The vestry just had their final meeting of 2023! Following dinner and a time of prayer, we spent some time reflecting on the year- things we accomplished, how we worked together, and what important things are on the horizon. We also talked expectantly about what the Lord might have in store for us next year. In particular, we also expressed thanks for the work and faithfulness of those involved in the RestoWest project. Even though we wound that down after the summer, we felt the Lord move and work as we tried something new.
One of the key themes the latter half of this year was how to put our funds and resources to good, effective use that honors the Lord and those in our congregation that have faithfully given. In September, we exercised our new unfunded process. This gives the vestry a way to prioritize our needs and evaluate our financial health on a more frequent basis to ensure we are applying our funds in a wise and timely way. We also adopted a new Facilities Charter that gives Restoration staff more flexibility in addressing growing maintenance needs in our now nearly decade old building.
Of note, we also made a minor update to our Rector’s Succession Policy, incorporating best practices and lessons learned from the recent bishop election process and recent rector searches conducted by other churches. Specifically, the new change provides a future vestry option to consider internal and external rector candidates at the same time.
As we head into this Advent season, we celebrate how the Lord has worked through our church in so many ways this past year. Here are some other key events and accomplishments that happened during the second half of this year:
- Facilitated part 2 of David’s sabbatical giving him time to rest and reset!
- Upgraded chancel area (lighting, projectors, layout) for improved Sunday services
- Initiated HVAC review, conducted an energy audit and started to explore solar panels to steward our facility and environment
- Approved fence project for improved safety and new interior lighting project for energy saving and lower maintenance costs
- Held Evening of Prayer, Music, Discernment in October and Service of Healing in November
- As part of our yearly outreach giving, distributed funds to over 15 ministries and partner organizations
We are so grateful to God for his strong leadership through the year! As we look to 2024, a couple things stood out as important work to be done:
- Beginning to develop a clear vision for our church in our next season. “Good Things Grow Here” has provided an anchor for us to make decisions over the last few years, and we want to continue to develop the vision as our church grows and changes.
- Continuing to seek God’s will and plan accordingly as our average Sunday attendance grows.
- Looking for opportunities to partner with lay leaders who want to serve Restoration in leading us into new areas of outreach, teaching, discipleship, etc.
The vestry will celebrate the end of the year together at a party with the Resto staff next week. As part of this celebration, we will welcome our three newest members (Heather Raber, Hunter Weimer, and Karen Wrightsman) and say farewell to our outgoing class.
We are also looking forward to our vestry retreat in January, where we will have space to pray, listen to God, and brainstorm how to best serve our congregation and our neighbors. We long for our wealth of resources (financial, people, skills, etc.) to be used by God to bear much fruit in Arlington and surrounding areas. Please pray for us as we seek to make wise decisions! Looking forward to worshipping with you as we enter this Advent season!
Jen and Dennis