Asking Hard Questions

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Faith:  abandoned or pursued?

At Restoration this fall we are talking about the questions that trip us up as we walk towards Jesus and his church.  We want to deliberately consider the good and challenging questions that ultimately form the basis for this question:

“Does faith in God make sense for thinking people today?”

Every person currently has an operating answer to that question.

For a lot of people, the answer is ‘no.’  The subtext for that no can be things like:  ‘I am doing fine and I never think about God.”  “I can’t imagine wanting to be a part of something that believes this about this.”  “Um, I’ve met Christians and…  no thanks.”  The no can be active opposition or tacit disinterest.

For a lot of people, the answer is ‘yes’.  But every ‘yes’ is on the other side of processing lots of ‘Nos’ and ‘What about this(es)…’

So we are trying to create opportunities for that question, ‘Does faith in God make sense?’ to keep coming to the surface.  We want you to have strong convictions about your answer-  to have thought it out.  To that end, we are asking 5 difficult questions in our fall sermon series.  These are questions that sometimes make us end up saying, ‘I can’t see how faith in God makes sense.  This question is too hard.’   I am making no promises that we will settle these questions for you, but I am promising that Restoration is a place where you can ask them honestly and without varnish.

I invite you to come each Sunday with your head, heart, maybe a journal, and maybe a friend.

I invite you to actively participate in a small group this fall.  Registration is open and you can sign up here.  The people in your small group will listen to the way you are wrestling with this question.  They will laugh and pray with you.  They will join you in your journey as we walk towards Jesus who is walking towards us.

Here are the questions:

September 8:  Can people really change?  You can hear the audio of this sermon, here.

September 15:  Why does the Bible say different things about men and women?  Why does Christianity seem to give women such a bad deal?  Who needs that?

September 22:  Is Christianity irrational?  Is it reasonable to have faith in God?  Isn’t ‘god’ just a lame way to explain away the things we can’t understand?  “I would rather trust science and stuff I can see than a God whom I can’t.”  

September 29:  Is the Bible pro-slavery?  Why has the Bible been used to prop up institutions of evil and to promote division between ethnicities?  

October 6:  Why is Christianity so intolerant?  Aren’t all religions the same?  Why does Christianity think it is uniquely right?  Why is Christianity so judgy of other people’s behavior?  I should be able to do whatever I want as long as I don’t hurt anyone else.  

It will be an interesting few weeks!  I hope you can join us in person on Quincy Street or catch us on the podcast during the week.  Do you have a question that makes you wonder if faith in God makes sense for thinking people today?  I’d love to hear it.  Feel free to comment below.

-David Hanke, Rector

Restoration 2025: Update and Request for Plans!

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Restoration,

We have been hard at work gathering input about the things you love about our church and the hopes you have for what our church will become.  Thank you!

This is a (long) update about what we know and what we don’t know in July 2019 about our Restoration 2025 Strategic Plan.

Here is an overview of what you can read below:

  1. It starts with a preamble that isolates some of our ‘unknowns’.  We want to acknowledge that we need to ‘save space’ for the unknown ways that God might surprise us.
  2. It then pivots to what we do ‘know’ because of your excellent feedback given through your survey responses and congregational input sessions.
  3. Then it employees a thought exercise about the answers we would like to get to a hypothetical congregational survey in 2025.  Imagine our joy in getting those responses!
  4. Finally, it asks for your input:  What plans should we put in place now in order to get the ‘2025 survey responses’ that we desire?

We are ready to read and to hear your tactical and specific ideas for plans that we should implement.  As your ideas materialize, we invite you to share them on this form.

We are SO grateful for the way our congregation has engage this process.  Thank you for praying, for responding, for writing, and for peering forward with hope to what God has for Restoration, next!  We can’t wait to see it!

-David

(As a note of clarity, when I use ‘we’, I am referring primarily to the Restoration leadership team of vestry and staff, but ‘we’ also reflects the over 300 survey responses and hundreds of sticky notes from Restoration members.)

