New Wineskins 2016 – coming soon!

Banner-1Every three years Anglicans in North America gather for an amazing conference: … and it’s coming up soon: April 7-10, 2016.

We would love to see a small team of people attending from Restoration. The Blaines will be there as well as many other folk we are encountering and working with globally. On the last day there will be an additional South East Asia Symposium which will be a wonderful opportunity to hear more about Cambodia and the Blaines (and where we can hoot and holler our support for them!)

Interested? Read more here, sign up and then let Liz know you are going so we can arrange accommodation and travel together! We do have some money available for scholarships as well.

Honestly? You won’t regret it! Join me!

~Liz

 

Embracing the Awkward for God’s Glory and my Own Good

LogoAwkward-620x363

I find much of Anglicanism to be awkward.

I was chatting with one of my coworkers yesterday about the word choices in the 1979 prayer book compared to the new ACNA liturgy (please don’t stop reading this if that sounds like a really boring conversation).  He mentioned that the response “and with your spirit” feels awkward.  I agreed.  He then contrasted it to “and also with you” which he thought felt more normal.  I thought about it, and I disagreed.  I find them both awkward.

A big part of my engagement with Anglicanism coming from an Evangelical background has been learning to pursue the beauty and truth in the words or actions that might at first feel awkward.

A couple years ago I was getting tired of the really old Eucharist liturgy that we were using during Lent (the one with all the “heartilies” and “oblations”), and the Lord gently corrected me through one of the men’s small group elders who that morning had intentionally read the old english Oswald Chambers’ daily reflection in order to get out of his own head.  I was convicted by his humility in his approach to God’s transforming his life.  He was not looking for the perfect fit for him.  He was looking for something that would reshape his soul by pushing against the resistance in his heart.

I don’t kneel out of physical comfort.  I don’t take a sip from the chalice to quench physical thirst.  I don’t always sing out of wanting to.  I don’t respond with “and with your spirit” as if I think it’s the perfect personal response.  I don’t raise my hands during the Collect for Purity as if they’re just itching to be above my head.  These are ways that I command my soul, my heart, my mind, and my body to bless the Lord.

I am thankful that these Anglican forms of worship have been forming me.  And I exhort you to revisit the kneeling, the clunky phrases, the bread and wine, the hand raising, and other strange acts in order to let them more intentionally shape your posture before the Lord.  To Him be all glory and honor forever and ever.

– Matt

Glen Packium with Rooted Network has written a quick and extremely practical blog on the physicality of worship.  I invite you to check it out.

Save the date: Jesse’s getting ordained!

12032050_10153065377216524_1314446579450099677_n

The Ven. Tak Meng, Dean of Cambodia, Revd Stephen Seah, Adelai, Sarah, Clara and Jesse Blaine,  Bishop Rennis Ponniah and Gregory Whittaker, Rector of Church of Christ our Peace

Save the date!

When? 7.30pm THURSDAY Oct 22, 2015

Why? Jesse Blaine’s Ordination to the Transitional Diaconate

Where? Restoration Anglican Church

After party? Sure… come along and we’ll tell you where!

So who is Jesse Blaine?IMG_2772

Jesse and Sarah Blaine have been members of Restoration since the beginning of time… well, at least as long as Restoration has been around … and they are now living and working in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with their two delightful daughters. Read all about them here!

Whilst working for World Orphans and Children in Families in Phnom Penh, Jesse has also been very involved with Church of Christ our Peace, studying for his M.A., and putting in time as a father of two,  and husband to Sarah,  and a friend to many AND simultaneously pursuing a call to ordination which has involved a long and sometimes arduous process (see below) – but to a very good end!

At last (phew!)  the has arrived at the day when he will be ordained: initially to the transitional diaconate, and then, we hope, pray and trust, in ~6-12 months, to the presbytery (i.e. to become a Priest).

So come on by on the 22nd – and pray for this good man to walk into all the ministry opportunities that God has in store.

Come and pray for him to make many friends among the Khmer people.

Come and pray for him and his family, as they dream about planting a church in an area of Phnom Penh near the universities.

And, if you sense you are hearing a call to ministry – come and join in the service of ordination and pray for guidance … and if you remain curious about the process… read on!

So how does the ordination process work at Restoration and in our Diocese?

It all begins when an applicant senses a call to ministry; they then have an initial conversation with Liz Gray (Associate Rector with oversight of all applicants), the Rector and Vestry must also approve, and then an application to the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic (DOMA) would follow.

