Random Musings of Life in Resurrection…

butterfly pt. 1

I loved the butterflies that framed our Easter Joy last Sunday.  They were subtle and emerging as we moved through Lent.  Then Saturday night, during the Vigil, our sanctuary exploded with beauty, with the promise that life that comes after death.  A huge thanks to our RestoArts team and their vision for us to ‘see’ Holy Week and Easter.

Sometimes I post about our life together.  Sometimes it’s random and newsy.

This is that.

Seeing Jesus

This Sunday, April 8, I will be preaching on 3 interactions with the post-resurrection Jesus from John 20:

  • Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene when she thought He was a gardener.
  • Jesus’ appearance to the disciples when they thought He was a ghost.
  • Jesus’ appearance to Thomas when he thought everyone else was lying.

If you or someone you know has doubts, questions, or wonderings about how this story can be true…  Or if you know someone who wants to believe it is true, but can’t see how it affects them…  This might be a great week to invite them to Resto.  Tell them with a wink, ‘Nobody goes to church the week AFTER Easter.  It’s a great time to see what it’s all about.’

These 3 little vignettes speak to our longings, our doubts, our fragile hope that just maybe…  Maybe resurrection really changed the world.

Remembering Ted Van Der Meid

Our church has been praying for Ted for a long time.  Just before Holy Week, Ted’s battle with pancreatic cancer ended.  Tomorrow, April 7, at 2pm at Little Falls Presbyterian Church, Restoration will remember the life of Ted Van Der Meid and celebrate our hope of resurrection. 

You might be wondering, ‘Why Little Falls and not Restoration?’  Ted served on Capital Hill for over 30 years and the family is expecting over 400 people to attend. This is one of those times that our sanctuary and fellowship hall would be strained to the point of discomfort.  I am really grateful for our friends and partners at Little Falls.  They have been such gracious hosts (again!) to us.

You are very warmly invited to attend Ted’s memorial service.  It was a privilege for our church to pray for him and walk alongside him in life and it is our privilege to remember him in death.

Our search for a Church Plant Resident

As many of you know, we have been working for over a year to identify, recruit, and hire a church plant resident.  This position would be filled by someone who would join our staff team for a couple of years and then take a launch team to plant a new Anglican congregation in the Metro DC area.  In March, a very promising candidate came down to Arlington for a day of interviews.  Our hiring team was really excited about his potential and made him an offer to come be our church plant resident.

A couple days ago, this candidate responded to our offer and graciously turned us down.  He is feeling called to pursue a different track of vocational development in the season to come.  We understood his reasons though we were very sad to not welcome him to our team.

We want Restoration to continue to be a place where people are developing their ministry gifts and we will keep thinking creatively about how to do that well.  I wanted you to know that this particular candidate will not be joining us this summer.

Incarnation Anglican Church

Things are really ramping up for our church plant, Incarnation Anglican Church.  They have had several ‘get to know us and our neighborhood’ events that have been well attended.  They are running their own Small Group Sign-Ups for the Spring Trimester.  They will begin weekly gatherings in June to get ready for their public launch in September.

This is going to be a GREAT church.  I am so excited about the leadership team and the people from Restoration who are joining in the project.  As the rector of Restoration, I am inviting every person in our church to ask, should I be a part of this?  Should I go out with the launch team?  Should I give a financial gift?  Should I pray for them in my weekly prayer rhythms?

I want you to know that when people come to me and say, ‘I want to be a part of what God is doing through Incarnation…’  I REJOICE!  I cheer!  I thank them for all that they have done at Resto and I pray that God would multiply the fruit of their service in this new church.  Think about joining with what God is doing through Incarnation.  I’ll celebrate with you too!

Building on Liz’s Legacy

As we eagerly anticipate Incarnation’s launch, we are concurrently working hard on the hiring process to build on Rev. Liz Gray’s legacy.  You can read the job description of the person we are seeking, here.  I invite you to consider it for yourself and to share it with people who feel a calling to church ministry.  We have had a great response and we are beginning the screening and interview process.  If you or someone you know is interested, this is the time to send in resume and cover letter.

 

Ok, that’s enough for now.  Like I said, random and newsy…  like a good phone call with your Mom.

See you Sunday,

David

Come. Bear the cross. Feel it’s weight.

IMG_3625We are all different types of learners. Some of us can read and understand. Others of us can hear and understand. And, still others of us only ever get it when we can touch and feel and experience something.

