Reflection on Multi-Ethnic Unity

15895181731_27781e34d0_bI woke up at 5am on Nov. 23, 2006 to the sounds of my dad’s footsteps and something being dragged into the kitchen. Rising from my bed, I opened my door, peered out, and saw the small television under his arm. It occurred to me that it was Thanksgiving! This day each year my dad got up early, set up the television in the kitchen and we would watch the parade while cutting apples and walnuts for stuffing, preparing the gravy, and stuffing the turkey in preparation for a family feast. Family would come from all over Sonoma County and Lake County to gorge themselves at 2 o’clock in the afternoon – a strange, yet wonderful tradition. It was the one time during the year in which each disparate part of the family united to share a meal and recount the memories of what had happened over the last year.

The 5am ritual happened one final time for me in 2006 because the next year I would move to Chicago and since then Thanksgiving has looked a little different every year. Ashley and I moved to Arlington in 2012, and having gotten to know a few of our neighbors, we threw our first “friends-giving” in our apartment in South Arlington. The best part of friends-giving was that each person contributed their absolute best recipe: the best pumpkin pie, the best turkey, the best stuffing, the best sweet potato casserole. And as we sat and ate, we shared stories of Thanksgivings from our family traditions growing up. Each local custom had its own beautiful particularities and yet each person’s custom would have felt foreign to recreate in its entirety for this current table (for example, we ate at 4pm rather than my 2pm tradition). This new table had a new family-like quality which provided a new way of relating to one another individually even after these friends would leave our table. The act of taking disparate families, united around food and thankfulness, displays in a small way the conversation which happened last weekend.

Retreat

Last weekend, Restoration Anglican Church had its fall retreat at Massanetta Springs, where Joe Ho (National Director for Asian American Ministries for InterVarsity) spoke the Gospel’s message of reconciliation not only between God and humanity but between various groups of humanity. He demonstrated how God had scattered humanity in Genesis 11 because of their collective desire to join for the sake of their own pride-of-name and for their own security. He called us from Ephesians 2 to be reconciled with God and with one another. The implication is that we are good at proclaiming reconciliation with God, but that in many ways, the Church must repent of the ways in which she fails to be reconciled one to another. This weekend was a helpful link in the chain of conversation regarding reconciliation that Restoration has already begun. One of Joe’s major contributions to this ongoing discussion was to raise an important question for us to consider: What does it mean for us to pursue substantive multi-ethnic unity?

On Sunday we celebrated the Eucharist together and one line of the liturgy captivated my heart and imagination. We pray with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven (a vertical relationship), but during the prayer of consecration, the priest prays, “…After he ascended to your right hand in glory, you sent your Holy Spirit, that we might become your holy people.” (a horizontal relationship). This is a reference to Acts 2, where the Holy Spirit being given is presented as an undoing of Babel. This act of giving thanks (which is what the word ‘eucharist’ means) and partaking of the body and blood of Christ is a physical, spiritual, and political act. According to 1 Pet. 2:9 God has constituted a new people, a new priesthood, a new nation (Gk. ethnos, where we get the word “ethnicity”) who belong to God and bring praises to Him who called them from darkness to light.

Questions to consider

Living Diversity: The Arlington Photographic Documentary Projectbook cover & interior

Living Diversity: The Arlington Photographic Documentary Project

People enter the one body of Christ with its one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, and yet their entry does not dissolve their personal distinctiveness. Restoration reflects part of the catholic tradition of the Church (through time and across ethno-linguistic boundaries) in several important ways: we have a liturgy that moves from repentance to praise, we have a Bishop, we are creedal, and we are sacramental. And yet there are many ways in which Restoration has a local culture: type of music, manner of preaching, food, technology, etc.

Joe’s talks bid us to be self-aware of our local custom. As Christians we should always embrace what is catholic (i.e. universal), and yet we should also love what is local (and appreciate it as being local). This is a commitment to prioritizing our new-ethnos as citizens of the kingdom over our ethnoi/nations on earth (however we want to define this). If a parish should take its local customs (which might be good and helpful) and mistakenly believe them to be catholic, the parish runs the risk of colonizing our brothers and sisters in Christ who have other good and helpful local customs. All of us who are in Christ are called to be agents of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:16-21), but maybe we don’t know what this looks like.

