Restoration Update re: COVID-19

Wednesday, March 19

Future Sundays on Quincy, Food Needs, Next…

Dear Restoration,

It has been good to see so many of you in various places of ‘socially distanced interaction’. Thank you for staying faithful to meeting and praying together. It has encouraged me and lifted each day.

I am writing with an update for this week (16-22 March). If you have questions or ways that we can help, please reply to me and someone from our team will get back to you as soon as we can.

Sunday Worship Changes

Based on the CDC recommendation that gatherings of 50 people or more be canceled for the next 8 weeks, Restoration will not be together on Quincy Street for corporate worship until Sunday, May 3 at the earliest. Our staff and vestry are saddened by this decision, but also confident that this is the appropriate response at this time. Our staff and volunteers are working on ideas for worship during Holy Week (April 5-12) and Easter. We will have more in the weeks to come.
The new ‘Normal Sunday Worship’

We will have a weekly worship service via Zoom on Sundays at 10am (EST). The log-in credentials can be found at the end of this email. We did a pilot on March 15 just to see if it would work. It did! We were surprised by what a gift it was to see each other, to hear the Scriptures read and taught, and to pray for our needs. Washington Post columnist, Kathleen Parker, did a wonderful story about her experience in our Zoom service. I hope you will join us this Sunday, March 22 at 10am.

In addition to our corporate worship, we are creating opportunities just for kids, youth, and college students.

Kids’ Small Groups

For kids aged 5th grade and below, Louise and Abigail will offer four, 15 minute Kids’ Small Groups via zoom each Sunday, starting at 8:45am:

8:45-9 Pre-K
9-9:15 Kindergarten and 1st grade
9:15-9:30 2nd-3rd grade
9:30-9:45 4th-5th grade
Louise will provide log-in details for Sunday Morning Kids’ Zoom Small Groups in the weekly parent’s e-newsletter. (It is a different log-in from our 10am worship service in which kids of all ages are invited to participate.)

APEX (6th grade to 12th grade students)

APEX will continue to provide regular small group opportunities on Sundays (6:30pm – 7:30pm) and Thursday Morning Bible / Book Study (8:00am – 9:00am) via zoom. APEX Sunday talks will be pre-recorded and the students are encouraged to watch the video prior to logging into their small group zoom call on Sunday. Details about how to log into the correct small group, Bible Study, one-on-ones, and group hangouts will be emailed to APEX parents and students directly this week.

College Students

On Wednesday evenings from 8-9:00pm, Scott Buckhout will host a small group Bible study for college students. We recognize COVID-19 has perhaps interrupted the lives of college students the most. Semesters ended prematurely or switched to online learning, and students have had to move back home. Wednesday evening will be a way to connect with others and to receive virtual encouragement in this unique season. All college students are welcome (even if they don’t normally attend Resto or live in the area). Feel free to invite friends.

Scott will provide Zoom log-in details in a separate email. He is also available to talk 1:1 over Zoom or by phone. You can reach Scott, here and 859-240-1439.

Confirmation Changes

With great sadness, we have canceled our visit from Bishop John that was scheduled for this Sunday, March 22. We have rescheduled both his visit and confirmations for this fall, November 7-8. We look forward to experiencing all that God will have for us on that day.

Morning and Evening Prayer: every day, Monday through Friday

Monday through Friday we are gathering via Zoom for Morning and Evening Prayer at 9am and 5pm, respectively. We will not pray corporately on Saturdays as this will be a sabbath for our staff. The instructions for logging in are at the end of this email. They are the same as Sunday morning prayer.

Food Support for Vulnerable Neighbors

Restoration has an ongoing partnership with one of our local elementary schools, Glebe Elementary. They have a number of households that are in need of food and are not able to get it through their normal channels. Restoration is providing a place for food collection and distribution while Arlington Public Schools is closed. Collection and distribution will happen on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. All of the information you need to participate and serve in this way can be found, here. We invite you to participate as much as you can and to the extent that you feel comfortable. Thanks for coming alongside our neighbors during this time.

How can we help?

Restoration staff and volunteers are trying to anticipate various needs and ways that we can serve. We would be delighted to know how we can help you in particular. Food or pharmacy delivery? Prayer? A conversation on the phone? Please respond to this email if there is something you need and someone from our team will help!

