The Matthew 25 Gathering

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Restoration,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here is the BIG ASK.

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

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

Would you consider it?

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

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

Thank you so much,

David

 

Giving A Little Love

Restoration singing carols at Sunrise Senior Living

The first time I went to Sunrise Senior Living to sing Christmas Carols with the residents, I was a volunteer working with APEX Youth Ministry and had no idea what to expect.  By the time it was over, I was convinced that we needed to do this every year and now that I am the Director of Youth Ministry, we do.

When we think of Restoration’s mission to connect people to God, others and the needs of the world, it is easy to default to the work we do overseas or with our local partnerships with AFAC, Casa Chirilagua and Restoration Immigration Legal Aid (R.I.L.A). It’s easy to get lost in the idea that big acts of service are the ones that are the most impactful. This yearly trip to Sunrise showed me, first hand, that small acts of service can carry just as much of an effect.

As the mantra of our Kids’ ministry exclaims, everyone wants to know that they are loved, known and seen by God.  It doesn’t take much to remind them of that.  Sometimes it’s a wink, a hand on the shoulder in solidarity, or an entire congregation of your neighboring church coming over and singing exuberantly at the top of their lungs with Santa and elf hats galore.

We invite you to join us again this year after the 5pm service, to take 30 minutes to spread some Christmas cheer to residents who can be easily forgotten.  Help us to remind them again this season that they are not.

Where:  Sunrise Senior Living
2000 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207

When:  This Sunday, December 17th (6:30pm – 7:15pm) –
Immediately following the 5pm service.

Hope to see you there,

Isaiah Brooms
Director of Youth Ministry

 

 

 

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

 

Reading about Justice

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As we run, jump, shuffle, walk, tiptoe, hop, skip or leap  into this series on justice we are already starting to encounter some great big ideas; certainly I’ve realized there are quite a few ways I need to face up to my patterns of behavior and some perhaps pretty deeply-held previous convictions. Processing these things in small group is amazing (we had a wonderful discussion last night about Sabbath – I hear others did too), but sometimes it’s simply time to read….

We don’t have a library (yet!) at Restoration – but if you buy any of these why not lend them to others in your small group, order them through your library, read them in your book clubs or give them as birthday presents. Feel free to donate old copies to Restoration if you have them! Perhaps we can start a little lending book area?

So to start with some of the books David has been referencing include:

I haven’t read all of them yet… so I’m looking forward to working through the list.  When you’ve read all of  these – come back to us and we’ll suggest some more 🙂 or perhaps you’ve got suggestions of your own to add to the list? Please add comments below. Happy reading!

~ Liz

Giving thanks

Saying “Yes!” makes such a difference.  That day in May — before our building was finished — when I asked Jesus how He wanted us to use our building, was the day I got the phone call from Operation Christmas Child:  “Operation Christmas Child has been praying for a church in Arlington to be a Relay Center during National Collection Week; a place where people from your area can drop off their filled shoebox gifts.  Would Restoration be interested?”
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So, we said “Yes!” in faith.  Faith that our building would be done in time.  Faith that we could find the volunteers to help serve.  Faith that people would come.  Faith that we could manage all that we didn’t even know to expect.  Faith that our space would be another link in furthering the good news of the Gospel.  Here’s how our prayers were answered and our faith strengthened:  We received 2,420 shoeboxes.  Packed them into 134 cartons.  Filled 3/4 of a 26′ truck and drove it to Alexandria. All of this with the help of  51 Restoration folks volunteering around 110 hours.  There are numerous stories of people we met who are the whole reason we did all this in the first place.  Pray for those folks who got to experience giving in this way and those who may have stepped foot in a church for the first time in a long time and  those who are so young, yet seem to hear and know more than the grownups do.  Thank you, Restoration, for participating and serving; for modeling for your children and family and friends what it is like to be part of a community that desires to see broken people, restored by grace, living God’s story.
-Louise-

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.

 

Help.

O God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for thy holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer p. 814

Friends, for many in our church, the shutdown of the federal government has brought additional stress and affliction.  We know that the lack of a paycheck during this time can create really difficult circumstances.