Liz then works with the applicant to set up a discernment team of 5-7 people who will pray and question and help to work with the candidate over a period of months as to whether they really are hearing a call from God to go down the road to ordination. The path from here on is a rigorous one, and you can read the details here. Suffice to say, nobody is ordained lightly! Not only are we, as the candidate’s home parish, deeply involved, but so is DOMA – the ordination committee has a vital role to play, as does the standing committee – and the Bishop works hard to ensure that all are playing their part to ensure that only those who are truly called by God continue down the path.

The journey always involves study, normally an M Div, as well as studies in Anglicanism, much prayer and thoughtful reflection; as well as multiple check -ins at different points with both Liz and the DOMA examining chaplains and ordination committee.

At different points the aspirant becomes a candidate, then a postulant and finally a deacon (transitional or vocational), before the final hurdles are leapt and ordination to the presbytery (oh, wow, Anglican’s love words….)

At the moment we have three candidates in our church (one preparing for a discernment team,  two awaiting the ordination committee) and one postulant (Morgan Reed). They would all love you to pray for them.

Want to know more? Feel free to reach out to me, and if you would like to support our candidates in any way please let me know!

~Liz

Contending for Shalom

I am sitting in IAH–  the Houston airport–  waiting for a flight to Austin.  I have been asked to serve on the steering committee for a conference in February 2016 called The Anglican Justice Gathering:  contending for shalom.  I am joined by my good friends Cliff and Christine Warner, Bill Haley, and Sami DiPasquale.

We are meeting to pray, talk, and build out this purpose statement for our time next February:

The purpose of this gathering is to identify those in the ACNA who would like to be part of this conversation, gather them together, consider together our unique contribution to the Kingdom of God in our North American context as Anglicans, dream together, pray together, and begin discerning together how the Lord might be leading our denomination to engage the systemic brokenness of our country.

It is a conversation that is always close to my heart and one that is increasingly a part of our life together at Restoration.  As we take concrete steps to provide immigration legal aid; as we partner in the good work of Casa Chirilagua;  as we pray and give and contend for the end of human trafficking; as we think about how to leverage our pastoral staff for building of God’s Kingdom in places like Phnom Penh and West Asia.  We are beginning to grow as a church that contends for shalom.  And we have so much more that we could do.

11935001_10207850256235363_1087548116625709790_n

Last week, I had the immense privilege to participate in a different conversation that was also contending for shalom.  13 men and women from places like Minnesota, Florida, Atlanta, and Washington DC gathered to talk about America’s original sin:  chattel slavery and the trafficking of Africans for economic gain.  We were almost evenly divided between white and black.  We considered how to name the awful legacy of racial oppression in the US for the past 375 years in various forms and to recognize the ongoing effects in the black community.  We mourned the general lack of recognitioin, awareness, and ownership of this reality in the white Christian community.  We considered concrete ways the white Christian community might be able to make a meaningful statement recognizing this reality and the ongoing injustice across racial lines.  We talked about reparations.

In the middle of our day, we walked to a slave cemetery that is on the property of Corhaven.  It had been neglected for 150 years and just recently Bill and Tara Haley had begun the work of cleaning and restoring it. 

11988506_10153459375725901_4953298771781337247_n

On this day, we went to remember the lives of those buried there and to repent of the evil conditions in which they lived.  As we looked walked amongst the grave stones, depressions, and vegetation, there was a sweet, soft breeze.  It was very comfortable.

One of our fellow conversationalists lead us into prayer by telling us the story of Israel being delivered out of slavery from Egypt.  That story begins with God telling Moses to take off his shoes because he is standing on holy ground.  Max, our prayer leader, invited us to take off our shoes before we started praying.  

Inwardly I groaned.  I was wearing boots.  We were standing in the woods.  I didn’t want my feet to get dirty.

And as I was thinking those things, Max added, “It’s time to get uncomfortable.”  I agreed. 

Standing in bare feet, in crisp leaves, broken sticks, and broken rocks, Max talked through the story of the Seder and the Passover and all the experiential elements that God provided for Israel to remember that they were delivered from slavery.

Then Bill told the story of spending a day clearing brush from the cemetery, piling it up, and burning it.  And how– INCREDIBLY-  a stump that was 30 feet away from the fire started to smoke and then burst into flames.  Seemingly by itself.  As if something was spiritually being released.