Preamble:  Isolating Unknowns

From the vantage point of July 2019, Restoration leaders are trying to see where God is taking Restoration in 2025.  Your feedback through our congregational input sessions, hundreds of sticky notes, and over 300 survey responses has really helped the leadership of Restoration to hear what you like about and what you are longing for in our church.  Thank you.

There are a few things that affect our visibility to 2025.  They are not bad or good.  They just are.  As followers of Jesus, when we encounter stuff that makes it hard to see, we increase our prayer and we cry out for discernment.  And we trust that God will help us.  He will.

Here are the ‘unknown unknowns’ that we are trying to isolate so that we can focus on the tangible plans we want to make. 

  • Unknown #1:  We are a church full of people with ideas and resources.   The creativity and potential within our community is astounding.  We want to pursue and build the ideas we have now, in 2019.  We also recognize that lots of ideas grow here.  So we want to ‘save some space’ for those ideas that might emerge in the next 5 years.  We are not sure what it means to ‘save some space’, yet, but we know it is important.
  • Unknown #2:  We don’t know what new ideas will come through our doors or grow up in our pews.  Most of our church is in a stage of life that fosters change and transition:  Kids are growing from nursery to APEX.  Adults have changing jobs, increasing responsibility, and growing incomes.  Our area has a lot of transience.   Generally we experience a turnover of about 100 people each year.
  • Unknown #3:  Restoration has the potential for a lot (more) staff transition between now and 2025.  Specifically the addition of a new Director of Worship Arts will significantly change our most visible experience:  our Sunday Liturgy.  We must be praying every day for this person and the way music and art will change in our church.  (Remember how much staff change we have already experienced in the last 5 years: 14 people were added to our team and 9 people left our team.  That’s a lot of change for a staff team that has hovered around 8 people for those five years.)
  • Unknown #4:  What is the threat or opportunity that is represented by our mortgage due date (July 2023)?  How do we continue to be a good steward of our building-  managing the capital expense (mortgage), the maintenance expense, and seeking to make it available to everyone that we can?

We are isolating these ‘unknowns’ so that we can focus on the ‘knowns’ for which we are trying to plan.  We invite you to pray about these things.  Perhaps God will grant us more clarity in the months to come. 

What we DO know:

May 2019 Survey

Here is the most salient feedback that we received from our May 2019 Congregational Survey.

[338 total people took the 2019 survey. 

  • 82 out of 338 (24% of respondents) used the link that was sent to our core leadership team (for this document, ‘core leadership team’ refers to the 135 vestry, staff, and small group leaders of Restoration).
  • 82 out of 135 represents 61% of the people on that core leadership team. 
  • 255 out of 338 survey respondents attend Restoration. 
  • 83 respondents no longer attend Restoration.  Those who no longer attend were not given the feedback questions about current Restoration programs.]

The 2019 congregational survey said these things: 

  1. The primary things that people are looking for when they choose a church:  preaching/teaching (98%), music (85%), ability to form friendships (82%), Small Groups (81%) are things that Restoration is doing well.
  2. Restoration does a great job serving kids (92% said that Resto serves this group well) and families (91% said that Resto serves this group well).
  3. Restoration is not great at sharing the Gospel with those outside the church nor teaching people how to share the Gospel.  This is a place where we could improve.
  4. Restoration members are passionate about growth.  They want to grow closer to Jesus and they want to see an increase in the number of people making commitments to follow Jesus because of the efforts of our church. 

 

What if we offered another Restoration Survey in 2025?

The leadership of Restoration is working to articulate 2 goals that came out from our 2019 survey feedback:

  1. We want to use the resources of Restoration to seek after strategic groups of people that are under-served by Christ-filled communities. We want to build/create things together that will compel people who are outside the church to come in to friendship with Jesus and friendship with people at Restoration.
  2. We want people who attend Restoration to grow closer to God by trusting Jesus in everything and being filled with the Holy Spirit.  We think these people will have a compelling story of God’s power to restore broken people by grace which they can share with those in their sphere of influence who are not in a church.