Above all, Joe’s talks encouraged me to adopt a posture of  listening with frequent repentance. Substantive multi-ethnic unity can happen only with repentance and the cultivation of self-awareness (which involves a listening posture). Diversity and unity have been a major part of the discussion surrounding Incarnation Anglican Church (the church plant in South Arlington) since the very beginning. Columbia Pike is so diverse that a book exists highlighting its diversity, and therefore we are asking the Holy Spirit what unity will look like in South Arlington. One of the podcasts I have found most helpful has been Truth’s Table (though let me know if you find others as well), which has stretched me in my own thinking and has given some solid, practical ways to build substantive unity–the unity to which I am called each week in the Eucharist.

Time with friends around the friends-giving table gave each person an opportunity to share snippets of his or her local custom, creating a new community around a table built of various different stories. Each contribution was good, helpful and fun! And each person’s contribution added to this new experience of being around the table. Powerful discussion happens when we meet together frequently, eat together, pray together, worship together, and most importantly, listen to one another. The Church, being fed on the body of Christ, participates each week in the very physical, spiritual, and political act where we remind ourselves frequently that we (the Church across time and ethno-linguist boundaries) are one new nation, a royal priesthood, created to praise Him who has called us from darkness to His glorious light.

-Fr. Morgan Reed, Church Planter for Incarnation Anglican Church

Incarnation Anglican: The Tiny Way

2017-09-07 21.14.58My family lives along Columbia Pike in South Arlington. When I walk to CVS, I hear dozens of languages being spoken and see women in burqas, men in shalwar kameez, and little girls with shaved heads.  When I take my kids to the playground after dinner, I find myself talking to parents from Afghanistan, Bolivia, Bangladesh, and Eritrea. I watch dads playing pick-up soccer games in empty lots, cheered on by their kids. I chat with lifelong South Arlingtonians who are proud of this area’s history and are uncertain about its future. I can buy fresh injera with my Big Gulp from the 7-Eleven on the corner. On Fridays, I watch women in headscarves stream through the neighborhood, pushing their strollers toward one of South Arlington’s three mosques (one Bangladeshi, one Somali, one Moroccan).

Though it’s just a few miles from Restoration, my neighborhood can feel like a different world. And yet, just like Restoration’s neighborhood, it is full of people who are struggling to make life work in an expensive suburb of DC; people who are lonely and longing for friendships; people who want the best for their kids; people who are spiritually hungry and curious about Jesus. And thus, Restoration is planting a new church community among my neighbors called Incarnation Anglican Church, and I’m humbled and excited to join Liz Gray and Morgan Reed in this work.

I love this neighborhood. My husband and I have always dreamed of living cross-culturally.  My children are flexible and adventurous and can roll with the occasional late night playing by streetlight with neighbors. Our neighborhood suits us. But it also keeps us perpetually off-kilter. I often find myself the only native English speaker or the only white person in a given place. I encounter mental illness on the street corner. I engage in awkward, broken conversations and I laugh too loudly at things I’m not entirely certain are jokes. Artisanal coffee is nowhere in sight, though I dare you to find a better salteña.

This place stretches me. Its unfamiliarity reminds me in a tiny way what it is to feel not quite at home, even in my own neighborhood, language, and skin; something many of my neighbors feel every day.  As such, I have made it a sort of spiritual discipline to walk places I would normally drive; to talk to people I would normally avoid; to cross the street when I feel like hiding in my house; and to shop in places where I frequently misread the cultural cues. It is a tiny way of laying down my cultural competency and my comfort so that I can learn more fully what it means to love my neighbor, to listen and observe and wait and be dependent. And goodness, it drives me to prayer like nothing else.

It is these tiny, daily acts in my neighborhood that make me most excited about what Incarnation could become. What would it look like to form a community willing to engage in small acts of discomfort so that we can love our neighbors better? What would it look like to worship with people who keep each other perpetually off-kilter? What would it look like to form a community in which the only shared culture is that of the kingdom of God? How can our tiny, slow, awkward work of sharing Jesus with our neighbors lead us deeper into worship, deeper in dependence on the Spirit, deeper into the reality of the upside-down kingdom? I am watching God slowly begin to answer those questions in my neighborhood. In the meantime, I’ll keep laughing at the wrong moments and eating salteñas with abandon.

2017-09-07 21.56.19
Want to hear more about Incarnation? Email me, Morgan, or Liz. We’d love to grab a cup of coffee and chat!

liz@incarnationanglican.org

morgan@incarnationanglican.org

amy@incarnationanglican.org

 

 

 

Keeping God before our Eyes

Benedict

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+

Incarnation … curious?

