.

Our church gets to serve and I can’t wait to join you in it.

So here is the BIG ASK.

We want to host the Gathering participants well.  We will do that through a smooth registration process, vigilant on-site hospitality, and gracious lodging.  In the future, we will offer opportunities to help with registration and logistics.  Right now, I am seeking people who want to offer gracious lodging.

Many of the participants do not have budgets for this type of an event.  One of the ways that we make it affordable is by providing them a free room and breakfast. Would you consider hosting some of these participants on Tuesday and Wednesday nights (Feb 19 and 20)?  We would love them to have their own bed, some breakfast, and a ride to and from the church.  We are seeking 30-40 spots.

Would you consider it?

When the Gathering was hosted in Austin, the church that provided this gracious lodging LOVED it.  They had breakfast with people from far away who were doing really cool work and were so appreciative of having a free place to sleep.  Their household was blessed and the participant was blessed.  I believe that can happen for us too!

If you are interested, please fill out the form below.  Kathy Kenyon is coordinating our gracious lodging and she will be in touch soon to talk about your situation.

Thank you so much,

David

 

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