If those goals were accomplished in the next 5 years, how might people respond to a 2025 congregational survey?  Here are some examples:

  1. In response to the question, did you decide to follow Jesus in the last 5 years, we would like over 100 people to say ‘yes’. This would be one of the products of Restoration growing disciples who tell a compelling story about life in God’s Kingdom and seeking groups of people around us with winsome invitations to consider Jesus and gracious acts of service. 
  2. In response to a question about being an active member of a small group, we would like 100% of people to have been in a small group in the previous year (1 out of 3 trimesters). We would like the diversity (kind, length, focus) of small groups to increase.  We believe that small group involvement is still the primary metric for measuring people choosing opportunities to help them grow.
  3. We would like an increased correlation between age (mid 20s to mid 30s) or location (The Orange Line Corridor) and involvement in:  a Restoration service, a Restoration small group, a Restoration mentoring relationship.  We think this group of people is strategic for Restoration because of the people who attend Restoration and the location of our building (very close to Metro).  The service or small group might be something new that we created or it could be a concerted effort to integrate people in that age and location into current services and small groups of diverse demography.
  4. In response to the question, “in the last year, how many times have you served at RILA or one of our local outreach partners?”  We would like an increase in involvement by people who regularly attend Restoration.  We think that our partnership with RILA is critical.  We want to more holistically serve RILA clients.  We want everyone at Restoration to have an opportunity to serve RILA clients.
  5. In response to the question, ‘Do you give a 5-10% portion of your annual income to the work that God is doing through Restoration?’  We would like 100% of people to say ‘yes’.  In response to the question, ‘Has this percentage increased in the last five years?’  We would like 100% of people to say yes.  We think generosity and trusting Jesus with our money is a critical discipleship issue for people in our congregation.
  6. In response to the question, ‘Have you told a friend or neighbor about your relationship with God in the past 6 months?’  We would like 100% of people to say ‘yes’.  As a follow-up, ‘Have you invited that person to follow Jesus?’  We would like 100% of people to say ‘yes’.  Restoration is currently good at engaging the nuance of spirituality in Arlington County.  We need to grow in boldness and willingness to ‘close the deal’ with our friends.

 

Plans that might lead to those survey results

If these potential survey results get us excited, what kinds of things would Restoration need to do to bring them about? 

The leadership of Restoration is very engaged in ‘plan brainstorming’ right now.  If you read these goals and potential survey responses and think of plans that might help us achieve them, we would love to know.  As your ideas materialize, we invite you to share them on this form.     

Here are some notes to help you articulate your ‘plan’ idea:

  1. Please be very specific and tactical in your plan.    
  2. If you can estimate cost in terms of dollars in the budget or hours per week needed from staff/volunteers, that would be helpful. 
  3. If your plan is to hire someone, be as specific as you can about characteristics this person would need to have. 
  4. If your plan is to create a structure or a program, tell us how it will work.  Would we need to eliminate or change a current plan to implement your plan?

To help you think of plans that might lead to those survey results, here are 4 questions to get you started.  We invite you to share them on this form.

How do we maintain/sustain and improve what we do well today.  What would help us decouple the things we do well from the individuals who do them?  

Potential things to focus on include:  Gospel teaching & worship, Small groups, Kids small groups, Global outreach

  1. In five years, what would success look like?  E.g., Restoration has amazing kids small groups, and a strong set of volunteers and clear ‘succession planning’ to backfill key staff.
  2. What are specific ideas or suggestions we should consider to achieve success?  E.g., Have each staff member/volunteer leader build a ‘handbook’ for their core responsibilities (calendar, cheat-sheet of names/numbers, policies/procedures, etc.)

 

How do we grow disciples within our church?  What plans will catalyze people who attend Restoration growing closer to God by trusting Jesus in everything and being filled with the Holy Spirit?

    1. What would success look like?  E.g., Restoration is a church full of first-time visitors and new Christians who came because they were invited.
    2. What specific ideas or suggestions should we consider?
      E.g., community/teaching events (like the technology for families event) every month
      E.g., specific classes or small groups talking about apologetics and/or how to share the gospel

 

How do we serve our local community better?  How do we grow our partnership with RILA?  Are there new local partners whom we should engage?

