RestoWomen Gatherings: Nov 7

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RestoWomen! Do you plan to eat dinner Tuesday, November 7?
If your answer is YES, wonderful… you should dine with some new friends in one of the small RestoWomen Gatherings taking place that night.unnamed
What’s in it for you?  A small, comfortable gathering, in the home of another RestoWoman, where you’ll come around the table to break bread.  New relationships will be fostered and old relationships fed.
Come join us!  Sign up now to attend of the Women’s Gatherings on Tuesday, November 7.  And invite a friend to join you!
We eagerly await all that God has in store for us as we connect in this intimate way.
~RestoWomen Gatherings

Women Unscripted: Tuesday September 26, 2017

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Calling all RestoWomen: would you like some fresh energy and ideas for your prayer life as you head into Fall?

New season. New habits. New workout program…. New prayer life?

This Tuesday, September 26, we will have our first Women Unscripted of the season 7.30pm – 9pm – and we have an incredible line-up of women who will lead our time together.

There will be six workshops, including 

• praying for our parents,

• praying for others with the Book of Common Prayer

• praying for and with our kids, 

• praying for the persecuted church 

• praying for our families

• praying for the nations

Each workshop led by an AMAZING RestoWoman (or two)!

Will you join us? You will get to go to two workshops out of the six in the time we have… and you will WANT to go to all six. Each workshop will give you some ideas, tools and a chance to practice.

It will be fun. And you will learn new ways to pray… Do come!

And bring a friend.

So looking forward to re-connecting with you, 

~Liz

Oh and by the way: three more notices!
1. Do you want to be a mentor? Email Liz and she will connect you to Cindy and the team ( all women welcomed, special place for those 40+) No skills needed… just lived experience!

2. Nov 7: gatherings in homes. Save the date – and would you like to be a hostess? Email Liz and she will connect you to Kara Stevenson for more info

3. The Retreat: Feb 9-11, 2018 Save the date and sign up after the fall retreat. Email Liz and she will connect you to Jennifer if you would like to be involved in planning.

Listening

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Yesterday, while I was in the grocery store, I was starkly reminded of how hard it can be to listen. I was pushing my daughter around the store, trying to grab everything that was on and was not on my list while also somehow avoiding hitting other shoppers with our mondo car shopping cart. And trying to accomplish all of this in time to get home to unpack everything and then pick up my son from preschool. The store was playing music, people were talking, workers were stocking the shelves, kids were making noises. Then all of the sudden, barely audible because of all the noise, a clerk came over the intercom and asked all the workers and shoppers to observe a moment of silence for September 11. It took me a second to process what the voice was saying and to stop walking down the aisle and turn off my headphones, an additional noise on top of everything else. The store music ceased. Other shoppers that heard the announcement stopped in their tracks.  

The normally bustling grocery store was suddenly quiet, a unique, almost unsettling, scene. For perhaps 30 seconds, everyone participated in the moment of silence. Then the music came back on and everyone started going about their busy business again, with all the noise that went along with it.

Not everyone heard the announcement- perhaps because it was too noisy in the store or they thought it was another “commercial” from the grocery store or they simply didn’t listen/pay attention- and did not stop to observe the silence. Some did stop for the silence when they visually noticed the other shoppers not shopping and became aware of the lack of noise. But others continued to go about their way, unaware of the invitation and opportunity to engage in this solemn moment. In fact, I barely heard the announcement to be silent over the loudspeaker because of all the other noise going on around me and the noise that I myself was creating.

Listening to God can be difficult and requires discernment. We know what types of things to be listening for and the ways that God can speak to us: scripture, times of prayer, community, circumstances, Holy Spirit encounters. But more fundamentally, in order to “hear” or “see” any of these things an intentionality is needed; a posture of listening and watchfulness is assumed. How can we know what we are to do or what God is saying if we have not listened? If we have not taken the time and space to listen? If we have not removed our headphones? If we have not been watchful to the situation around us?

Taking time for silence is an opportunity for us to assume this posture of listening and watchfulness. We can be sure that God is speaking; He is living and active. He has given us His Holy Spirit to direct and comfort us. It is hard to hear, to be watchful, especially in our busy Washington D.C. pace of life. Join us for a time of listening to the Lord during “Be Still and Know,” a contemplative prayer night, on Wednesday, September 13 at 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.  Intercessors will be present to pray silently for you as you pray and seek the Lord. Bring your thoughts, bring your questions, bring your expectant heart to hear what the Lord might say to you.