19225076_10155001833148600_7716981644433032854_nHopefully it is no secret to you by now that Restoration Anglican Church has begun the process of planting a new community in south Arlington! Incarnation Anglican (this new church plant) will be spending quality time together over the summer playing and praying. We’d love for you to join us for some of the events that are happening over the next several months.

We want you to know what things will be happening, so here are a few ways to stay informed:

Google Calendar

Below you will find our calendar embedded (this will eventually be embedded on our website). You can subscribe below to our calendar:

Google Group

We regularly send out info about events and ways that you can be praying for Incarnation Anglican. If you would like to receive these emails let us know here.

Facebook and Website

Like us on Facebook. We will be using Facebook to post pics and discuss informal get togethers. We have not fully designed our website, but stay tuned, it’s coming….

~Morgan, Liz and Amy

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

Incarnation Anglican

unspecifiedAbout 10 days ago we had our first ‘Interested in South Arlington’ evening. It was a lovely time. 35 people came and we talked about South Arlington, Restoration and the strategic plan; the what and why and some of the how of a church plant.  We announced that this new worshipping community is going to be called ‘Incarnation Anglican’.

So let’s start there – why ‘Incarnation’? Well, to be honest, it’s how God finally wooed me to saying ‘yes’ to leading this whole crazy adventure! I was praying one day and he dropped the idea into my brain – and my excitement level rose perceptibly! Why? One of my favorite Bible accounts is Luke 8:43–48 where Jesus heals a hemorrhaging woman with his ’contagious holiness’. She reaches out and touches the hem of his garment and is instantly healed. He then turns around and ensures that her healing is not just physical but social and relational and emotional as well. God in flesh ‘incarnate’ bringing wholeness.

Touching Jesus brings healing. And hope. And fullness. And an encounter with the Holy Spirit. And forgiveness. And life. And as we are called to be the people of God, we are called to be ones who help others to encounter Jesus and his amazing contagious holiness. Jesus touched people who were ‘unclean’ in that culture, and yet they became ‘clean’ rather than him being contaminated. This is our dream – to head into a part of town where people are perhaps not aware that they are looking for Jesus, but are aware of their own brokenness.bus stop

We will go and pray and talk to people at bus stops and in coffee shops. We will look for opportunities to chat and drink tea. We will search out corners of South Arlington where there are people who have struggled with ‘internal bleeding for 12 years’and who know they need answers. We will keep our eyes open for men and women ‘of peace’ (Luke 10.6) who are ready to hear about Jesus. We want to help people see that the incarnate Christ is in their midst and all they need to do is reach out and touch him.

We are glad to be Anglican. There is much to be delighted about: our liturgy brings a sense of history, permanence, and tradition; the delight in beauty brings a sense of the transcendence of God; being Anglican brings a reminder that we are part of an historic, global church, reaching all nations; and so much more…20170222_112820 (1)

Do you live in South Arlington? Or might you move there? Do you have a heart for the nations (108 languages are spoken along Columbia Pike!)?

The Incarnation core team comprises Liz Gray, Morgan Reed and Amy Rowe. If you want to learn more, do reach out to one of us, we’d love to tell you more. After Easter there will be an ‘Interested in Incarnation’ small group – sign up, come and help us pray as we refine our vision and begin to plan our next steps. Come even if you are just curious! We will also be arranging prayer walks, ‘compline in the park’, and other events over the next months… all are invited!

Whether or not you are interested in joining Incarnation, please pray for the team, and for this tiny seedling plant: for ideas, inspiration and most of all for God’s favor (and a place to worship!). Send us an e-mail if you’d like to be kept in the loop.

Rev. Liz Gray, liz@incarnationanglican.org

Rev. Morgan Reed, morgan@incarnationanglican.org

Amy Rowe, amy@incarnationanglican.org

Exciting News about Something New in South Arlington

something new

Dear Restoration,

The last few months have been some of the most interesting and exciting that I have experienced as rector.  It is very clear to me that God is moving among us: raising up new leaders, inspiring new ideas, motivating us to try new things.  Every week, I talk with outstanding volunteers and staff who are ‘trying stuff’ in an effort to shrink the distance that people have to travel to hear the Gospel.  It is a season of immense creativity.