On Good Friday, we invite you to join us for an experiential journey – to physically take up the cross, feel its weight, and imagine what it was like for Jesus. We’ll gather at the Brooks’s house at 8:30 AM and walk the “Good Friday Cross” to Restoration. The journey is about a mile long and we take about an hour, stopping along the way to pray the fourteen stations of the cross.  When we arrive at church, we’ll process the cross into the Sanctuary and lay it down, readying it to receive written reflections of our sins which we literally nail to the cross.  On Saturday night, at the beginning of the Great Vigil of Easter, we gather around the bonfire and tear our sins from the cross and throw them in the fire.

Please come. Come even if you read this and get it. Come even if you heard about others who experienced it last year and you get it. Come. Bear the cross. Feel it’s weight. Walk the journey, just so that you can understand maybe a little bit differently this year the “overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God”.

Email Steve Brooks (brooks@potomacassociates.com) for more details.

 

Making a marriage last

JS

John and Susan Yates

I am so grateful for John and Susan Yates: they and their church launched Restoration 9 years ago.  They believed in God’s power to birth a new community in Arlington, they believed in how God might use me to lead it, and they believed in us-  that we would creatively and strategically build something that would last and influence our county.  Thank you, God for the Yates’.

John and Susan have been married for 46 years (5 kids, 21 grandkids) and they have coached thousands (really) of couples with tips and advice on how to strengthen their marriage.  I appreciate the hard work they have done to articulate the principles and guidelines that have served them over the course of their marriage.  It’s one thing to be faithful to each other over such a long season.  It’s another to be able to pass that on to folks who are coming up behind you.  That’s a gift to me and to many.

We will change things up a bit on February 18.  We all have our routines and so I am sensitive to the disruption that change brings.  We are not doing this haphazardly.  We intend to provide you with meaningful help and hope.

We will have our normal Eucharistic Liturgy at our 9:00am and 11:00am.  It is the first Sunday of Lent and I will be preaching from 1 Corinthians 5.

Then at 5:00pm, we will host John and Susan for a 90 minute seminar on ‘Making a Marriage Last’.  They will teach from the Scriptures and from their life.  There will be opportunities for Q&A.  Everyone is invited to attend.  In fact, I would love for EVERYONE in our congregation to come back at 5 to hear what they have to say.  We will have nursery and a kid movie for children 5th grade and below.

From time to time we want to provide extra teaching on topics that are important to our congregation and to our neighbors.  I hope you will make this evening a priority and maybe invite a friend to come with you.

-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

 

 

 

Fall Retreat: Line Dancing, Wine Tasting, Lawn Games and More

Spots are filling up fast for this year’s annual fall retreat, but there is still time to make memories with us. Taking place in beautiful Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center in Harrisonburg, VA (about a 2.5 hour ride from the Washington, D.C. area), the retreat is a terrific opportunity to escape the Beltway for a few days to worship, pray and fellowship with our church family.

bonfire

Additionally, this year’s featured speaker will be Joe Ho of Focused Ministries who has prepared an important topic for us to discuss and think about titled: “The Problem of Race and The Power of The Cross.” Click here for more details.

wine

And if that wasn’t enough, the Fall Retreat will also feature a number of fun-filled activities including:

  • Lavender Farm (includes wine tasting)
  • Yoga
  • Farm visit
  • Bonfire
  • Soccer
  • Lawn Games
  • Boat making
  • Fishing
  • RestoArts

And last but not least…. Line Dancing!

What are you waiting for? Sign up now to secure your spot to join in on the fun!

Financial aid to cover a portion of the expenses is available through the registration form. Our kids (nursery – 5thgrade) will be in their kids’ small groups during the adult sessions. APEX (grades 6-12) will also be meeting during the adult sessions.

2017 Fall Retreat Speaker

joe_ho2_0-2

Joe Ho, Vice President of Focus Ministries

The Problem of Race and the Power of the Cross

The tragic events that unfolded in Charlottesville over the summer are a vivid reminder that racism and racial tensions are alive and well. Senseless violence and hate is leaving us at a loss desperate for answers. But what are we to do – and what can the Church do during these heart wrenching and incredibly difficult times?

During this year’s annual retreat, we will confront these difficult questions head on thanks to our special guest speaker – Joe Ho, the Vice President of Focused Ministries. Since 1993, Jo has worked at Focused Ministries in a number of capacities taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to cultures of all backgrounds.

Having earned an MA in Religion from Reformed Theological Seminary, Joe is well equipped to talk about race, race relations and the redemptive power found on the Cross.