O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people;

Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who

calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with

you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever

and ever. Amen.

~Lauren

Interested in learning more about listening to the Holy Spirit and pursuing a posture of listening? Ladies are welcome to join Rebecca Reck and Lauren Lessels’ small group on Fridays at 10 am in the Church for Priscilla Shirer’s “He Speaks to Me: Preparing to Hear from God” study.

hurricanes and dolphins

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Last week, my husband Simon and I went on a few days vacation. It was soooo delightful – we went to the beach and we walked, laughed, relaxed, ate good food. All those things we do when we’re away.

But it was hard not to be aware that we had unintentionally arrived in the middle of a time of high drama. Every person we met was buzzing with the latest news, weather report or statement from the Governor. Yup – we had landed up in the potential path of Hurricane Irma. We were told we would have to leave – immediately – well, tomorrow – OK, we could stay one more day… and then another, as Irma gradually shifted her trajectory and we were in the clear.

We could choose how long to stay. We knew we could get in our car, with plenty of notice and just – drive. And we’d soon be back to normalcy and safety. We could watch the news with interest, but without undue personal concern. We didn’t have to worry about small children, pets, photo albums, our home what momentos of our lives to save. We didn’t face the loss of our history and possessions.

So different for so many others – all those whose homes were about to be destroyed, who had struggled to rescue precious memories as Harvey loomed and then barreled through; who had watched the coming of Irma with dread and alarm.

It was so easy for us to delight in the beauty of the beach and the sunsets, the dolphins and the pelicans. So easy for us to arrive and then to leave. But now, I have met people, I’ve talked to them and heard their fear, and now it is Bob, Rhonda, David, Susan, Derrick not just faces but people. And so here I am scouring the news. Looking for pictures. Reading about flooding. Tornadoes. Hail. Storm surges. All just where we were 2 days ago…. 

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And so how can we respond?

We can pray for those affected – our neighbors, all those we hear of or see on TV clips. Pray for churches and leaders, for first responders, helicopter pilots and for journalists. Pray for the drivers of the endless electricity emergency vehicles we passed on the road heading down to Florida as we were driving up I95. Pray for those you know, for those you don’t. Ask for God’s mercy to extend through this traumatic time.

And we can give. As a church we have donated $6,000 through ARDF for their hurricane response. You can read more about how they are using the funds given here and here. I am so grateful to our vestry and to the Outreach Steering team who think so carefully about where we as a church community will give our money. And thankful to you for all giving so generously so that we can respond when there is need.

It can be easy just to watch. But as you do, why not pause for a moment and step into the shoes of the person on the screen – and ask God to make them a person not a face to you, then pray – whether it be a tragedy in Mexico, South Asia or just a few hundred miles away, watch and pray. 

~Liz

 

Bus 9: reflections from #RestoBolivia2

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During our time in Cochabamba, Bolivia we traveled through the city in a small bus that had a number 9 written on the front window.  It was driven by a very kindhearted man that became known as number 17, “Diecisiete”, on our team because when we would get on we would count off to make sure we were all there. Those of us who had been to Cochabamba the year before were pleased that it was the same bus and driver that we had during last year’s trip. I remembered him saying he especially enjoys times when he works with groups like us because he has more time in between our trips to spend at home with his family.

Upon arriving, bus 9 waited outside the airport to take us to where we would be staying. Since the bus looks like the other public buses (and usually is used for public transportation), it was quite common for us see locals attempt to flag down the bus and get on as we passed by. There usually was another bus like it not too far behind. Bus 9 took us to the NCV homes: Corazon del Pastor, Pedacito Del Cielo, and Sendero de Esperanza. It took us to a retreat center for the church retreat with La Trinidad (yes, there were llamas). There was luggage stacked in the aisles and on laps. Those who were feeling sick opted to sit up in the front of the bus next to the driver.  We sometimes packed children from the homes on the bus with us – quite the bonding experience. It took us to the Cristo de la Concordia for a beautiful view of the city. We took the bus to places that had delicious Bolivian food when we were hungry. The bus even took us to the largest open air market place in Bolivia, “La Cancha”.