I want you to be aware that Restoration has a benevolence fund so that we can provide help and assistance in these kinds of situations.  To that end, I want to extend 2 invitations to people in our church:

1.  If you are experiencing financial hardship because of the government shutdown, would you ask Restoration for help?  Our church has purchased gift cards to local grocery stores.   These are available for those people who need help with their food budget during this time.  Restoration also has money set aside to help with your rent or mortgage payment this month.  Our parish administrator, Kat Downs, is receiving these requests.  Please reach out to her if financial assistance would help you during the government shutdown.  You can use our contact page and click on ‘benevolence’.

2.  If you are in a situation where you can be financially generous for the sake of others, would you consider an extra gift to our benevolence fund?  We want to always be able to say yes to the real needs that are presented to our church.  We anticipate that we will need to provide a significant amount of help during this shutdown and your generosity will help us replenish the benevolence fund.  There will be a special envelope for you to use during our offering collection on Sunday.  You can also give through CCB.  Thanks for considering this invitation.

While I have you…

I know that all of us breathed a little more quickly when the alerts started rolling in yesterday afternoon about the shooting at the Capital.  So many of you are there for work.  So many more of us have friends and loved ones who were close by.  I know that my reaction was–  ‘Oh no, not again.  Have mercy Lord.’  As the fuller story has come out, we realize that it is tragic but not what we first imagined in light of what happened at the Navy Yard.

There are no easy answers to all of this.  Our government is not working.  This shutdown is an embarrassment and a demonstration of political callousness to the people the government is supposed to be serving.  The 2 party system isn’t going away.  The government is paid to compromise and to find the best solution, not throw a tantrum.  As I talk to people who serve in those halls, they are weary of the vitriol and finger-pointing.  We all are.  Let us pray for humility and a willingness for our leaders to see beyond their own personal agendas.   And let us ask God to have mercy and to protect our nation and its leaders from violence.  Yesterday could have been so much worse.

I offer all of this with gratitude for those who lead with charity and grace.

And gratitude for the church of Jesus Christ that is the hope of the world.  Please ask us for help if we can serve you during this time.

-David

Why AFAC Farmer’s Market Runs?

       So, why do we band together each Sunday afternoon in the summer to pick up the typically one ton (!) of leftover produce from the Columbia Pike Farmer’s Market, taking it back to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) for repackaging?

We do it for two simple reasons:

1.                  It’s a way to practice Jesus’ top two commands:  love God and love your neighbor.  Those two active loves sum up, Jesus says, the basic gist of the whole Old Testament law.  So in a sense, when we do the work of collecting crates of cauliflower, cucumbers, cantaloupes, etc., and haul them back to the warehouse, we are in a way loving our neighbors just like God’s people were asked to do back in the day.  Have you ever read passages like this one in Leviticus 19 (9 & 10)?  “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.”  I love that passage—God has always been into caring for the underdog in very concrete ways.  And while most of us don’t have land or harvests, we can love our neighbors by practicing—in tandem with very generous merchants–a little modern day gleaning equivalent.  These leftover veggies help feed about 1600 families each week.

2.                  It’s a way to take Restoration into our larger community.  A lot of us who are already followers of Jesus want to see our friends come to church. “Oh, if my friends could just hear so and so preach” or “I think they’d love our music” or “If they could just see how cool our kids program is”….  But many of our friends and neighbors won’t naturally wander into a church building on Sundays.  So, why not take the church, or at least a small group of friends from the body of Christ, into the community?  That’s what we do when we band together for 3 hours on Sunday afternoon in South Arlington.  With a handful of Restoration folks (and hopefully some non Restoration friends as well), we go—trusting that Jesus’ presence goes with us, showing up in and through our interactions, relationships, conversations.  While we don’t always know how it happens, we trust that He’s revealing himself through us when we, so to speak, take “church” to the streets (or to the corner of Columbia Pike & Walter Reed, and then to the warehouse down on Nelson Street).  Jesus says he’ll be there when we are there, together, in his name.  We believe him.

