Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! (Psalm 95:1-2)
I am grateful to God for a glorious Sunday of worship last week. I hope that you were able to join us on our YouTube channel or in person. Bishop John and his wife, Meg, were with us. He preached a wonderful sermon in our 2 Corinthians series and then confirmed and received over twenty members of our congregation. The testimonies of faith and faithfulness were so meaningful.
After the service, we had our Parish Gathering to check in about our hopes and plans for this summer and beyond. I apologize that we were not able to broadcast it on our YouTube channel as promised. We have posted the audio and the slides to our website. I invite you to take a few minutes to listen and scroll through the good things that are happening here.
A quick recap of what we covered:
- June 13: Step up Sunday! We will recognize students that are moving from Kids’ Small Groups to Apex and graduates from high school, college, and graduate programs. Make sure that you have let us know that you are graduating!
- June 18: Morning and Evening Prayer are winding up.
- June 26: a morning of reflection and rest from 9:15 to 12pm in the sanctuary.
- July 18: an afternoon of pickleball and picnicking at Walter Reed Park and Tennis Courts
Good Things Grow Here
- Reminder of our metric: 100 new professions of faith, indicated by baptism or confirmation
- Reminder of our 4 objectives:
Strengthen our Strengths
Serve our Neighbors
Reach new People
These objectives have guided the work that our staff and vestry have been doing over the last 6 months. We highlighted 4 things:
- Alpha was a great success this past winter. It’s a place to ask and talk about lots of spiritual questions. I have asked Stephanie Dickerson to lead it again this fall in person. We will provide a meal and hopefully a lot of you will consider inviting a friend. When we think about reaching new people and seeing new professions of faith, Alpha is a highly effective tool to help people figure out what they believe.
- Over the last year, we have had dozens of people participate in a small group on issues of racial justice– they have used material like Be the Bridge, Howard Thurman’s Jesus and the disinherited, David Bailey’s Arrabon course, or the materials presented in An American Lament. In April, Laurel Taylor and Sarah Twaddell invited all of those people to consider being in racial justice working groups that are thinking about- our Sunday worship experience, our partnership with local churches that have a different ethnic majority than ours, our local outreach, and our communal growing. I am very grateful to Laurel and Sarah for spear-heading these conversations, grateful for the dozens of people who are participating in the working groups, and grateful for the action items that will emerge as we seek to serve our neighbors.
- Staff who grow disciples. As you have read, since December, we have had a lot of staff changes. I am grateful for who our team was last fall and grateful for who our team has become now 6 months later. God has consistently provided men and women who are gifted, dedicated, and called to serve as paid staff. We are blessed.
Kat Downs, our new executive director, and others have been working hard to continue hiring the positions that Restoration needs. I have already announced the hire of Chris Stephens as our new Director of Worship Arts; Lexi McMann as our full-time Apex Coordinator for high school students; and Ryan Goyer as our full-time Apex Coordinator for middle school students.
On Sunday, Kat announced the big news that Rev. Scott Buckhout has taken a full-time position as Assistant Rector at Restoration. His curacy will end on August 31. We are excited that he has agreed to another season of ministry with us. Thanks be to God!
Kat explained that we are still working on three areas of staff need: Kids’ Small Groups, Operations, and Curate. Please continue to pray for Kat, our personnel team and vestry as they work together on our budget and hiring process for these needs.
Our staff are the program drivers for all we are doing to grow disciples.
- Finally, our treasurer Dan Vogel gave a hope-filled presentation on our current financial position, our budget plans for Fy22, and our work to establish a plan to pay off our mortgage in ten years. Make sure you take a few minutes to listen to his part of the presentation. It starts at minute 23:41. Our financial health as a church is one of the strengths that we are making stronger.
So once again, thanks be to God for His abundant provision and His great joy. ‘The Lord reigns!’ We are glad.