An update on Holy Orders for women in the ACNA

The College of Bishops for the Anglican Church in North America met in conclave from September 5-7 in British Columbia, Canada.  Here is the statement that they made at the conclusion of their time.

They met to discuss the report of the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders.  The report itself is over 300 pages long and well worth the time it takes to digest it.  You will see the careful thinking of the writers and you will learn a lot about church history and church polity.  The report underlines the reality that every decision has decades of background and convictions that shape the assumptions which lead to the final conclusions.

In the social media space, many people have reacted to the report that lead into the conclave and then subsequently to the decision that was made by the College of Bishops at the conclave.

I want to give my brief thoughts as the pastor of Restoration Anglican Church in Arlington, VA.  I speak for myself.  Restoration is a church that joyfully affirms the leadership and gifts of women in every part of our life together.  We have women who are elders (vestry members), small group leaders (for kids, youth, and adults who are male and female), and priests (ordained clergy).  I want to be clear that not all of Restoration’s members agree with my view.  But we live in charity with one another and we work in mission alongside each other.

My response to the College of Bishops Statement

Generally I was thrilled by the conclusions of the College of Bishops for 4 reasons:  

  • First it was unanimous.  Currently, in the Anglican Church of North America, about 17 dioceses do not ordain women to the priesthood and 13 dioceses do ordain women to the priesthood.  There is significant disagreement on this issue within our province.  So to have a unanimous vote is quite incredible.  By the grace and discernment of the Holy Spirit, they found words to articulate a way forward in which all the bishops could agree.  Thanks be to God!
  • Second,  their statement does NOT say—  we agree that some of us believe this and some of us believe that.  We know there are differing opinions and convictions.  Saying, ‘We disagree’ would have been a non-statement.  Instead, they stated the elements where they found agreement and how our province could remain together even though there is disagreement on this issue.  Thanks be to God!  
  • Third, the statement acknowledges that “Anglicans have differing principles of ecclesiology and hermeneutics that are acceptable within Anglicanism and lead to divergent conclusions regarding women’s ordination to the priesthood.”  This statement affirms the beauty and charity of Anglicanism.  We find our authority in the unchanging Scriptures and that people who trust the Bible have come to different conclusions on this issue.  But we can stay in relationship with each other.  Thanks be to God!
  • Fourth, as expected, the bishops agreed that the ordination of women cannot be mandated across the whole province.  The College of Bishops decided that each bishop and diocese will be able to make that decision for their diocese but not for other dioceses.

    To be clear, this is the way we talk about the leadership of women in our church, here at Restoration:  all of us have to decide what we believe about the expression and use of gifts that God has given to women.  You can make a Biblical case to limit the role of women and you can make a Biblical case for women to use their gifts in all aspects of the parish.  Restoration strongly encourages women to lead, teach, and serve in every part of our church.  Thanks be to God!

I encourage you to read the statement from the conclave.  And to dig into the 300 page report that was prepared over 5 years.  It is excellent work.

As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions or concerns.  I love Restoration and I am grateful that our bishops have made a way for us to continue our Biblical practice of affirming the leadership, teaching, and serving gifts of women in our parish.  Thanks be to God!

-David

The Rev. Nathan Dickerson

The Dickerson Family

Nathan and Stephanie Dickerson
Lizzie (5th grade), Maggie (Kindergarten), Rachel (3rd grade)

 

It brings me great joy to introduce you to our new Associate Rector for Small Groups and Church Planting, Nathan Dickerson!  Nathan and his family currently live in Minnesota, but are planning to move to Arlington later this summer.  We can’t wait to have all five of them here.

Nathan will be coming to Restoration from Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul where he has served as the rector since 2011.  Before that he was an associate pastor from 2005-2011 at Church of the Apostles in Raleigh, NC where he coordinated small groups, new member classes, and provided oversight for men’s and women’s ministries.  Prior to that role in the local church, Nathan was on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at NC State from 2001-2005.  In 2002, he received the Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL.

In a few weeks, we will give Nathan and Stephanie the opportunity to tell us more about their family in this space.  In the meantime, I invite you to pray for all 5 of them as they embark on a major transition from MN to VA.  Specifically pray for a home in Arlington County and for the girls as they finish school and anticipate school in a new place.  And give thanks to God for this very good gift to Restoration and the work we are doing.

-David

Wardens’ Report: keeping you informed

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Welcome to the first “Wardens’ Report” — a brief summary of Vestry meetings to help demystify our work and provide some information about our growth, finances, priorities and progress towards our strategic plan.

We recognize that as Restoration grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to know how things are going. We hope this summary will be helpful as you pray for our church and consider the ways you will engage in our community.