So, if either of these reasons intrigues you, or if you just want to have fun doing some sweaty, tangible work (nice switch in this DC world of ideas and paper pushing!), give Melody Jones (melody.parry@gmail.com) or Lauren Odderstol (lodderstol@gmail.com) a shout.  We’ll be doing it June 30th – August 18th, Sundays from 12:15-3:30, and we’d love for you (and your kids from age 5 up if you have them and will watch them!) to join us.  It is a good thing.

Sign up directly here!

Connally Gilliam

From our Cairo Correspondent

Working in Cairo this week, I got back to my hotel room late Tuesday evening, I found a large bouquet of flowers and a bowl of fruit, and wondered why the hotel had given me that? The card that came with the flowers told a different story: it was a welcome gift from the Stephen’s Children ministry: I had arranged to meet one of them on Friday, to hand over the check representing Restoration’s Easter collection. I thought of King David when three of his warriors fought their way into Bethlehem to fetch him some water (2 Samuel 23), and David was awestruck by the generous spirit of these men, putting themselves at risk to bless David. Perhaps not quite the right analogy, but such a generous gift from a ministry working with the poor – I almost cried, and felt very humbled!

Today, I had the privilege of visiting of the many ‘garbage cities’ on the outskirts of Cairo– of the 90 or so locations where the Stephen’s Children ministry runs schools for the poorest of the poor. This ‘city’, home to perhaps 900 people – predominantly Christians – is in a dusty, stony hollow away from the road. Nothing grows there – there is no soil. None of the buildings has more than one level: the materials they are made from would not really support more. There is no electricity. Running water was made available about a year ago (this has attracted more people to move in). In the school room perhaps 40 girls aged 6 to 15  sat in rows on benches, learning the alphabet with great excitement. Nearby, I visited a study group for boys. Half a dozen squatted in the shade of a rusty corrugated iron gate as myriad flies buzzed around, and listened to the story of the cripple who had sat by the pool for years, waiting for a miracleThe back yard was buried in rubbish – plastic bags mostly, which are burned down to produce a hard black mass that can be sold for recycling (an adult and four children scavenging can earn perhaps $1.50 a day doing this).

Stephen’s Children employs around 1,500 staff to run kindergartens, and now one school, for some 30,000 children, visiting them weekly in their homes to support a holistic ministry of education, teaching on basic health and hygiene, and the bible. Many of the children, and some of their parents, are not officially registered, through ignorance and discrimination.

This was not a miserable place to visit. The children were happy as they learned. A little girl smiled broadly as the teacher washed her feet (this is done to teach hygiene, and to check for cuts and infections in little feet that at best have flip-flops to wear). Adults were welcoming. The ‘motto’ of the ministry is: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (phil 4:13). The children and their families are being given hope, not just once or in theory, but day by day, week by week, year after year. I am lost for words, but full of admiration, and very blessed to have seen God at work through his people in such a way.

Simon G.

Caroling PLUS

During Advent we, as the Restoration community, have a number of opportunities  to meet other people in our neighborhood.

Last Saturday, for example, a number of folk helped with the Casa Chirilagua Christmas party: a splendid time of laughter and joy with around 200 people enjoying the fun.

And then, last night a small group of Restoration people went to serve dinner at the A-SPAN winter shelter (Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network). They were able to spend some time chatting and serving dinner to folk they don’t often get a chance to spend time with: to understand a little bit more what it is like to be homeless over Christmas in Arlington, and to reflect on what Jesus would see and say to them.

This coming Sunday (12/16/12), at 6.45pm we have the opportunity to visit Sunrise Senior Living Community on Glebe Road. Matt Hoppe will lead us as we sing carols, chat and take ‘joy boxes’ which our Restoration kids have made for the residents.

This is an opportunity for you to join in – to meet someone new and to sing carols about the baby whose birth changed everything. Why not set aside an hour from your normal Sunday evening schedule and come along?

There are so many people whose stories we will never know – but how deeply joy-making it will be to know perhaps one more by Sunday night. Come and listen as you sing: meet at church after the 5pm to carpool, or at 6.45pm at Sunrise, 2000 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22207. You will be most welcome!

Liz Gray

 

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