E.g., Restoration is known in the community for our service to our neighbors, and there are members of our church who got to know us through this service.
E.g., We have increased our support to RILA by doing…

  1. What would success look like?
  2. What specific ideas or suggestions should we consider?

 

How do we use the resources of Restoration to seek after strategic groups of people that are under-served by Christ-filled communities?  Specifically how do we seek and invite young adults and people who live along the Orange Line Corridor?

E.g., Restoration has a vibrant young adult ministry or a Fellows Program or a second van to pick people up at the Metro on Sundays or…

    1. What would success look like?
    2. What specific ideas or suggestions should we consider?

 

As your ideas materialize, we invite you to share them on this form.

We are excited to share a draft of our 2025 Strategic Plan at our Congregational Vision Night on September 10 at 7pm in our sanctuary.  Until then, please pray and share your ideas!

-David

Here is the form for your ideas.

Wardens’ Report: June 2019

2019 Wardens

The Wardens’ Report: a brief summary of highlights from monthly Vestry meetings, designed to provide information about our growth, finances, priorities and progress towards our strategic plan.

At our June 18th vestry meeting, we enjoyed dinner together and prayer before starting the meeting. This month, Brad Jones led us through prayer which included a time of intercession and prayer for Isaiah Brooms, our Director of Youth Ministries. We prayed that above all every middle school and high school student who enters Restoration would know how precious they are and how deeply loved they are loved by the amazing God who created them. We prayed over and gave thanks for our youth leaders without whom APEX would not be possible. We gave thanks for how APEX has grown in the last year. We prayed over Isaiah’s final coursework as he finishes seminary and gave thanks for all he has learned during his intensive year of study. We prayed for Isaiah and his family that they would grow together as a family and they would have peace and rest. Additionally, we prayed for those sick in our community, for the hiring of a new Director of Worship Arts, for wisdom in our budgeting process, and for the Strategic Plan (Restoration 2025). As always, we invite you to join us in praying over the staff, vestry and all of God’s work on Quincy Street.

In our meeting, we received an encouraging update from Incarnation Anglican Church and gave thanks for the hard work Incarnation has done to grow into the church that it is. We began thinking and praying about who will represent Restoration as Delegates at the DOMA Synod in November.

David Hanke led us in a discussion of our Strategic Plan (Restoration 2025). We spent some time reviewing the survey results we collected last month (thank you to all who filled out the survey–every comment was noted!) and then pivoted to next steps. We continued a discussion that we began during a vestry brunch with +John Guernsey about what we dream for Restoration in five years (and beyond) and what we believe God is calling our church to do and to be. We are grateful for the work of our Strategic Planning Advisory Team and welcome your prayers as we continue working on this plan.

Brad Jones, our treasurer, led us through a financial report that showed May giving was 24% over projections bringing our current annual offerings received to just 8.75% below projections versus the 12%-below that we’ve been experiencing for several months. We are grateful for this news and the generosity of our congregation–thank you. Brad also presented two options from our finance team for fiscal year 2020 (Restoration’s fiscal year runs September to August). The vestry will vote on the budget at their July meeting. They are currently looking to hold our budget steady (which is essentially the FY18 offerings budget) or make approximately 5% in cuts compared to the FY18 budget.

Johanna Montague, one of our wardens and our liaison with our personnel team, gave a brief update on the hiring process. We are thankful for the hiring of Ryan Goyer as our new Communications Coordinator. Ryan has been in the Restoration office for training and officially joins our team in July. We are in the interview process with several candidates for the Director of Worship Arts position and we ask you to join us in praying that we find the right candidate for this position. Finally, we are delighted to have Scott Buckhout back as our summer intern.

If you have questions, concerns, words of wisdom or encouragement, please know that we are open to your feedback. You can read an archive of past Wardens’ Reports on our website or Vestry Meeting minutes on CCB, under the ‘Files’ tab in the ‘Entire Church Group’

– Chris Belen and Johanna Montague, Wardens

 

The Matthew 25 Gathering Video Re-Cap

The M25G Logo

 

Hey Restoration,

Remember those snowy days back in February when we hosted a bunch of Anglicans from around North America who are doing works of justice and mercy?  You all were incredible hosts.  You served and served and served-  praying, driving people around, putting people in your home, cleaning up, setting up, showing up.  I am still so grateful.  I think about you doing what you did and I break out in smiles.  Thank you again.