On bus 9 we prayed, talked, laughed, cried and were quiet together. One time the bus stalled in the middle of a busy intersection and some of our team members got out to push until the engine started up again. The bus was usually on time, but everything usually started late. Our last trip on bus 9 was to the airport. Back where we began, but we were different. “Chao”, we said (goodbye that means we will see you again). God willing, we will be back on bus 9 next time.

~Andrew I.

Was it valuable? Thoughts from #RestoBolivia2

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So, RestoBolivia, 2017…led by awesome leaders, Eva Elizabeth, Endel and Kate.  Followed by the rest of us…Rachel, Diana, Lauren, MacCrae and Bennet, child lovers and carers extraordinaire. Lauren and Andrew, worship and prayer leaders.  And the rest of us, teachers, testifiers and also child lovers, Phil, Wayne, J.P., Alexa, Laurel and David, and me, Desiree.

What a wonderful group of dedicated Christ lovers with whom to experience my first Mission Trip.  And what an experience it was.

The experience of love and care on the part of everyone in the group toward everyone else in the group before we even got to the actual work of the trip was true Christian love in action.

The level of care and concern evidenced over and over again for the well-being of each of us I have never before experienced.  So awesome, words fail me.

The experience of a previously unknown country and people and culture was exciting.

The experience of participating in the retreat we led for the local congregation stretched me beyond my comfort zone.  It was nerve racking to prepare a testimony for an unknown audience not to mention one that did not speak English.

But, nerve racking or not, I and others did it.  I for one felt vastly relieved when my part was done and I am still basking in the relief of having it behind me.

But, was it a valuable exercise?  Yes.  I decided in the preparation that reviewing my testimony was something I should do more frequently than I have been.  I really need to share my story ongoingly.

Of course, I’ve been talking about me.  Aside from the impact on me of giving my testimony was the impact on those who heard it even in translation.  I was amazed to realize how God used my words to stimulate responses in the listeners.  I felt humbled by so many who had questions and wanted follow-up conversations.

And then the experience of loving on the adorable children in the boys’ and girls’ homes which we did for the balance of our time there.  It was heartwarming to see and experience the love and care being lavished on the children by all, including us!, who come into contact with them.

The Mission Trip was a transformative experience in my journey of faith.  And one for which I feel very grateful for the opportunity to participate.

~Desiree F

 

The day after… thoughts from #RestoBolivia2

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Today is the day after the end of the Bolivia trip– the end of the most transformative summer of my life as a whole where I felt God challenging me and pushing me to use my heart in ways I had not done before. This summer I felt the presence of God work through people in unforeseen ways.

First, what did I bring on this trip and how did God take it and transform it for His good?

On this trip I brought my love for getting to know the people, culture, and traditions of Latin America, which long preceded my interest in joining Equipo (Team) Bolivia. The second thing I brought with me was my love for serving others-from serving my family, friends, community, and job- I seek to serve in everyway I have to opportunity to because I feel like I marginally bring the world to being restored from a state of need or brokenness. However, on this trip, God has given me a renewed heart and lens with which to view Latin America as well as serving.

I saw through the work we have done with La Trinidad, an Anglican sister church in Cochabamba, that sowing and reaping together rather than working on behalf of other people renders incredible results that glorify God. This has been instructive in how to serve cross-culturally in settings where historically having others come in from the outside often has negative results. In working with the La Trinidad, we were humbled to see the such an elaborate and dynamic church could arise- a church that includes the most marginalized and offers them an immediate and engaging experience alongside the of gospel of serving that the houses and tias (affectionate and formal term for the women that care for the children) live out day in and day out. This indeed informed my experience of seeing that as a church there is not a one-size fits all model, and there are cultural differences that are key to understand.

Secondly, I brought my love for serving people and thinking critically about how this service is impacting them. What God has taught me through the experience of sharing with Bolivians is that He wants us to uphold the relational aspect of His kingdom to reflect His love in this world. By living out the relational aspect of God’s kingdom, we expand the network of people we love, care for, know well, and connect with- which is exactly what I felt like the whole group did while in Bolivia.

