Small Group #8 – Tuesday AM Women’s Group… with Kellie Carwell & Leigh McAfee


As Small Groups launch this Sunday, we want to highlight some of the groups. In this post, Susan Gonzalez writes about her experience with Small Group #8 (led by Kellie Carwell & Leigh McAfee)

 “What have I learned from small group? 

I’m into community building.

I’m people oriented.

I like to laugh.

I am really into routines and consistency.

I’m a broken individual who seeks God’s love and mercy.

I am not a morning person.

It’s Monday night, I set my alarm for 5:15 a.m. I repeat, I’m not a morning person. I hit snooze once, usually twice, get-it-together and head out the door for my 6:30 a.m. small group at Kellie’s house. Upon my arrival, I’m always greeted by familiar sleepy faces, and I make my way to my usual place on the couch with a cup of tea in hand.

This is one of the few consistencies in my life full of crazy. It’s what grounds me, it’s what fills my heart and it’s what gives me the courage to be myself and face challenges in our ever-changing world. It’s the only sense of community I have had since moving to Arlington seven years ago. In a small group, we are known, we are loved and we are prayed for. It’s my tribe.”

Interested in this small group? Sign up here

Small Group #25 – Beautiful Mess: Motherhood for Every Moment…with Jenna Parkhurst

Beautiful Mess Image

As Small Groups are about to begin, we want to highlight a few of the new groups. Here is a description of SG #25, led by Jenna Parkhurst.

New Mom’s Small Group – Thursday @ 7 PM

Having a new baby is an amazing, exhausting, and a balancing act. As a new mom, you are pulled in many directions at the same time. Finding time for yourself, and for God, often is last on your to-do list. Join other new moms in finding balance, and reconnecting with yourself and God. We will spend time in fellowship, talking about concerns, celebrating mom successes, and looking at scripture through the bible study book Beautiful Mess: Motherhood for Every Moment.

Interested in this small group? Sign up here

Small Group #14 – The Divine Conspiracy…with Michael Wear

Divine Conspiracy Image

As Small Groups are about to begin, we want to highlight a few of the new groups. Here is a description of SG #14  by Michael Wear.

I was fifteen-years old when I became a Christian after reading Romans. Almost immediately, I became concerned with a simple question: what now? What does it look like to be a Christian in the here and now? What does it mean to be transformed into the likeness of Christ? How does this happen?

Though I might have answered these questions in the “right” way, I think I operated as though we were left to our own devices to follow Jesus. I think many of us do.

I first read Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy in 2010, and it helped to reinvigorate my faith with a vision of life in the kingdom of God now. I began to notice in scripture for the first time how God has made resources—how God has made Himself–available to us for this transforming work.

I saw it in Jesus’ prayer in John 17: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:1b-4).

The question “what now?” motivates much of the Christian life, and as we find answers in scripture, in prayer and in community, we can then ask God to help us respond. I am trying to ask that question every day, though I fall short, and respond as God would have me—I definitely fall short there.

What can help us in this walk of faith is to know that we’re traveling with others. This is part of the beauty of small groups here at Restoration: we do not struggle alone, we move forward in faith with a community of people who have declared fidelity to Christ and try to live that out with God’s help, asking for the help He has already promised us for that task.

Across Restoration this Spring trimester, we will express as a church once again our desire to see ourselves and our fellow congregants transformed further into the likeness of Christ. I am excited to walk through that book that impacted me so profoundly years ago, The Divine Conspiracy, with my small group. Together, we’ll consider Willard’s insights, reflect on scripture, spend time in prayer, ask “what now?,” and urge on another on as we think together about how God might be calling us to respond.

Oh, and I almost forgot: I’ll also cook Italian food for the group for dinner. That is going to be delicious.

I am looking forward to what God has in store for us this Spring, and thankful for the blessing of this wonderful community of people seeking God together.

