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.