This morning we prayed, Psalm 42: “As the deer pants for flowing streams, so pants may soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” Our worship and prayer will look different in this season, but our thirst remains and can only be satisfied by His presence and grace. I invite you to anticipate how God will meet us in new and different ways in the days to come.
Grace. Peace. Joy. Faith.

-David

Here is the log-in info for Zoom. You will need to download Zoom if you plan on using the video functionality. There is also an app if you prefer to access through your phone.

Restoration is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Restoration Morning and Evening Prayer
Time: Monday-Friday, 9am and 5pm. Sundays, 10am.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/7267343342

One tap mobile
+16465588656,,7267343342# US

Monday, March 16 at 11am

We have decided that during this time of social distancing and self-quarantine, we will meet together every day for Morning and Evening Prayer via Zoom, a video conference call application. You can download Zoom here.

We will meet every morning at 9am for Morning Prayer, and every evening at 5pm for Evening Prayer.

Join the Morning and Evening Prayer meetings here.

Friday, March 13 at 3pm

I appreciate all of the encouraging feedback I received in response to the congregational letter I sent yesterday.  Thank you!

The leadership teams of Restoration have tried to make decisions each day in light of what we know that day (Matthew 6:34).  However, because of new information, the plans we announced yesterday need to change.

In light of Arlington Public Schools’ announced closing, and after consultation with our wardens and the rectors of neighboring churches, as well as at the request of Arlington County, Restoration has decided to cancel our gatherings for this weekend.  We will not have the Lenten retreat tomorrow (Saturday) and we will not gather for Morning Prayer on Sunday.  We had hoped to be together one more time on a Sunday before an extended time apart.  I know this was important for many of you and I am sorry that we can’t do it.

We are seeking to love our neighbor and to act wisely.  Those goals compel us to not provide any gatherings for the foreseeable future where the virus could spread.

We will communicate towards the end of next week (think Thursday or Friday) about any plans we have for a remote/video-enabled worship experience on March 22.  Pray for us as we figure it out.

I am grateful that you all are a part of our community.
-David

Thursday, March 12 at 3pm

Dear Restoration,

I am praying for you and inviting you to join me in prayer for our church, our community, and all those at the front lines who are keeping our community safe.  Our church is grateful for the good work that is being done by those in medical, scientific, and governmental professions.  Thank you.

Our staff and vestry continue to monitor closely the CDC and VA Department of Health recommendations regarding COVID-19.  We are aware of the new cases that have been confirmed in VA over the last week and we reviewed with particular interest the news about the first known case in Washington DC.  We know that large public gatherings in general and many churches in particular are moving towards closure.  We are committed to updating our corporate practices in line with how the situation is changing.  It is changing fast.  This letter will provide all of the information you currently need about our Restoration life together.

a pastoral insight:  God is holding us together

At my small group last night, someone asked me to provide some pastoral perspective on this virus.  I responded with the words of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:17 ‘… He [Jesus] is before all things and in Him all things hold together.’  God is ALWAYS the one who is holding everything together.  We are desperately dependent on Him keeping that post.  Sometimes, He lets our perceived sense of security and self-sufficiency be pulled back.  That is what we are feeling now as we receive words like pandemic and we watch plunging financial markets and we imagine life with public space that is closed.  We feel fragile and out of control.  But God is neither.  Just as He is holding things together when we feel ‘secure’, He is STILL holding things together when things feel less stable.  “The Lord IS my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped.”  (Psalm 28:7)

With that in mind, here are our plans in light of what we know, now.

Some Reminders:

    •     If you have symptoms of a cough, disease or a fever within the last 24 hours, please stay at home.  If you are returning from known areas of higher prevalence (CDC Level 3 countries) of COVID-19, we encourage you to self-quarantine for two weeks.  If you have a newborn or you are over 60 years of age, we encourage you to limit your exposure to large gatherings, including the ones at Restoration.
    •     Please wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds or longer with soap and warm water.  Remember that while alcohol-based hand sanitizers can kill bacteria, they have not been shown to be adequate against COVID-19 or other viruses.  Nothing beats good hand hygiene like soap and water.
    •     The counsel of most experts is that the spread of COVID-19 will continue and the best way to limit that spread is to limit contact with other people. Restoration vestry and staff are trying to be wise in light of these realities.