David, a black man from Richmond, was the first to pray.  As he started, I could hear what sounded like wind increasing in the distance, but I soon realized that it was approaching rain.  We were holding hands, standing barefoot, praying in the woods in the midst of slave graves and it started to rain—  gently.  David started to cry as he gave thanks for the lives of these men, women, and children and as he mourned the reality of their lives—  that they had to be buried at midnight because their masters would not give them time to do it during the day.  As David closed and others began to pray, the rain increased.  We were soon soaked.  Normally, etiquette would require ending the prayer and getting to shelter.  But there was an unspoken agreement that God was doing something profound:  

  • He didn’t want us to forget this conversation and these prayers so he was giving us a tangible reminder.
  • He was demonstrating his tears over this evil institution
  • He was washing us in our repentance.
  • And a deeply tangible sense that through fire and rain, God was saying, I am with you in this.  Keep going.

Yes.

Here is the incredible part.  As we finished praying, the rain stopped.  A specific grace for a specific task.  We walked back to our meeting room in sunlight and heat that dried our wet shirts and pants.  What a day. 

The conversation will continue.  God is with us in it.

Contending for shalom.  I love that Restoration is beginning to figure out the unique ways it will be part of God’s Kingdom work for justice.  I hope you are listening, making space, and asking how your gifts and talents will be used in this work as well.

Time to get on my plane.

-David

Ascension Day

Songs_of_Innocence_and_of_Experience,_copy_F,_object_38_-HOLY_THURSDAY-And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,  and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11 ESV)

Forty days after Easter we remember Christ’s ascension into heaven – with his promise that he would send the Holy Spirit. And so today marks the end of Eastertide, we extinguish the paschal candle and  we wait in eager anticipation to celebrate Pentecost on May 24.

As I thought about the ascension and looked for poetry that would help me pray, I came across the William Blake poem ‘Holy Thursday’ (from his Songs of Innocence and Experience) which tied in so well with  this season where we are exploring the ‘Justice and generosity of God’. An expressive reminder that we are in the ‘now and the not yet’ of the Kingdom of God.

And so today, we pray with gratitude and expectation this collect (BCP, 226)

Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ
ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things:
Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his
promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end
of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory
everlasting. Amen.

 

~Liz

 

 

Why Cambodia?

4wIA9hYMDIZ3z83KMmb6ABgFR4y5jGM29N-wwQFEpkU,InH3IZUcnPRKP1mmJKx7Iu5JC44NAXkdl7uUxs33AUw,c6KeV4HT9fTIX6qJeuVO3MiC-UDURkMnsex6sZHejaQChurch of Christ our Peace (CCOP) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia is the Anglican church where Restoration missionaries Jesse and Sarah Blaine and their girls worship. Every year during Easter week at Restoration we follow a regular discipline of giving away the offerings to an overseas partner, and this year we are delighted to be able to give to CCOP.

They have grown rapidly in the last year since Gregory Whitaker took up the reins as the International congregation Pastor under the leadership of the Rev Tit Heing (the Khmer Senior Pastor) and are entering into a time of demolishing their old – far too small – building and re-building something more appropriate to their growing size, with facilities for the services and programs they look forward to offering their local communities.

SXnsBhT-HKtfj17LEEfLCpQuc60kINAN_gXBzSH_JXg,AGrwvddzgBsnIXU2rucu5Q1RR7vVXWaNkXuF0U2Xfg8Restoration is just emerging from that process, so it’s wonderful to be able to support them financially and with prayer as they worship in various temporary locations, as they work out interim solutions to being without a base and as they continue to reach out to their neighbors and friends with the truth of the gospel. We know how it feels to be homeless!

In addition, this summer, Restoration is sending our second team (pic. at the top is of the glorious Nov 2014 team) to Cambodia who will be serving in two ways. The first half of the team (David Hanke, Liz Gray, Matthew and Kelley Spainhour) will be leading a prayer training for all the Khmer Anglican pastors from June 30 – July 3. David will then head home and the rest of the team (Brent Jones, Caitlin Staples, Regan and Christine Wilson, Mike and Jen Dodson, Bev Westergren, Matthew Lowery) will arrive July 6; for the next week we will be doing a mixture of prayer walking, visiting projects and running a VBS for the International congregation.

So – how can you support the team?

Please consider:

  • praying: would you like regular prayer updates? Send your name and email to Liz to get on the list
  • joining the Cambodia small group Tri 2: as we pray, prepare and learn about Cambodia
  • supporting the team financially: it’s a long way to Cambodia and each team member needs to raise $2,500 for their flight and on ground expenses. Feel free to give via CCB or check (memo:Cambodia 15/name of person).
  • asking questions: do reach out to team members and ask them why they are going, invite them for dinner when they get back and listen to their stories and let your heart expand for the work God is doing among the Khmer and Internationals in Cambodia.

Any questions? Ask Liz!