Joe is planning to bring a convicting, heartfelt and inspirational message to our congregation:

There is good news for Christians. God hasn’t left us to figure this out on our own. The Bible does indeed speak to the issues of ethnic differences and conflict. Following the Biblical art of creation, fall redemption and renewal, we will consider the Bible’s Good News about race and ethnicity, in hopes that we as a church can offer this good news to the world.

The time to register for this fall’s retreat is fast approaching, but there is still time to sign up and gather as our church listens to Joe Ho, and his message about race and the power of the Cross.

Sign up here: http://restoration.formstack.com/forms/fall_retreat_2017

Financial aid to cover all or a portion of the expenses is available upon request. Please contact a staff member for further details.

Restoration Fall Retreat: Let’s Make Memories Together

Fall is upon us and that means that the Restoration Anglican Church Fall Retreat is right around the corner. To those who have been there before, here’s your chance to do it all over again. And for those who have never been, here are just a handful of reasons why you should sign up – and make memories with us.

It’s Fun!

Located in picturesque Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center, there is no shortage of games and activities for you and your family. From traditional board games, to outdoor games including – basketball, soccer and football – chances are that any given time there is someone doing something fun at the conference center. Among the highlights include a chance to play soccer with a large group. All ages are welcomed to kick the soccer ball around.

It’s Beautiful!

Comfortably, but conveniently, removed from the hustle and bustle of the Washington, D.C. area, Harrisonburg is beautiful, especially during the fall. The resort provides many inviting trails for one to collect their thoughts and pray without the distractions of city life. The retreat is a great opportunity to enjoy God’s creation.

There’s a Bonfire!

Always a fan favorite, the bonfire is a chance for folks to gather around the fire roasting marsh mellows, singing hymns and enjoying one another’s company. Don’t be surprised if people linger around the fire long after the littlest ones turn in. Camp memories are incomplete without bonfires and at the Resto Fall retreat, we don’t disappoint.

Come For the Fun, Stay for the Guest Speaker

Year in, year out, the staff do a great job recruiting great speakers to join us at our retreat. The theme may differ from year to year, but the message is always convicting and powerful. For this year, our guest speaker is Joe Ho – the National Director of Asian American Ministries at InverVarsity Christian Fellowship. Joe is a gifted speaker who loves the Lord and is traveling from Austin, TX to join us for our church retreat.

What Are You Waiting For? Sign Up Now!

Stay tuned for more posts about the Fall Retreat and encourage others to sign up today.

Note: Our kids (nursery-5th grade) will be in their kids’ small groups during the adult sessions. APEX (grades 6-12) will also be meeting during the adult sessions.

Financial aid to cover all or a portion of the expenses is available upon request. Please contact a staff member for further details.

September 9: Kickball! Softball! Have a ball with Resto!

fireball

Hey Friends,

On September 9, Restoration and friends will take over the softball diamond at Quincy Park.  We will have a blast playing kickball, softball, and then walking over to Rocklands for barbecue.

What time does it start?

  • From 4-5pm, we will use the diamond for kickball.  Adults and kids of all ages are welcome to join in.
  • From 5-6pm, we will use the diamond for softball.  This game will be open to everyone who is in middle school and older.
  • If it rains on September 9:  call the Arlington County Inclement Weather Line (703) 228-4715.  If Arlington County closes the field (the recording will say, ‘diamond fields are closed’) then the event is canceled.

Where is it?  Quincy Park is bordered by N. Quincy St, Washington Boulevard, 10th Street, and N. Nelson St.  The diamond fields are located at the corner of 10th Street and N. Nelson St.  You can park in the library lot, along 10th St, or along Nelson St.

What should I bring?  Anything you might need to play–  glove, bat, fireball, water, sense of humor, knee brace, energy bar, hat, those cool gloves that Harper wears…

Can I just watch?  Of course!  We love fans.  Make signs.  Bring foam fingers.  Wear a morph suit.

Is there anything else to do at Quincy Park?  Yep.  The playground is big and awesome.  And there is a library–  though they frown on balls being thrown indoors.

Here is a map:

Map of Quincy Park

Can I just join you for dinner?  You betcha.  People will start heading to Rocklands around 5 after kickball.  The next crew will show up at 6 and then we will stay till they run out of that delicious corn pudding.

Come for the fun.  Come for chance to nail someone with a kickball.  Come meet new friends.  Come for the barbecue.  Just come on out…

Welcome to fall at Restoration.