The Gathering was 4 months ago and lots has happened since, but it is a 2019 highpoint for me-  especially when I think about the joy I had as we rolled up our sleeves and partnered together.

One of our good friends created this video summary of the Gathering.  It will be shown next week at our Anglican Church in North America Provincial Assembly.  Thousands of people will get a chance to see what happened here in February.  I wanted to give you a sneak peak and to say again, thanks.

With you in it,

David

 

Wardens’ Report: May 2019

2019 Wardens

The Wardens’ Report: a brief summary of highlights from monthly Vestry meetings, designed to provide information about our growth, finances, priorities and progress towards our strategic plan.

At our May 28th vestry meeting, we enjoyed dinner together and prayer before starting the meeting. This month, Danny Lee led us through prayer which included a time of intercession and prayer for Louise Brooks, our Director of Kids’ Small Groups. We prayed that above all every child who enters Restoration would know how precious they are and how deeply loved they are loved by the amazing God who created them. We prayed over our nursery and the staff that care for our youngest children and, for our kids’ small groups, that we would be wise as we disciple our kids well. We gave thanks for our kids’ small groups leaders and how generously they serve each year. We prayed for new leaders to come this summer and fall (if you are interested in joining our kids’ ministry by leading a small group, please contact Louise). We prayed for peace, joy and clarity for Louise and her family as they pursue all that God has for them. Additionally, we prayed for those who are sick in our community, for the hiring of two new positions, and for the Strategic Plan (Restoration 2025). As always, we invite you to join us in praying over the staff, vestry and all of God’s work on Quincy Street.

In our meeting, we received an encouraging update from Incarnation Anglican Church and voted to approve their Articles of Incorporation. This is a big and exciting step for Incarnation as it is one of six requirements for moving from Mission to Congregation status in DOMA.

Brad Jones, our treasurer, led us through a financial report that showed April giving was better than originally expected and the budget shortfall this year seems to be holding steady at approximately 12% below budget. Our finance team has already begun budget preparations for fiscal year 2020 (Restoration’s fiscal year runs September to August) and is currently looking to hold our budget steady or make approximately 5% in cuts to the FY19 budget.

Johanna Montague, one of our wardens and our liaison with our personnel team, gave a brief update on the hiring process for the position of Director of Worship Arts and for the position of Communications Coordinator. Both positions remain open to applicants until May 31 and we invite any interested parties to apply. You can find more information for yourself (or someone you may think is interested) here.

We spent the remainder and majority of our evening preparing for the congregational meeting on May 29th about the termination of Matt Hoppe’s employment. If you were unable to attend the meeting and/or have questions about its content, please contact a member of our vestry.

If you have questions, concerns, words of wisdom or encouragement, please know that we are open to your feedback. You can read an archive of past Wardens’ Reports on our website or Vestry Meeting minutes on CCB, under the ‘Files’ tab in the ‘Entire Church Group’

– Chris Belen and Johanna Montague, Wardens

 

Resto2025 Congregation Survey

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Restoration 2025

This is our 10th year as a church!  We have a big birthday to celebrate when we get to November.  One of the gifts that our leadership is giving to the church is a strategic plan that will guide us over the next five years.  We are grateful for all of the input our congregation has given so far and we look forward to many more fruitful conversations in the future.

From May 8 until midnight on May 19, we are hosting a survey for you to give your feedback about the things that Restoration is doing well, the ways that you are growing closer to Jesus, and the opportunities that we have to be more effective in the work God has given us to do as a church.  The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and I hope that all of you will choose to do it.  We thank you in advance for the investment of your time.

You can access the survey, here.

We have been working on this plan since September 2018.  Want to read an archive of our progress?  Click here and pray as you go.

Thanks for being a part of the first ten years of Restoration.  We are excited about what’s to come!