~Liz Gray

Going deeper

confirmation picWe’ve just begun a new year, a time where we pause to take stock of our lives.  If you’ve been reflecting on where you are in your growth as a follower of Jesus, maybe you feel like there are some ways you could go deeper in your understanding of what our faith teaches.  Maybe you have questions like:

  • Does it really make sense to believe that there is one God but with three “persons”?
  • I keep hearing about the Book of Common Prayer, but I don’t really know why we use it and it seems intimidating.
  • Why do we baptize babies who have no idea what they believe?
  • What do I say when people ask me why I would be part of a church that was started by some king (Henry VIII) who really just wanted a divorce (I would offer you a slightly different interpretation of the history)?

If these kinds of questions have been on your mind, then I’d love to invite you to be part of the small group that I’ll be leading starting on January 22.   We’ll explore the basics of our faith like the trinity, scripture, prayer, the origin of our creeds, and the history of the Anglican Church.  Some of our time will involve learning new information, and we’ll also spend time praying for and supporting each other in understanding what these concepts mean for our lives.

This small group will also serve as preparation for confirmation.  If you’re wondering what that is, the simple answer is that it is a rite in which a baptized Christian makes a public declaration of his/her faith.  Whether you were baptized as a child or an adult, confirmation is an important step in the Christian life when you reaffirm that you intend to follow Christ in the context of our church community.  There is a time of preparation (my small group – did I mention you should join it?), after which the bishop comes and lays his hands on you to pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and to signify that you are part of a church that extends far beyond Restoration.

If you would like to be confirmed, you must be part of this small group.  But the small group is open to everyone, whether or not you’re interested in confirmation.  We’ll meet on Thursday nights, 7:30-9pm, at my house in Cherrydale.

You can sign up on the church website this Sunday, when registration for Tri1 small groups begins.  Feel free to let me know if you have any questions (clay@restorationarlington.org).  I look forward to getting to know you and exploring the beauty of our faith together.

Clay

 

 

 

Clean Water for Advent

 

Looking for a way to give this Advent? The Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ARDF) is working to provide clean water to rural communities in Burundi and you can get alongside them.

What is the Anglican Relief and Development Fund?

Anglican Church and School, Diocese of Ho, Ghana

Anglican Church and School, Diocese of Ho, Ghana

ARDF partners with the global church to meet the needs of the poor. The local church both proposes and takes responsibility for projects, and we support the church with due diligence and funding the projects. The local church knows the needs in the community and builds relationships in the community while meeting practical needs.

Current Project: Living Water            This Advent, ARDF  is offering us the opportunity to help provide clean water to communities in Burundi in Central Africa. This project provides sanitation structures around existing springs, the only source of clean water in the communities. Could we sponsor one of the forty-two wells in the project? During the Advent Season, we aim to raise $1300, the cost of one site. This is a great opportunity for people at Restoration to partner with the local church in Burundi to meet a practical need as a tangible expression of God’s love.

Those of you who have been on Restoration’s West Virginia trip know that Jeff Sickler, who leads Appalachian Community Care, emphasizes connecting with people over executing a building project. Likewise, ARDF realizes that more important than a development project are relationships within the church and its role in the local community.

Let’s give together this Advent.  Come for dinner on Tuesday, November 18th at 7:30pm  and learn more: 6219 18th Rd N, Arlington, VA 22205. Contact John Westbrook at john.westbrook@gmail.com with questions.

 

Receive the work of our hands

On Saturday, September 20, we consecrated our new building.  We welcomed Bishop John Guernsey,  The Reverend John Yates who preached, clergy from our diocese who came to offer their support, Kenny Sieber who was our job superintendent, Charles Sinclair who was the former pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, and David Hunter who works for Arlington County.  I was so grateful that they would come and that we would have an opportunity to thank them for the significant roles that each of them played in the dream, design, and construction of our building.

My favorite part of the service was an intentional time to pray over each of the building ‘spaces’.  We asked God to fill them with His Holy Spirit and to set them a part for the work that we have been dreaming He will do.  It was significant for me to imagine kids growing up in our small group rooms, and people gathering for snacks, and our staff laboring to serve those in and outside our church, and people sitting in our pews worshiping and giving thanks to God.

So, I wanted to share that part with you.  Matt Hoppe created a constellation of images for each space.  I wrote a prayer that was prayed by the Bishop and then the congregation prayed a collect from the Book of Common Prayer.  As you think about our church settling in to this building, I invite you to pray over each space.  We need to be praying for our church.  May these images and prayers be a place for you to start.  

-David

(If you click on the image, it will shift to full screen and you can see all of the fun detail!)