THANK YOU for your feedback and responses about our proposed church planting strategy.  You wrote helpful things in our survey, you shared helpful emotions and insights in your small groups, and you prayed for help—  for wisdom and discernment.  Each day it becomes more and more clear to me that God is leading us and our church is willing to follow.

Three weeks ago, our vestry gathered for a 24 hour prayer and planning retreat.  We had illuminating discussions about Mark 6, we spent 2 hours alone in listening prayer, we read and gave thanks for every response to our survey, and we discerned the immediate next steps to which God is calling Restoration.  I have attached a brief summary of our discussion.  Overall, the vestry is really excited that Restoration is excited about church planting.  As a vestry we are unified in our conviction that God is calling us to prioritize church planting in this next season of our life together. 

As we left the vestry retreat, we were united around 3 priorities that will guide our next steps: 

  1. Our highest and most immediate priority is to hire a church plant resident who will join our staff team in Summer 2017 and aim to plant a church in Montgomery County in 2019.  There is a hiring team already in place that is working on recruiting candidates.  You can find the position description here.  Feel free share with your networks.  We are casting a wide net.
  2. Our second priority is to bolster our staff capacity for the work God is doing on Quincy street, specifically among kids and in our operations.  We are working on the creation of job descriptions and creating budget space to consider hiring in the next 6-8 months. 
  3. Thirdly, we discerned from your feedback and our listening prayer that it would be wise to lengthen the launch window on the idea of of whether or how the parish community model of church planting would work.  We were encouraged that there is motivation to look at areas inside the beltway for new, neighborhood churches.  We agreed together that instead of trying to launch a second parish site in September of 2017, we would keep talking and praying and planning for a potential launch in 2018. 

The vestry left our retreat feeling unified and encouraged.  God clearly met us and directed our conversations.

Over the last three weeks, God has continued to lead and direct. More clarity has emerged and I have an exciting announcement to make!  Liz Gray is saying yes to a call from God to lead a new congregation in South Arlington. She and Simon have been in prayer and talking with wise counsel and this is an opportunity that brings them great hope and excitement. The process for this church plant will be a little different from the recent ‘parish model’ that we suggested in the Church Plant Strategy Document and the expectation is that this community will have a distinct vision of its own.  We are excited to see how God will raise up a group of people who feel called to leave Restoration for the purpose of worshiping in South Arlington under Liz’s leadership.

I am so proud of Liz.  It has been one of my life’s great joys to watch her answer a call to ordination, to complete seminary, and to become a priest.  I love the way she has shaped Restoration and that so many people come to our church—  ‘because Liz is a priest here.’  Consequently, it feels so good and right and Kingdom-minded and Gospel-oriented and trusting of God’s leadership to send her and a team of people to South Arlington.  It is right because by sending Liz, it means we are sending our very best.  We are sending part of our heart.  I realize this leave-taking brings both joy and grief.  We feel it too.  I believe that God will use Liz and her team in a mighty way to ‘lower the distance people have to travel to hear the Gospel’ and to create a new church community. 

I know you have lots of questions about how this will happen.  All of us do.  Here are some things I can tell you now:

  1. We have a parish meeting on February 28.  Pancakes will be served at 6pm and then our meeting will begin at 6:45.  Childcare is available for the meeting portion.  You will have a chance to hear about the work of our Church Plant Steering Team and you will get to hear from Liz about her hopes for this new idea.  We would love for everyone to come.  Please let Louise know if you will be bringing kids to childcare.
  2. On March 16 at 7:30pm, Liz will host a conversation for anyone who would like more information about plans for South Arlington. Please come if you are at all curious about this opportunity. After Easter, in the spring trimester of small groups, Liz will host a small group of people who want to pray and begin to plan for this new adventure in South Arlington.
  3. We are anticipating that a South Arlington group will launch sometime in 2018. That is at least 10 months from now. One of the exciting things about the last few months is that our plans are still in flux, developing as new information or ideas come to light. So stay tuned over the next 10 months. There will be many more exciting updates to come!
  4. Liz leads and serves in tremendous ways at Restoration.  We are grateful for strong volunteer leaders who already work with Women Unscripted, our outreach partners, and our prayer ministry.  Over the coming year, we will transition the leadership of these vital programs.  In addition, we will discuss the staff and clergy needs of Restoration as we send out one of our beloved priests. 

I know that we have many questions.  I firmly believe that God’s answers will be available to us when God needs us to know.  He has so clearly led us in every season and decision of our church. 