-David

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+

Come to the Cross: An invitation and a story

Written by Steve Brooks

This is a personal invitation for you to come to the cross, both literally and spiritually. On Good Friday at 8:45 a.m. Restoration Anglican Church will do something new – we will have a “Procession of the Cross” from our house to the church. (See details below.) It is a one-mile journey that I have dreamed of for years and everyone is invited to participate.

Here is a little context and history as to what we are doing and why. Over the course of Restoration’s history, I have built five crosses for the church. Three of these crosses are currently used by Restoration full-time, one stands in my backyard (which we use on Good Friday) and the last one was retired a few years ago. I have a passion for making crosses. David and Matt have been very kind to let me apply my passion through cross making for our church.

CrossforGoodFriday

With that said, we need to get the Easter cross to church. And why not do this in a way that bestows the reverence the cross deserves and process with it in remembrance of how Jesus was forced to carry the cross on which he died so that our sins would be forgiven.

The procession will take about 45 minutes, and once we arrive at the church, we will lay the cross down in the sanctuary and everyone will be invited to nail your sins to the cross. There will be paper, pens, hammers and nails provided.

Prior to the service on Friday night the cross will be raised up with all the sins upon it and then at the end of the service the cross is removed in silence. On Saturday night, the cross is set up outside of the church and we remove the sins and burn them in the fire-pit before we enter for the Easter Vigil service. It is amazing.

So please – come to the cross.

I also invite you to come to another cross: the big one at the front of the sanctuary. Most people don’t make it past the communion rail, so please accept this invitation, too. This cross arrived last Easter and was a year behind schedule. When I first started building it for Easter 2015, a worktable collapsed and broke one of my knuckles. It took some time for my hand to heal before I could begin work again. It was a spiritual journey working on this cross, and I am grateful for how God worked through and in me in so many ways: That’s a whole other blog post.

As you come to the cross I invite you to touch it. The vertical section is made from 60-year-old Canadian red pine that came from a house renovation and the cross piece is a red oak beam that supported a tobacco barn in Richmond, Virginia that was built in 1910. Although they are different woods, the “red wood” was chosen specifically to represent the blood of Christ.

On both sides of the vertical section you will see 57 holes that have been filled with oak dowels – these filled holes represent our sins that have been forgiven. On the front of the vertical piece you will see two in-laid oak lines and one open cut that go from the top to the bottom of the cross. The oak in-lay comes from the original wooden cross that now hangs in the rafters at the back of the church. Have you noticed it? The in-lay represents the beauty of our forgiven sins, and the open cut in the middle represents the brokenness of humanity which will last until Christ returns and restores us fully.

The giant crack in the oak cross piece is faced forward for all to see as it represents the humanity of Christ and the brokenness he endured on Good Friday. When I saw it for the first time I knew it had to be the cross piece. Oak is one of the hardest woods and I find it amazing that it cracked as it did, what stress it must have been under. As I shaped this piece of wood I was reminded over and over again that God sent His only Son to live, be broken and die for our forgiveness.

I also invite you to come to another cross, the one that hangs in the rafters at the back of the church. This cross was hung in the sanctuary from 2010-2016 and moved last year. Although you can’t see the details of this cross (but check out the picture), it is a beautiful red oak beam from a Pennsylvania barn that was built in 1830. It is unique in so many ways with a history that is unknown. It hangs in the rafters as a representation that when we leave church every Sunday, we leave with the cross of Christ.

Finally, you are invited to visit the small processional cross that stands in the front right corner of the sanctuary – we used this cross at Restoration’s first service. It became the processional cross to lead the kids to their small groups and is now used at various times throughout the year. The red oak is from Home Depot, not much of a story there. The cross stand is made of leftover brick and Canadian red pine which were used to build our church.

Working with wood is more than a labor of love for me, it is a true blessing, especially in making a cross. While working, I play loud music, talk to God, pray and listen for His response. In these times of quiet I think about who I am, why I am here and I always ask God, “What do You want me to do next?” In these moments of “making,” I think about how God restores us in all things. His restoration goes beyond a few cuts here and there, some sanding, then oil and a final finish. His restoration brings us back to life. I can’t do that with an old barn beam, but He does it with us – it’s His promise.

My last invitation is for you to come to the cross and find Christ in a new way, find His restoration and know that no matter what, He loves you.

If you want to participate in the “Procession of the Cross” – send me an email and I will give you our address. brooks{at}potomacassociates.com.

Written by Steve Brooks

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