Receive the work of our hands in this place, now to be set apart for your worship, the building up of the living, and the remembrance of the dead, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Sanctuary

Sanctuary

Bishop: Everliving Father, watchful and caring, our source and our end: All that we are and all that we have is yours. Accept us now, as we dedicate this place to which we come to praise your Name, to ask your forgiveness, to know your healing power, to hear your Word, and to be nourished by the Body and Blood of your Son. Be present always to guide and to judge, to illumine and to bless your people.

Kids’ Small Group Rooms

Kids'SmallGroup

Bishop: Father in heaven, thank you for a place to disciple children. Fill those rooms with the presence of your Holy Spirit and lead them into the knowledge and obedience of your Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Bishop: Praise the Lord, you children of the Lord:

People: Praise the Name of the Lord.

People: Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Fellowship Hall

Fellowship Hall

Bishop: Father in heaven, thank you for the fellowship hall and a hospitable place to welcome the stranger. Fill that room with the presence of your Holy Spirit and let conversation lead to conversion and friendship, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Bishop: Above everything, love one another earnestly:

People: For love covers many sins.

People: Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Office and Mezzanine

Offices

Bishop: Father in heaven, thank you for a place where staff and leaders can gather to work. Fill that space with the presence of your Holy Spirit and turn labor into love for your Gospel and your people, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Bishop: Prosper, O Lord, the work of our hands:

People: Prosper our handiwork.

People: Almighty and everlasting God, from whom comes every good and perfect gift: Send down upon our clergy, and staff, and upon our congregation committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of they grace; and, that they may truly please you, pour upon them the continual dew of your blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Chancel for Musical Worship

Chancel for Musical Worship

Bishop: Father in heaven, thank you for voices and instruments that help us express the wonder of your creation and the grace of your Gospel through the songs we sing. Be enthroned upon the praises of your people for the glory of your Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Bishop: Praise him with the sound of the trumpet;

People: Praise him with strings and pipe.

People: O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Chancel for Proclaiming the Gospel

Chancel for Proclaiming

Bishop: Father in heaven, thank you for your Holy Scriptures and this place to proclaim the truth of the Gospel. By the Holy Spirit, empower your Word and those who preach it. Give us ears to hear and hearts to follow through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Bishop: May the words of our mouth, and the meditation of our heart,

People: Be acceptable to you, O Lord our God.

People: Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Bolivia team returns….

photo-2From July 5 to 11, 2014, six persons from Restoration (Endel Liias, Kate Raymond, and the Wallin family) joined with 14 members of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Boston on a mission trip to Cochabamba, Bolivia.  The purpose of the trip was twofold:  (1) To learn about Niños con Valor (NCV) and engage with the children and staff in the three group homes for children it oversees and (2) to explore a possible relationship and provide practical help to La Trinidad, a local Anglican church.  Endel Liias, a Restoration vestry member, is a founder and board member of NCV. photo-1

Preparation for this trip occurred during the Tri2 Bolivia Small Group, when we learned about Bolivia and its culture as well as struggles (it is the poorest country in South America) and began considering opportunities for RAC to connect with Bolivians and other Latinos in our area.

The trip to Bolivia provided a wealth of opportunities to serve, learn, and grow.  The tightly packed, well organized schedule included several sessions of activities and relationship-building with the children, maintenance projects at the NCV homes and La Trinidad, two large gatherings at parks, and a “reality tour” of three orphanages in the city.  We traveled on a “Partridge Family” bus to activities, and each day brought multiple new experiences to both bless and challenge our team.  Endel was our group leader with the assistance of several members from Christ the Redeemer.  Kate and Mitch gave a talk to La Trinidad leaders and other childcare workers on basic first aid.  Susie, Evan, and Carson showed the NCV boys how to build LEGO cars and the girls how to make rubber band bracelets.  Making kites, painting, and playing soccer were loved by all the children.  In between were meals and fellowship at NCV group homes, times of reflection, and singing and prayer with the 20 mission team members.photo-3

We worshiped at La Trinidad, which has a similar service structure to RAC (except in Spanish) and met with Rector Tammy Firestone, her husband, and other church leaders.  We learned several things from them:  (1) They are currently focusing on discipleship, (2) they are interested in planting a church themselves, and (3) they are in great need of children’s ministry support, especially in light of the fact that the NCV children have recently begun attending La Trinidad.

We look forward to discussing and sharing our trip with others at RAC in the coming weeks.  God is working in Bolivia through the Anglican church and NCV.  We are praying and dreaming for potential next steps as God leads.

-Mitch, Susie, Endel, Kate

Page 2 of 512345
© Copyright Restoration Anglican Church