Letter to the Congregation from David (3/27/20)

Hi Restoration,

We are coming to the end of week #2 of social distancing and significant disruptions to our corporate life together.  I am again writing to tell you of new things we are creating and ways you can join us in responding to this crisis.

Here is the executive summary:

  1. Remote Worship: Everything you need to know about remote worship during a season of social distancing is here.  Bookmark this page and please use it every time you access a remote gathering.  We occasionally change a particular Zoom portal to minimize our exposure to hackers.  This page will always have the correct log-in.
  2. Financial Giving: We invite you to express your worship of God, your trust in His provision, and your partnership in what He is doing through Restoration by giving your financial tithes and offerings through our online portal
  3. Serving our neighbors and supporting our community:  Read below for decisions our vestry has made to set aside benevolence funds for a) Restoration members in need;  b) for households in Arlington County who need rent support; and c) for giving food support to our neighbors on Tuesday and Thursday each week.

That’s the short version.  Please continue reading for more information.

Remote Worship This Sunday: 29 March

At 8:45am, we will again host four 15 minute Kids’ Small Groups. 

At 10am, we will have corporate worship via Zoom.  We apologize for the difficulty logging on last week.  We have increased our capacity for participants, and you should have no problem participating this week.

At 11am, we are trying two new things: 

  1. Streaming Musical Worship via YouTube.  Our music team will be in our sanctuary on Quincy Street and they will stream a 30 minute musical worship block for you to join in from your home.  We are currently testing the technology and, if all works out, will pilot it on Sunday to see how it looks, sounds, and feels.  We hope you will try it this week!
  2. ‘After Service Prayer’ on Zoom. We will have a link that takes you to a Zoom site where you can confidentially pray with 2 of our intercessors for anything that God is doing in your life.

We will post a link to each of these during our 10am worship service.  When that service ends, you will be able to click over to the YouTube Live worship session or After Service Prayer or both!

Remember:  Everything you need to know about remote worship during a season of social distancing is here.  Bookmark this page.  It gives you entry to every remote gathering we have.

An Invitation to Give through Church Community Builder

Our vestry met this week.  We regularly track key metrics like Sunday attendance, small group participation, and financial giving.  All of our numbers were strong in February and we started March in great shape.  Thank you!

Many of you give your financial tithes and offerings through our online portal, CCB. Thank you for locking in your regularity. In addition, many of you give regularly through the offering baskets we pass during our Sunday worship.  In fact, 30-35% of our income comes through those baskets.  With the disruption to our normal worship schedule, we would like to invite those of you who normally give in our Sunday offering baskets to transition to giving through our online portal.  If you have any questions about how to set that up, please reach out to Kat Downs (kat [at] restorationarlington [dot] org.  Thank you for giving to the work God is doing through Restoration.

Serving our neighbors and supporting our community

The vestry is mobilizing Restoration’s finances to respond in three ways to the novel coronavirus. 

  1. Benevolence Fund for Restoration members: We know the global response to the novel coronavirus has created a lot of vocational and income uncertainty.  Restoration wants to provide financial resources that could be used to bridge gaps for people who attend our church. To that end, the vestry intends to set aside part of our operating funds to serve as a benevolence fund for people who attend Restoration and are experiencing financial need.  Your regular giving to our operating fund will allow our Vestry to continue to set aside what is required for these benevolence needs.We want everyone who attends Restoration to be aware that this fund exists AND we have created a discrete and private way for people to request disbursements.  Next week, we will send a link to a simple online form that will be received by a small committee overseen by clergy and vestry members.  We have initially identified three categories of need:  lost wages, health care costs, and unexpected costs due to quarantine.  There will be a set amount that is given for each request.  If you or someone you know has a financial need, please make them aware that this help is coming.  Please don’t be hesitant to request assistance.  We are a church community that wants to help each other.
  2. Rent Assistance for our Arlington Neighbors:  We are working with Arlington County Public Schools social workers to connect households who need help with rent with households in Arlington churches who want to sponsor them.  Sponsorship would entail a rental supplement of $500 in April and in May.  Once you have signed up to sponsor a family, you will be given a family’s last name and the name/address of that family’s leasing agency for the purpose of sending your rent support.  We invite you to pray for the family you have sponsored throughout these two months for peace rather than fear, for health, and for their general well-being.We will be collecting names of Restoration households who want to be sponsors, here.  I am grateful for the hard work of Arlington County social workers who are identifying and vetting these families.  We will give more information as soon as it becomes available.
  3. Glebe Food Pantry: Beth Tipps is coordinating our twice-weekly food pantry.  Thank you for generously giving groceries and serving in person.  We are joining with other food assistance programs to bridge the gap between what our neighbors have and what they need.  Restoration is serving about 50 families in our community each Tuesday and Thursday.  If you would like to participate, please bring groceries to the church between 10 and 1 on Tuesday and Thursday.  All of the information you need is here.

Holy Week

Holy Week begins April 5 with Palm Sunday.  Here is our schedule for all services via Zoom:

Sunday, April 5:  Palm Sunday Worship Service at 10am

Monday, April 6: Morning and Evening Prayer at 9am and 5pm

Tuesday, April 7:  Morning and Evening Prayer at 9am and 5pm

Wednesday, April 8: Morning and Evening Prayer at 9am and 5pm

Maundy Thursday, April 9:  Morning Prayer at 9am, Maundy Thursday Worship Service at 7:30pm

Good Friday, April 10:  Morning Prayer at 9am, Stations of the Cross at 12pm, Reflections on the 7 Last Words of Christ at 7:30pm

Saturday, April 11:  The Great Vigil of Easter at 7:30pm

Sunday, April 12:  Easter Sunday!  (Times and services to be determined)

I am so grateful for our congregation.  It has been a joy to pray with you each day. 

-David