During our debrief session before flying out of Cochabamba at the end of our trip, Tyson, the leader of the work we were doing with Niños con Valor, shared with us the healthiest and most helpful way to transition out of Bolivia is by integrating our experiences there into our present reality here. As I return back to the states, my hope is to integrate these experiences into a part of my life I have felt disconnected from for the past year as I have simultaneously been drawing closer to Restoration, which is an answer to the prayer of what my vocation should be. This is an area I have been praying to the Lord about for cohesion for in my life between my passions and my day-to-day work. I want to pivot my vocation to working with Latin Americans back in the U.S. and in Latin America directly with humility and a spirit of working alongside people in settings like Bolivia where there are obstacles and constraints as well as opportunities and abundant blessings.

Through the testimonies we all shared that followed the theme of being at the table with Jesus, we learned and lived what God continuously shows his disciples in Luke, which is that out of our little, He in turn provides abundantly.

And when it comes to service, it has been key to invite God into settings where we serve others joyfully and creatively where we can glorify Him and expand His love in His Kingdom. I will continue to pray for God to penetrate the ways I practice serving my Latin American community back here in the context of the greater Washington community. In the day after, I seek to continue to build on the experiences we all had with the children, tias, and homes into the practice of seeing how I want to live out service and my passion for Latin America in my day-to-day life. I think I will start with grabbing some mate (local tea) and staying in touch with some of the kids we connected with through letters and staying tuned to their lives in the larger context of Bolivia.

~Alexa A.

Un Equipo Increíble: Thoughts from #RestoBoliva2

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Short-term mission trips come with their share of challenges. Before the trip, I found it hard to believe that somehow in a 10 day period, a group of 16 people of different ages, backgrounds, and experiences could somehow come together, plant themselves in a foreign country, adjust to new food, language, and culture, and have a meaningful impact on the people they came to serve.

I was in awe of the way our group demonstrated flexibility, sensitivity, and openness to the daily realities that we faced in Bolivia.

Instead of expressing frustration at the church retreat that our detailed schedule was constantly being rearranged and delayed, our team expressed delight that we could embrace the Bolivian way, release our Type A grip on things, and simply open our arms wide to welcome the beautiful chaos that we know God was orchestrating. If we had been adamant about sticking to our rigid schedule, it could have caused a rift between Resto and La Trinidad. Instead, our team’s flexibility allowed for an easy integration of our groups during which we could focus on what God was teaching us.

Instead of going through the motions of giving gifts at the end of the week to our friends at Niños con Valor and offering a generic thank you to all of the Tias for their work with the children, our team decided to hand-write individual thank you notes to each of the 19 Tias.  After a long day of work, our team members willingly gathered around the table at our guesthouse until midnight, reflecting on the distinct personalities of the Tias and specific ways that they love the children of NCV. As we distributed the gifts and notes to each Tia on our final day in Cochabamba, it was brought to our attention that no group had ever thanked each of the Tia’s individually. This gesture was deeply meaningful to them, and I’d like to think that our words and actions played a role in “refreshing workers” – which was one of the main objectives of the trip.

 Instead of grumbling about the illnesses that plagued our group from some uninvited friends (amoebas and parasites to name a few), I watched our team members support one another by offering healing prayer and taking multiple trips to the pharmacies to buy various medications. In addition, those who were afflicted with various health issues maintained positive attitudes and continued to offer ways they could help the team fulfill our mission.

These are just a few of many ways that our group demonstrated that they came to Bolivia not to be served but to serve.

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” – Hebrews 6:10

I praise God for each individual that he placed on this team and I know that the fruits of their labor will continue to bless our Bolivian friends.

~Kate L.

Keeping God before our Eyes

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Rhythms

We accomplish so many tasks during the day without thinking about them: getting up, brushing our teeth, getting kids ready for school, having seemingly meaningless conversations at work, trying to make it through the day so that we can get home. And then once we get home what should we make for dinner? And once we finally get kids to bed or watch our favorite show we snuggle into our own sheets and maybe for a brief moment this thought pops into our head: “what just happened today?” Our rhythms often betray our own survival mentality which lacks coherence or purpose. It is this question (What just happened?) which reminds us of the importance of taking a spiritual inventory of the moments of our days.

Sunday Sermon

Rev. Liz just preached a sermon today (August 13– see here) as part of the series on the Apostles’ Creed which focused on the phrase “…He will come to judge the living and the dead…” and in her sermon there is a helpful reminder that we need to live our days with the reminder that God is Holy. Yes, God in His mercy has paid for the sins of His people, and yet it is also true that time itself is a stewardship from God to be used to show His glory and love to the world. Each day invites us to turn from our past sins and to see Christ in the people we meet and moments we are given. However, many of us struggle to create healthy rhythms of life which redeem our daily moments and relationships that God puts in our path.