Interested in this small group? Sign up here

Small Group #18 – New To Restoration Small Group


Are you (or “newish”) to Restoration? Are you curious about why we do the things we do? Then please join the New to Restoration Small Group (Group #18) this trimester. This is a great place to meet other folks in our congregation, and learn more about our church (our vision, values, priorities, connection to the Anglican church, etc.)  We will meet on Wednesday’s from 7:30-9 PM at the church (childcare is available).

– Nathan Dickerson

Small Group #12 – Discussing the Spiritual Classics


Deciding which Small Group to join? Perhaps this group is the one for youSmall Group #12

We will be reading Spiritual Classics, which looks at spiritual disciplines, such as meditation, prayer, study, solitude, service, confession, worship, etc. The book has excerpts from various classic Christian writers, including Simone Weil, Thomas More, Augustine, AW Tozer, George MacDonald. If you want to join us, please try to buy the book for the first meeting. We hope to see you there!

– Barb Bradley Hagerty, Elizabeth & Wray Fitch

SG #16 – Christianity Explored…with Michael & Jen Dodson


Continuing our series about new Small Groups options, here are a few words about from Michael & Jen Dodson, leaders of Small Group #16

Christianity Explored is a short course, using Mark’s gospel, to consider three questions:

(1) Who was Jesus? (2) What did he actually say and do? (3) Why does it matter?

The format is relational and conversational.  We’ll share a meal, have a short talk, and then enter into conversation. The course is not confessional i.e. no expectation of knowledge coming in; no expectation of commitment going out.

So why should you come?

(1) Religion for the sake of religion is not a worthy endeavor if the foundation is untrue.  God gives us the Bible and his Spirit so we can read and know first-hand that this thing is true.  We aren’t just making a plea to non-believers:  many Christians have never engaged with the source documents and allowed God to show them the truth of the gospel.  This is a safe place to question, engage and test for truth.

(2) Being ready and willing to speak and explain the gospel is hard for most people, even when someone is asking questions and clearly ready to have the conversation.  This course is an opportunity to bring those people along. People are often ready to come if you, their friend or co-worker, will invite and come with them.  Rarely will people come on their own if all you do is tell them about the course and give them an email address.

(3) If you have never sat down and worked through a book of the Bible, much less sat alongside someone else and worked through a book of the Bible with them, then you should come.  Mark is cohesive story, meant to elucidate true events.  It’s meant to be read in full, evaluated, wrestled with, questioned, and digested.  No PhD required: you just need to take the book seriously and be willing to ask serious questions.  We are going to do that, and once you’ve seen it done you can do it yourself.

That’s it.  No knowledge is expected.  We won’t pray or sing or ask anyone to read aloud.  You can ask any question you want. Come.  Bring friends.

Interested in joining this group? Sign up here


SG #30 – The Meaning of Marriage…with Ray & BJ Blunt


As Small Groups Sign-Up’s get started this fall, we wanted to tell you about a few of the options. Here are a few words from Ray Blunt, leader of small group #30

If there is any difficult but supremely rewarding challenge in life it is a long term marriage. Sure it’s tough, but by God’s grace and strength we come to realize that the goodness He intended for this relationship mirrors the eternal love dance of the Trinity. That is why we are offering this group for couples to gather together to examine the biblical and practical principles of marriage.

We will be reading and discussing Tim and Kathy Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage as a framework for looking at the reality of our own relationships – after the dust of the reception and the honeymoon have settled and life together has begun. If the past is prologue, there are lots of hilarious stories to share and lots of “I know what you mean” moments that will occur.

If you feel ready for a deeper and practical understanding of what Paul calls “a mystery,” please come join us in our home in Mount Vernon on Thursday evenings this fall at 7:30-9:00. You will find some kindred spirits to accompany you on the journey for a while.

  • Ray & B.J. Blunt

Interested in joining this group? Sign up here

Humble Boldness

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 11.43.26 AM

September 6, 2015 – Nathan Dickerson

James 2.1-10 : Psalm 4 : Mark 7.24-30

Listen to the songs here.

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