-David

Update on the 5pm Service

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Hi Restoration,

We have a special community that gathers at 5pm on Sunday evenings for worship.  We wrote a bunch of reasons for why we love it.  Over the last 6 months, I have been facilitating a conversation with that community about the ways God is using that service and the ways we are experiencing Him in the midst of it.  Those conversations have been so encouraging. 
In light of that encouragement and the dearness of that community to me, it makes me sad to have to tell you that in consultation with our staff team and our vestry, we have concluded that it is necessary for Restoration to not offer a 5pm worship service starting on June 23.

How did we arrive at that conclusion?

  • First, I had already announced on March 31 that we were not going to offer the 5pm during August for the purpose of refreshing our staff and volunteers.
  • The next week, on April 5, Matt Hoppe resigned as Director of Worship Arts and Prayer.  His resignation has created an increased work load for each of our staff.  That increase shows up all week long.  One of the ways to give some of this time back to our staff is to not offer the 5pm during a longer portion of the summer.
  • In addition, Matt’s resignation created a significantly greater burden on our volunteer musicians as they cover 3 services on a Sunday.  One of the ways to reduce that burden is to not offer the 5pm service.
  • In my sermon on the season of winter, I said that one of winter’s activities is pruning.  We prune for the sake of more robust growth in the future.  It is my sincere hope that pruning the offering of a 5pm service will actually bring more robust growth for Restoration in general and for this 5pm service in particular.
  • We chose June 23rd as the first date to not offer a 5pm service because our Kids’ Small Groups conclude on June 16.  Summer programming begins on June 23 and that was a natural point in our life together to cease offering the 5pm.

If you regularly worshiped at the 5pm with us, what are your options for Holy Eucharist Worship?

1.  We would be so delighted for you to join us at the 9 or 11 during the summer.  There will be kids’ small groups for pre-school and younger at both services.  I hope that you will choose to adjust your Sunday rhythm and join us in the morning.
2.  Should you choose to seek out an afternoon Eucharistic service, may I recommend our church plant, Incarnation Anglican Church which meets in South Arlington or our Anglican friends at Church of the Ascension which meets in Annandale at 4pm.  I am happy to get you connected with their pastoral leadership, should you choose that.
It is my current hope and intention that we will again offer a 5pm service at Restoration, starting on September 8, 2019.  However, I have been surprised by several things in the past few months, which is why I say ‘current hope and intention’.  May the Lord make His will and His fruit clear in the months to come.
I am grateful for the work God is doing through our church.  Feel very free to reach out to me with questions or concerns.
And pray for Restoration.
-David

Wardens’ Report: April 2019

2019 Wardens

The Wardens’ Report: a brief summary of highlights from monthly Vestry meetings, designed to provide information about our growth, finances, priorities and progress towards our strategic plan.

At our April 30th Vestry meeting, we enjoyed dinner together, and we prayed before starting the meeting.  This month, we read Psalm 145 together, and we prayed for our church. We prayed for the amazing Restoration staff team and we prayed for RILA.  We prayed that God would reveal His vision for our Church as we work on a new strategic plan, for energy and God’s love to be poured out on the staff who are serving our church-family in so many ways new and old, and for wisdom and provision as we seek to hire key roles in a time when our finances are tighter than in the past.  We also gave thanks and praise for RILA’s recent successes, which will bring both security and opportunity for clients and a sense of divine encouragement for the RILA staff and volunteers who serve so many in times of deep practical and spiritual need.  As always, we hope that you will pray with us for all the staff, vestry and God’s work here at Quincy Street.

In our meeting, we discussed the progress of the strategic planning process, as well as exciting ideas for how Restoration will celebrate its tenth anniversary (!) this fall.  If you can’t wait to share an idea, vision, or dream you’ve received for Restoration in 2025, use this email address or this form to submit that important information.  And be watching for other upcoming opportunities to pray and give input about the next chapter in our life together.  

We also received a great update from Incarnation Anglican Church.  Our Vestry serves as Incarnation’s vestry during this interim phase as Incarnation builds its own foundation within our diocese.  This month, we also approved Incarnation’s recommendation for one of their members to proceed toward ordination as a Vocational Deacon.  God is good! And it is so exciting to watch our friends at Incarnation to continue to build community together and share God’s love in South Arlington.  