Restoration’s Vestry met last Tuesday evening, as it does each month, to oversee the business of the church. Here are some highlights:

When we met with Bishop John Guernsey two weeks ago, he encouraged us to devote more meeting time to prayer. This was no doubt a wise and godly suggestion but also daunting, given our scarce meeting time. We embraced his advice by changing our routine in a couple of ways. We met in the sanctuary to kneel in prayer, and we raised issues unique to a specific area of ministry:  Kat Downs and her vital ministry as Director of Operations. Next month, we’ll focus on another.

We are just over a year into the implementation of the new strategic plan for the five year time period ending 2019. Last year’s focus was to complete our building project and ground ourselves in our new space. This year we are focused on hiring key positions to our staff team. The hiring process for a Senior Director of Discipleship and Church Planting is well under way. Another key hire for our team planned for 2015 is a Youth Ministry Coordinator to fill the position that will be vacated when Clay and Rachel move.

Mac Wheatley’s treasurer’s report showed that giving and spending through the first half of the fiscal year were both about 94% of budget; the operating reserve is strong at more than three months of budgeted expenses; and average Sunday attendance across three services since returning to Quincy Street is roughly 500 people – 403 adults and 95 children.

We happily voted to recommend to Bishop John that Scott Buckhout begin postulancy, the formal process that may lead to ordination. We appreciate the work of the discernment team that prayerfully met with Scott and provided a thoughtful recommendation. Other postulants from our community recently recommended to Bishop John through similar processes include Jesse Blaine and Morgan Reed.

Next January will mark the end of David’s seventh year of service at Restoration. As envisioned by our personnel handbook, and for the good of Restoration as well as our rector, we asked a team of wise leaders to prepare a plan for David to take a six-month sabbatical beginning in February 2016. We’ll share more information as the plan takes shape.

As always, please contact either of us or anyone on the Vestry if you have questions about the life of our church. We need your thoughtful input and constant prayers.

Carolyn Weimer and Ramsey Wilson

SG #19 Leadership with Cindy (and Bill Hybels has something to say too)

The local church is the hope of the world.unnamed

Everybody wins when a leader gets better.

These two statements are the foundation on which Bill Hybels created the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, a 2-day conference held annually in early August. The summit is held in Chicago but broadcast live around the states and then later taken around the world. Each year the talks are published on a DVD and that’s what we’ll be using for this small group.

I have attended the summit a number of times over the years and it’s two of the most refreshing days of the year for me. I always come away pumped up and ready to tackle the world.
What can you expect? The videos will be anywhere from 20-45 minutes and we will debrief them and pray for one another. I have a few favorites picked out that have stuck with me over the years but I’m open to the group’s needs on picking the others. The few I have picked out:

  • Ever felt like this? The first video will discuss the source that helps us find our leadership vision – our “holy discontent” – the thing that we are passionate about to the point of acting upon it.
  • Do you ever have to help people get “there” – that point in the future where things will be better? The second video will talk about how to do that.
  • Do you ever feel like you’re running on empty in your leadership or just in your life? The third video will explore the dangers of this and ways to prevent it.

Hope you’ll consider this group so that we can get better together!

~Cindy Darnell

Register for your small group choice today!

Celebrating 2014

Sanctuary

Every year, in the beginning of December, the vestry and staff gather to remember and celebrate.  Somebody hosts.  We bring in extra chairs and maybe a table or two.  Everyone signs up to provide a dish–  pork roast, green beans, brussels sprouts, lots of salad, lots of dessert.  We put on festive attire.  We find babysitters and come home from work early.  We laugh and drink wine and tell stories and smile…  a lot.

It always reminds me of these words from the prophet Isaiah–  this prediction of what life will be like when God finishes what He started, when this new creation gets done, when this hard work of reconciliation to Him and to each other is over.

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.  And he will swallow up  on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.  He will swallow up death forever;  and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.  It will be said on that day,   “Behold, this is our God;  we have waited for him, that he might save us.  This is the LORD; we have waited for him;  let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Isaiah 25

Every year, the vestry and staff have a bountiful meal because we are mixed up in a work of God that points us to a bountiful meal to come.  Our greatest hopes and longings will one day be met.  And it will be like a ‘feast of rich food.’

And during this meal, we pray and remind each other to wait and to rejoice in his salvation.  He is good.  And He is near.

At some point, we all pick up our chairs and move in to another room.  There is a fire in the corner and a beautiful Christmas tree.  There is always a transition that is happening on the vestry at this time of the year.  We said good-bye to Cindy Darnell, Santiago Sedaca, and George Patterson who have faithfully served for the last 3 years as vestry members.  And we said hello to Hannah Royal, Christine Jones, and Ali Burke who are joining the vestry team as the ‘class of 2017’.  Restoration is served by faithful men and women who pray and serve and lead for the glory of God and the great things He is doing in our church.