For now, let us rejoice because of God’s provision of a gifted leader, because of Liz’s courage to say yes, and because of our opportunity to be generous.  Healthy things grow.  Healthy churches grow.  There is robust abundance all around us and for that we praise God.

With Joy and Faith and Hope,

David

Small Group #31 – New Group in MD

countyseal

As Small Groups Sign-Up’s get started this winter, we wanted to tell you about a few of the options. Here are a few words from Stephanie Hurter, one of the leaders of Small Group #31

Last year this time, a few members in Restoration came together to create RILA, the Restoration Immigration Legal Aid Clinic. This clinic grew from the hearts of many in Restoration who want to see the power of God’s love translated into concrete acts of mercy and grace in the community around us. Prayer and vision lead to change.

God is yet again stirring our hearts to spread His kindness in tangible ways. For the past few years Restoration has been prayerfully considering church planting in the Metro DC area. This year, we are beginning to take more concrete steps towards making this a reality — and we need you!

Join Katie and Darin Hamlin and myself this trimester as we gather each week to pray for God to move and guide in Restoration’s church planting efforts. We know that eight years ago God called a unique group of men, women, and children to form Restoration and we have faith that God may be now calling us to build on this work and form a new church family to minister in a different community. Will you join us?

Yes, we are meeting in Takoma Park, Maryland. SO FAR AWAY?? Actually, not really, but I get why it feels that way. I lived in Northern Virginia for many years and then through a variety of life circumstances and God’s leading, I moved to Montgomery County, Maryland. I remember thinking that Maryland felt so different and so far away. After moving here, I not only realized how close it was to many of my old haunts and friends, but also how much I actually came to care about my neighbors here in Montgomery County (MoCo).

This small group is not about asking folks to church plant in MoCo — we don’t know where God is calling Resto yet. But, it is about asking us to consider taking risks, stretching ourselves beyond the familiar and comfortable and waiting for God to show up. Ask Jason, Natalie or Michelle or anyone on the RILA team and they will tell you RILA didn’t happen easily. It took a lot of commitment, hard work, prayer, and tears, and still does. God’s work is rarely easy. He asks a lot of us, but it is in these moments of faithfulness that God loves to show up in big ways.

By coming to this small group you aren’t committing to join the church plant, just adding your voice to ours asking God to make clear his will and to stir in our hearts the desire to follow that will. What an awesome opportunity to directly influence Restoration’s future!

 We’ll be meeting at the Hamlin’s House in Takoma Park, MD on Friday nights at 7:30 to 9pm. Come a bit early if you want a bite to eat. All are welcome. Come join us!

Interested in joining this group? Sign up here

Local Church Planting (Part 1)

taste-of-dc

Over the last few weeks, we have begun to share a lot about our vision to plant new churches here in the DC area. You may also be aware that the vestry has commissioned the Church Plant Steering Team (CPST) to help guide us in this process. Here is a little bit of information about the Church Plant Steering Team:

Who is on the Church Plant Steering Team (CPST)?

The team is composed of 7 members: Nathan Dickerson (staff), Mike Dodson (vestry), Cindy Darnell, John Foote, Leigh McAfee, Andy Neal, & Megan Westmoreland.

What is the Mission of the CPST?

Our mission is to provide guidance to Restoration as we consider how to implement our vision to plant other new churches in the DC area.

Why plant new churches?

As the CPST has started to discuss this idea of church planting, we have wrestled with some pretty common objections to church planting. For example:

  • “Is it really necessary?” – i.e. It seems like we still have lots of space in the sanctuary for people, and we are already doing lots of great outreach.
  • “But I like Restoration the way it is right now.” – i.e. We are doing really well as a church, so why would we want to mess with a good thing?
  • What if we fail?” – i.e. Lots of church plants do NOT succeed, so why would we want to spend our resources and time on something that might not work out?
  • “Aren’t we already busy enough?” – i.e. Many people at Restoration already feel maxed out, so won’t this just push them over the edge?
  • “It seems like there are already lots of good churches in the DC area” – i.e. Do we really need any more churches?

These are all legitimate questions & concerns, but as a team, we also sensed that there are several good reasons why we should invest significant time and resources into planting new churches.

Here are three compelling reasons why we should get involved with planting new churches:

  1. A Spiritual Reason

We are at a critical moment in the life of our congregation. Over the last 7 years, our church has grown, and matured, and moved into our beautiful new facility. But now, we also face the temptation to get “comfortable”, and to imagine that we have “arrived”.