The Vestry discussed conversations and questions received from the congregation in connection with Matt Hoppe’s resignation earlier this month.  The Vestry discussed ongoing efforts to gather information from and care for people inside and outside our congregation during this time of transition.

This month, the Vestry also received a financial update from Brad Jones, our Treasurer.  March giving was again below anticipated levels. Giving in March was 17% below our budgeted or predicted giving.  This continued a general trend that the Finance Team and the Vestry have been closely monitoring since the beginning of the fiscal year last September.  While Restoration’s expenses also have been running under-budget, the Vestry discussed how this may impact next year’s budget as well as hiring decisions in the coming months.  The Vestry also decided that we will not pursue a capital campaign in 2019, which had been previously considered after suggestions from Vision Night last fall.

David led a discussion about several staffing needs, some of which have gone unfilled for some time.  Our staff work so faithfully to serve our community in ways visible and invisible.  They are constantly taking on more responsibilities and opportunities to serve. We are so grateful for them.  Please pray for them and say “thank you” in whatever way you feel led over the coming weeks. Another way we can care for our staff is by identifying and hiring new colleagues to share the work involved in making Restoration an attractive and powerful place to experience God and a community of believers.  The Vestry discussed some proposals for specific potential job descriptions that would serve Restoration very well in the months and years to come. This was an initial discussion, but stay tuned for possible job postings that could be a perfect fit for you or your friends.

The Vestry also discussed extending the normal summer “time-off” for the 5 p.m. service in order to support our staff by changing their Sunday schedule. This break will begin on Sunday, June 23rd and continue through the end of August. If you have questions about this change in Sunday schedule or are looking for alternative ways to receive Holy Eucharist, please check out this blog post.

As you can see, our meeting included discussion of significant topics, but—through it all—we were reminded by the Psalm we started with.  God is with us, He is steadfast and faithful, and we are excited to see how He leads us forward in accordance with His plan. Want to be a part of what’s next?  Join a small group.  If you’re new-ish, come to the New To Restoration Dinner on May 7.  Give your time, talent, and treasure to what God’s doing.  And, above all, pray for our staff and vestry, and praise God for all He has done and is doing through Restoration.  

As always, if you have questions, concerns, words of wisdom or encouragement, please know that we are open to your feedback.  You can read an archive of past Wardens’ Reports on our website or Vestry Meeting minutes on CCB, under the ‘Files’ tab in the ‘Entire Church Group.’  You can also plan ahead to attend our next Parish Meeting on June 2nd.

God’s peace to all of you,

– Chris Belen and Johanna Montague, Wardens

 

Wardens’ Report: March 2019

The Wardens’ Report: a brief summary of highlights from monthly Vestry meetings, designed to provide information about our growth, finances, priorities and progress towards our strategic plan.

At our March 26th vestry meeting, we enjoyed dinner together and prayer before starting the meeting. This month, Kevin Marshall led us through prayer which included a time of intercession and prayer for Nathan Dickerson, our associate rector. We prayed over Nathan’s work as he cares for our small group leaders and recruits leaders for the upcoming Spring trimester (which begins the last week of April). We gave thanks for Nathan’s work among the men in our congregation and how he cares for and shepherds them so well. We prayed that Nathan and his family would have a restful time away next month and that God would bless and guide each of them in their daily work and life. Additionally, we prayed over our strategic plan and the work being done to prepare it. We prayed that we would hear God’s voice as he leads Restoration in the process of discerning our next five years. As always, we hope that you will pray with us for all the staff, vestry and God’s work on Quincy Street.

In our meeting, we received an encouraging update on Incarnation and approved a memorandum of understanding with Incarnation providing them with back office support. This a generous and helpful gift we are giving to our friends and we are grateful to be able to help them in this way for six months into the next fiscal year. Additionally, we approved changes to our advisory teams and the hiring of a contractor during an upcoming maternity leave.