I also took a few minutes to remind us of God’s faithfulness in the past year.  Things for which we should celebrate:  mission teams that went to West Asia (twice!), West Virginia, and Cambodia.  Our active partnership with AFAC, Casa Chirilagua, and Operation Christmas Child.  We hosted the Archbishop of SouthEast Asia, an ordination, and a building consecration.  We celebrated the birth of over 40 babies and dozens of baptisms.  We created a new high school ministry.  We gave generously, paid our bills, and sent over $100k to people and ministries outside of Restoration.  We exploded in growth when we moved back to Quincy Street.  We received such gracious hospitality while we worshiped at Little Falls Presbyterian.  We went deep into 1 Timothy and anticipated the birth of Christ with icons and the preaching of John the Baptist.

Someday God will swallow up death forever.  It will be like a feast of rich food.

What an apt and beautiful picture of all that God is doing at Restoration.  A feast indeed.  Thanks be to God!

-David

Vestry Election 2015

Vestry

Restoration is lead by a team of ten people called ‘The Vestry’.   I, as rector, serve as the chair.  The other nine people are chosen by the congregation to serve for three year terms.  The vestry assigns certain positions as a means to organize itself:  two wardens, a secretary, and a treasurer.

Together, the vestry holds the vision of the church.  They provide funding for all of our strategic initiatives by creating an annual budget.  They give leadership oversight to critical areas of our mission like personnel, facility, outreach, and finance.  They pray every day for the church and they pray together every month when we gather to hear what God has been doing and to move forward in the plans He has given us.

On November 9 and 16, after each service, we will hold our election for the vestry class of 2017.  There are 5 people on the slate and you can read their stories, here.  Restoration will select three of them.

In addition, the church will have an opportunity to affirm vestry member Endel Liias for one more year of vestry service.  Endel came on to the vestry in 2014 to fill a position that was vacated.  According to our by-laws, he needs to be affirmed by the congregation to complete the term he is filling which will conclude in December 2015.  This will be a simple yes/no.  Hint–  check ‘yes’.  He has worked really hard and done a great job!

I invite you to pray.  The vote is open to any Restoration member (You know who you are.  Your membership forms are in and you’ve signed TBGB).  The vestry is a critical part of our life together.  So, take a few minutes before you vote to read the bio book (on-line or in print) and to listen to the Holy Spirit for the 3 people God is calling to this team.

Restoration is well-lead.  Thanks be to God!

-David

Another small group option: this one is all about faith and leadership

 

photoAt Restoration we care deeply that we should each grow as disciples of Jesus in every aspect of our lives. We want to be intentional about  how we exercise our faith at home, in our neighborhoods and at work;  so  every trimester we aim to run a few small groups on these topics. This trimester Lee and Elizabeth are leading a group which is thinking about how we exercise our leadership as Christians in all aspects of our lives – from the kitchen table to the office to the gym?

We live in a town where good leadership matters.

But effective leadership is just as important inside a family as it is on Capitol Hill. Despite this, we rarely openly study or discuss the qualities of a great leader. It is easier to spot (and criticize) a bad leader. But how should you go about becoming an effective leader yourself? And what does it take to become a humble leader, one who uses his or her power to empower others rather than just horde power for him or herself? If you are looking for the ultimate answers to these questions, sorry…you won’t find them here. We are not the experts. But if you are wanting to explore such leadership questions- listening to the wisdom of others, sharing your own experiences, and looking at what the Bible and a Christian leadership book says about leadership-then we would love for you to join us this trimester!

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Contact:  Lee and Elizabeth Pitts for more info: pittspress@yahoo.com

Meeting:  Wednesdays. 7pm.

Ready to Sign up? here’s the link!

 

giving thanks for the ministry of Rev. Erin Bair

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that  you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all  spiritual wisdom and understanding,

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for  all endurance and patience  with joy, giving thanks  to the Father, who has qualified you  to share in  the inheritance of the saints in light.

Colossians 1:9, 11-12

Almost 6 years ago, Erin Bair sat down with some members of our leadership team and talked about the opportunity to use her gifts in the endeavor of planting a new church in Arlington County:  Restoration.  Since that time, Erin has poured herself into the vision of creating a church where broken people are restored by grace and livingGod’s story.  And, as we heard on Sunday, this church has had the privilege of loving Erin into her calling.  She is a gifted, Spirit-filled priest.  We are all so thankful for the ministry she has done among us.  And we look forward to the context that God will call her to next– for her good and His glory.