So, how do we fight this temptation? We resist it by continuing to seek out new challenges & opportunities. This is actually really good for our souls – both collectively & individually. Because new challenges open us up to the reality that we need God to show up for this to work. We can’t do them on our own. So, instead of focusing inward and trying to protect what we already have, what we need to do is to look outward, and trust God by taking risks.

  1. A Practical Reason

There is also a really practical reason to plant new churches. Even though we just built this new building, we are already beginning to run out of space, particularly with our children and youth ministry. This is obviously a great “problem” to have as a church. But if we want to continue to grow and minister to the needs of others, we need to think strategically and wisely about how to do this well. And one key way to address these logistical challenges is by planting new churches.

Moreover, by choosing to plant new churches, we also enable new leaders to emerge and utilize their spiritual gifts. This doesn’t always happen in a larger congregation, where people tend to assume that others will bear the load of leadership. Planting new churches creates lots of opportunities for new leaders to grow and express their gifts – not only in the new congregations, but also in the sending church as well. We want to multiply new leaders by multiplying new congregations.

  1. A Biblical Reason

Yet, perhaps the most compelling reason to plant new churches is simply a biblical one: this is what Jesus commands us to do as his disciples. In Matthew 9:35-38, Jesus looks out at the crowds of people who surrounded him in Jerusalem. And the Scripture tells us that Jesus was “filled with compassion” as he saw “sheep without a shepherd”. Then he asks his disciples to pray because “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”.

This passage raises a key question for us as a church: Do we have that same compassion, that same vision for people here in the DC area? Do we recognize that many people desperately need a church home (just like Restoration) where they too can grow spiritually and encounter the living Christ?

Our calling as Christians is not merely to think about ourselves and our families & friends, but also to consider the spiritual needs of others. That is why we want to plant new churches here in the DC area.

Some people might wonder, “But aren’t there already lots of churches here in DC?” And the answer is, “Yes, there are lots of good churches.” But we have to recognize that even if every one of those churches was filled to capacity, we could not even begin to keep up with the quickly growing population of our metro area. Therefore, we want to see good churches continue to grow AND we also need to be planting brand new churches as well.

~ Nathan Dickerson

Next time – Our proposed strategy for planting churches? (Part 2)

 

 

with the comfort which we are comforted by God

Comfort

Comfort comes with responsibility.

…the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, SO THAT we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:4

Comfort is the experience of future hope in the present.  At Restoration, one of our core convictions is that the gospel calls us to lives of responsibility and coherence.  As followers of Jesus we become obligated:  To care.  To see the world the way Jesus sees it.

We embrace Jesus’ instruction that,

…everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required…

Luke 12:48

 

For most of us who show up on Quincy Street, this church has been a means of God for our comfort.  It is not necessary an alleviation of pain, but it is a clear reminder that God walks with us into it.

When we get here, we look around and we see friends  friendships that have most often been forged in smaller settings:  one on one coffees, play dates between your kids, golf outings;  serving on a team at AFAC, volunteering with RiLA, going with a group to one of our global partners;  pouring over a small group Bible Study, being prayed for after a service, being a volunteer who helps make our liturgy happen. 

You have experienced the comfort of being known, the comfort of friendship, the comfort of being a part of something that is bigger than your single life. 

So, if Jesus and Paul are right…  and we are comforted so that we may be able to comfort others… then one of the most practical ways we can do that is by giving our resources to the establishment of the thing that comforted us.  In our Restoration context, we are responsible to give our time, treasure, and talents to church planting, which is the creation of communities of hope.

To start, over the last couple of years, we have increased our investment in 2 long term projects in Cambodia and West Asia.

Now we are beginning to aim our resources at the possibility of 2 or 3 local church plants in the next few years.  To that end, we have created a Church Plant Steering Team.  This team is seeking to hire a church plant resident in 2017 who would be looking at a church plant location inside the beltway in Maryland or Virginia in a couple years.  All of this has been imagined in our strategic plan called, Restoration 2019.

Every single one of us will be involved in ‘being a comfort’ by praying and giving towards this effort.  Most of us will remain a part of the work God is doing through Restoration on Quincy Street.  But, some of you will go and experience the tangible joy being a comfort by inviting others into an experience of hope.

This is where it gets fun.  

-David

Save the date: Jesse’s getting ordained!

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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

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