“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time…” (Ephesians 5:15-16a)
“…yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.” (James 4:14)
We all have those dates that we metaphorically (or actually!) circle on our calendars. We gaze out over the coming months and we know that the things that happen on THAT date are going to affect a lot of what comes before and after.
September 12 has got a big circle around it.
Our staff have been thinking about it all summer long!
For starters, it’s the day that in-person nursery to 5th grade Kids’ Small Groups come back to the 9:00 and 11:00 services. I have really enjoyed checking in with a bunch of you this month and hearing how excited you are for Kids’ Small Groups to return. Many of you will start (or restart!) Sunday routines that have been dormant for a long time. You have been waiting for Kids’ Small Groups to be back… and now they are! I can’t wait to see you on Quincy Street!
Then, in the evening, we kick off a new year of Apex. Yippee! If you are in 6th-12th grade, show up at 6:30pm for dinner, a great message, fun games, and meaningful Small Groups. Hope you can be there to start the year!
Important changes and reminders for how we are doing masks inside our building:
As we begin our programming for kids and because COVID-19 vaccines are not yet available for children under 12, our vestry has decided to make a change to Restoration’s guidance regarding masks during our Sunday services. Starting on September 12, at our 9am service, Restoration will require masks for every person aged 2 and up, everywhere in the building until 10:30am.
The Restoration 11am service will maintain our current practice: following CDC guidance, masks are recommended in the building for everyone, but not required.
If you are not vaccinated, we require that you wear a mask inside our building.
A special note for Kids’ Small Groups at both the 9am and 11am services: We are requiring masks for all kids, aged 2 and up, and all Kids’ Small Group Leaders.
The consensus (though not unanimous) view of our vestry and staff is that having one service (the 9am) where masks are required would both build a bridge to those households that are returning to in-person worship and would also create an environment for our kids that is similar to what public school children are experiencing under Gov. Northam’s mask guidance in the state of Virginia.
We want to be clear about what you can expect at each service: At the 9, everyone will be masked. At the 11, there may be a mix of masked and unmasked congregants.
A few more things to get excited about:
On September 12, after both the 9 and the 11, we will again offer our ‘Welcome to Restoration’ program. If you or someone you know is new to our church, we would love to have 15 minutes to talk about what God is doing at Restoration and how you can get involved in it. When the service ends, head upstairs to the coveted 3rd floor mezzanine area where I and some of our staff will be waiting with delicious snacks.
Adult small groups are also starting the week of September 12. There are lots of options to choose from and you can look for one that works for you, here.
Finally, this Sunday I am starting our fall sermon series from the Gospel of John, Restored by Grace, with a sermon called The World Hates Jesus. It sounds harsh, but it’s Jesus’ own assessment of His experience- “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you…” (John 15:18) We will pick up that idea in John 7-9, chapters that provide a robust introduction to the person of Jesus while not shying away from the ways people felt about Him. Along the way Jesus will offer rivers of living water, light in the darkness, truth that sets us free, and healing from our blindness. Restoration and grace. I can’t wait to take this journey with you over the fall.
Friends, in addition to our excitement, I also know that this is a time of great uncertainty. The coronavirus is still with us and challenges abound as we each try to make wise decisions regarding the activity of our household. We will continue to offer our YouTube Live broadcast starting at 9am on Sundays. I and our staff are doing a lot of walking with Restoration people and sitting on Restoration porches. If you want to have an outdoor chat, feel free to reach out at any time. I am grateful for all of the ways that we can stay connected to each other in this season.
We know that our time is precious. That’s why we circle those dates- so we don’t miss them! I hope you can join us for all that is starting up on September 12.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom… Satisfy in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90: 12,14)