There were many thanks given and stories told around the snack tables on Sunday.  I know that many of you have written notes and sent texts expressing your appreciation for what God has done through Erin.  I want to give us another place to shout out our gratitude as we send her out in Jesus’ name.

As we say good-bye, what are you thankful for?

Erin is rock-solid on the reality of brokenness and the capacity of God to overcome sin, to heal, to bind up broken hearts, and to transform lives.  She reminds us that we are first and foremost LOVED.  She calls us to believe that we can trust that God wants our good.

Erin has been a consistent and compassionate voice for those who are on the margin.  Over and over she has asked–  ‘Who needs to be included?  Who do we need to hear from as we make this decision?  How will this choice affect those who are not in the room right now?’

Erin loves words and God has enabled her to use words to call us to faithfulness, generosity, and righteousness.  She has masterfully illustrated things that are hard to grasp (anybody remember the ‘God Composts’ sermon?).  She has helped us believe the Gospel and the power it has to change our lives.

Erin finds what is beautiful.

As we say good-bye, what are you thankful for?

This prayer from The Book of Common Prayer has given voice to my hope for Erin.  I am so grateful to follow God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and infinite in love.  He truly is ‘doing for Erin better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord.’

Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come, knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Leave a comment and tell us what you are thankful for as we say good-bye to Erin.

-David

Giving thanks for our leaders

Giving thanks for our leaders

 

The book of Hebrews says…

Remember  your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and  imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is  the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13: 7-8

Over the next couple of weeks, Restoration will conclude a few significant programs before taking a break for July and August.  APEX has already finished up, Tri2 of small groups ends next week, and our last day of Kids’ Small Groups is June 29.  Hundreds of people have benefited from the incredible people who volunteer as adult, Apex, and kids’ small group leaders.  HUNDREDS!!

The encouragement from Hebrews is to remember these volunteer leaders–  meaning to give thanks for them, to think about them, to be deliberate in praying and articulating gratitude for them.  They have opened their lives to us.  They have helped us wrestle with the Scriptures.  They have taught us how to make crafts.  They have asked hard questions and encouraged us to pray for each other.  They have let us learn from their faith and trust in the goodness of God.

Our Kids’ small group leaders have served at great cost to themselves.  Since we have gone to one service, they have not had an option for corporate worship on Sundays.  Our adult small group leaders coordinate child care, get snacks, study Scripture, and THINK ABOUT YOU all week long.  Our Apex leaders have been covered in cheetoes and asked insightful questions and given up Sunday nights to love our middle and high schoolers.

Would you consider how to thank them over the next couple of weeks?  Send them a note.  Look them in the eye and affirm their gifts.  Seek them out and tell them how grateful you are.

I do not take these servant leaders for granted.  Restoration is chock full of people who want to give and who want to see folks walk faithfully after Jesus.  I thank God for them everyday.  Would you join me?

Thanks Small Group Leaders.

-David

P.S. Want to become one of these servant superstars?  Drop us a line.  There is always room for more.

 

 

Janus

Janus

Janus is a great word (and a great backpack).  In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of doors and passageways.  He was depicted with a face on opposite sides of his head.  He looked forward and backward.

A janus is a transition point.  It’s a place where you look back and you look forward.

Restoration is at a janus.  We are five years in to this life together.  On January 25, 2009 we gathered for the first time in corporate worship.  5 years in, we are no longer a ‘church plant’.  We are about to have a multi-million dollar facility that we need to steward.  We have a critical mass of people who want to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus, who want to find friendship, who want to serve those who are most vulnerable.  We are grateful for what has happened.

And we are anticipating what God will do in the next five years.  We look backward and give thanks for God’s great faithfulness to us.  We look forward with excitement about the thousands of lives who will intersect with our church in the years to come.

Our new vestry will meet for the first time tonight.  They gather on the 4th tuesday of every month.  This first one is always special as we get to know each other and figure out how the meetings will flow.  We usually spend 4 hours together–  starting with dinner, reading the Scriptures, praying for Restoration, working through business, and closing with Thanksgiving.  The meetings are intense but the minutes fly by.  I am grateful for how hard this team works.

On Friday, the vestry will slip away for our annual 24 hour retreat.  We have spent almost 8 months working on a strategic plan for the next season of Restoration’s life and we are praying for clarity as we finish this document.  Would you pray for unity around a North-Star-like goal that will guide our plans as we seek to face the critical issues that face Restoration.

We can’t wait to update you on this plan at our parish meeting on March 2, after our 5pm service.  Please make plans to be there.

Give thanks to God for janus moments, for a strong vestry, and for a church that has been faithful in our first five years and is excited about the years to come.

-David

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