These are the changes that Restoration is making:

    •     In the interest of making decisions that reduce the risk of spreading the virus, Restoration will host only 2 public gatherings this weekend:  our Lenten retreat on Saturday, March 14 from 9am-12pm and a service of morning prayer on Sunday, March 15 at 10:00am.  Based on what we know now, these will most likely be our last public gatherings for a while.  
    •     The Lenten retreat will begin at 9am on Saturday (note time change).  Please bring your own, personal beverage and snack.  We will not serve any food or drinks.  We will encourage people to have social space of 6 feet.
    •     Morning Prayer will begin at 10am on Sunday (note time change).  It is a liturgy without Eucharist.  We will read from the Scriptures and pray for our needs and the needs of the world.  There will be musical worship but we will not take a financial offering.  (You can always use our on-line portal, CCB to give your tithe and offerings.)  There will be no Kids’ small groups or nursery on Sunday.  Children are welcome in the sanctuary.  We will encourage people to have social space of 6 feet and to not greet by touch.  This will be our only worship gathering on Sunday.  Our normal 9, 11, and 5 schedule is suspended.

What should we expect in the future for Restoration?

After this weekend, we are canceling our in-person gatherings for the foreseeable future. 

Specifically:

  • We will not have ‘in person’ Restoration adult small groups.  We are very grateful for our adult small group leaders.
  • APEX will not meet on Sunday, March 15.
  • Kids’ Small Groups, nursery, and APEX will not be offered until normal Sunday worship returns.
  • In partnership with Navs 20s/30s, we have canceled the Pints and Perspectives event at Rocklands on March 18.
  • We will have more information in the coming days about confirmation and our plans for March 22 when Bishop John is scheduled to visit.

We are working on ways for our congregation to stay connected.  

Specifically:

  • David will continue to host a weekly Zoom call with our leaders and volunteers.  
  • Our podcast for children and the adults who love them, Pray and Ponder, will continue to drop each weekday during Lent.
  • We will update our sermon podcast with the sermon for March 15.  We are not sure how we will offer sermons in the future, yet.  Stay tuned.

We are also exploring new ways for our congregation to interact remotely.  

This could include:

  • Small Group Bible discussions over video chat
  • Praying the Daily Office over video chat
  • A pastor leading a weekly prayer service with sermon over video chat

All of these are in the exploratory phase.

 

We encourage you to use our Restoration Guide to Prayer or this on-line Daily Office as a means to stay connected to God and praying for your needs and the needs of the world.  

 

I am committed to checking in with you weekly about updates and changes that we are implementing.  It will most likely happen through links in our Friday e-newsletter, rather than a broad email like this one.  If you would like to receive our Friday e-newsletter, you can sign up here

 

If you are sick or lonely, you can contact our pastoral staff, here.  Please choose ‘pastoral concerns’ from the drop-down menu.  This form will be seen by our clergy.  The clergy are also available via our pastoral emergency line:  (571) 766-6495.  We are still family in Christ, even if we are not all present in church.  Our staff and vestry are praying diligently for our congregation.

We invite you to remain steadfast in hope and prayer.  Our God is always at work.  Stay curious about what He might be inviting you into during these uncertain times.  There will be new opportunities to serve, learn and grow both individually and collectively as believers in Christ.  Let’s respond to Him with joy and glad service. 

 

We invite you to read Bishop John’s excellent pastoral letter to our diocese by clicking here. He has encouraged us to pray in this way:  

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Great Physician, who healed the sick, cured the blind and deaf and raised the dead, and who throughout all history holds dominion over disease and death: Arrest, cure, and eradicate the Coronavirus COVID-19, heal those who have been afflicted, and comfort those who have suffered due to this scourge; that those who suffer may know your healing heart and hand, that those who are anxious or burdened may know your comfort and your peace that passes understanding, that the watching world may know your sovereign authority, [prevailing] power, mercy, and grace, and that all may come to know and worship you; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

“The Lord is the strength of his people; He is the saving refuge of his anointed.  Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!  Be their shepherd and carry them forever.”  Psalm 28: 8-9

 

This has been my prayer for you.  


Sincerely,
-David

The Reverend David M. Hanke, Rector
Restoration Anglican Church