Small Group

In the Fall, there will be a Thursday evening small group for those interested in reexamining how they live the daily rhythms of their lives. It’s like the old hymn says “…take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.” We’ll will look at how this can be done. This small group will be a foundational piece of who we will become as Incarnation Anglican Church (the future Restoration church plant in south Arlington) and as such this small group will be hosted and led in south Arlington so that we discover how we can daily love Jesus more in our work, families, and in our neighborhoods in south Arlington. We would love for you have the opportunity to invest in south Arlington through this small group by signing up here once the registrations open up. Again, we will meet Thursdays from 7:30-9pm. You might be wondering more about what we will study….

Rule of St. Benedict

Unreflective survival is not a new difficulty in the history of God’s Church, so one of the ways that earlier saints have responded to this problem is by creating a rule for communal life. Maybe you are afraid that using the word “rule” sounds legalistic. However, a “rule of life” is not the same thing as setting up a bunch of arbitrary rules to measure someone’s spiritual prowess. A rule of life is a bit more flexible and has a well thought through goal. One such rule of life was created by St. Benedict of Nursia (480-547 CE) and can be read in English translation here. No other prayer rule has had more impact on English spirituality (which includes its influence on the Book of Common Prayer itself). St. Benedict desired that people be daily turned towards repentance and a love of God (even though his audience were monks in a monastery and under an abbot). He writes about roles, relationships, desires, prayer, eating, sleeping, conversation, and other aspects of community life in order to bring them together into a cohesive life of holiness in which someone turns to God in the daily relationships they have and moments they experience. He says in his prologue (v. 44), “…While there is yet time, while we are still in the flesh and are able to fulfill all these things by the light which is given us–we must run and perform now what will profit us for all eternity.” This brings us back to Rev. Liz’s sermon in which we are called to contemplate the ways in which God judges his peoples’ deeds. The rule written by St. Benedict has now been tested and found helpful by the Church for almost 1500 years and I believe it still helps us today to frame the ways in which we keep a healthy fear of God before our eyes daily. We are not cloistered monks living under an abbot, but many of us are neighbors and in small groups together and as such we are called to work together for the same goal.

Want to know more about St. Benedict before you sign up? Here’s a cool video:

 -Authored by Morgan Reed+

He has taken my little, and given me much

#RestoBolivia2 – Team reflections #1

Tu fe ha salvado; ve te en paz.

RestorationMission 2These are the words of Jesus as he blesses the woman who washed his feet with her tears. A simple sentence:

“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

These are the words of Jesus that have been on repeat (in Spanish and in English) since Sunday morning, after Laurel and Desiree shared testimonies and teaching with members of La Trinidad, the church here in Cochabamba. Words that carry blessing and hope.

I wasn’t ready for this trip. We’d put months of preparation in to it – some of us had literally been talking about this trip since we left Cochabamba last July. Plans were set – we knew who would be speaking – we knew who would be leading kids time – hours of prayer and encouragement and listening and learning were put into this trip. And still my heart was not quite ready. I was tired, struggling with some familiar voices of shame and the question of “has it been enough?”

Late Friday night I sent around an update for our prayer partners. I was exhausted after a full day of travel and little sleep, and in all honesty struggling to find words. But last night my words were re-read to me, and I realized that the prayer I’d written for our friends at La Trinidad was in many ways a prayer for myself: “that they will be able to enter into the next few days with ready hearts.”

Now, on the other side of the retreat, I am grateful for the ways God took my little and reminded me that he is enough. Our plans were used and changed and shared in ways that we didn’t always understand, but they did not return empty. So many of us were privileged to see many at La Trinidad share their stories in new and vulnerable ways. There was weeping and rejoicing, celebration and struggle.

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We also discovered that the Hanke family knows a thing or two about llamas

As we reflected on the story of the woman weeping at Jesus’ feet, I shared with our small group that as I imagined myself in her place, there was an overwhelming sense that the need for healing was greater than the weight of shame that could leave her (me) isolated and alone – that risking the judgment of the people watching was worth the relief that would come from Jesus’ grace.

 

This is my benediction: Your faith has saved you; go in peace

~Eva-Elizabeth

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