Brad Jones, our treasurer, led us through a financial report that showed February giving was again below anticipated levels. The vestry has prepared a letter for members updating them further on our financial situation. You can expect to see if in your mailbox early next week.  If you are not a member of Restoration and would like to see a copy, you can email Kat Downs.

David led a discussion with the vestry about the strategic planning process. We had a chance to hear feedback from the first congregational input session that occurred on March 17th and hear an update from the strategic plan advisory team. (Our current strategic plan ends this year.) As we celebrate ten years as Restoration Anglican Church, this is an appropriate moment to pause and look ahead to 2025. We are grateful for what God has done and anticipate His continued good work in the next five years.

We look forward to hearing from you: what is God saying to you about Restoration 2025? We invite you to join the Strategic Planning Advisory Team this Sunday, March 31st from 1-2pm (immediately after the 11 o’clock service). Food and childcare will be provided. You can also submit your ideas, feedback, questions and things you are hearing in prayer to this email address or using this form. We look forward to hearing from you.

If you have questions, concerns, words of wisdom or encouragement, please know that we are open to your feedback. You can read an archive of past Wardens’ Reports on our website or Vestry Meeting minutes on CCB, under the ‘Files’ tab in the ‘Entire Church Group’

– Chris Belen and Johanna Montague, Wardens

Restoration2025: report from congregational input #1

Congregational Input

We hope that you will join us for each congregational input session.  The next one is Sunday, March 31 @1pm.  We will provide food and childcare.  You can also submit ideas, questions, and things you are hearing in prayer to this email address or through this form.

Thanks for reading and praying along with us.  Here is a summary of what we heard on March 17:

Key Highlights

~25 members gathered to pray with us, in thanksgiving for what God has already done in and through Restoration for the past 9+ years, and in anticipation of hearing what He will do for the next 5.
Some things we heard about what we do well (and should probably continue doing!):
  • Kids small groups (Nursery through 5th grade)
  • Adult small groups (the model makes it easy for people to jump in)
  • Use of liturgy, music, and other arts to invite people to connect with God on more than an intellectual level
  • Open communication and sense of welcome from the leaders
There was excitement about possibilities with the following:
  • Youth and Young Adult Ministries (roughly defined as age 14 through 30)
  • Fostering spiritual development and growth of individual members
    • training and equipping folks to ‘invitationally’ talk about their relationship with Jesus.
    • providing resources for life’s hard stuff: parenting, death, transitions, etc.
    • more rigorous, in depth Bible Study / Scripture study
  • Increasing local outreach – thinking about how we integrate into the immediate community
    • using our facility/space creatively
    • more conferences/seminars on topics that concern those in our broader community
    • short term local missions trips
    • caring for the vulnerable
    • connecting w/ young professionals new to the area

There is a chance that this list doesn’t have the idea you want our church to pursue over the next five years!  So make sure that you bring it with you on March 31 @1pm so that we can hear it!

Moving towards Jesus

One of our stations on March 17 was for input about who we want to serve and invite into this story…
Broadly speaking, people fit into the following categories:
  • Jesus Who? — Never met Jesus
  • No Thanks Jesus — Don’t care to meet Jesus because they a) don’t care or b) simply not appealing
  • Yea, I Met Jesus Once — Met Jesus long ago and consider themselves “churched” or too busy
  • Jesus Betrayed Me — He didn’t come through on something they wanted, didn’t protect them from pain
  • What Now Jesus? — Newly met Jesus and looking for a home and a place to fit in and grow
  • Following Jesus — Looking for my calling, to grow deeper, to give with a purpose

Ultimately, our goal is for people to a) meet Jesus, and b) be discipled by Jesus together with others being discipled by Jesus.

We want to develop a plan that engages Restoration’s unique gifts to help people meet Jesus and be discipled by Jesus.  The people we want to befriend, serve, and love are:
  1. Unchurched – and either a) Never been exposed to Jesus, and/or b) Don’t see the point.  Our neighbors.  Our fellow professionals (Gen X, Y, Z) looking for a home and a place to belong.
  2. Under-resourced– our neighbors who are financially poor, undereducated, families in foster care
  3. Unseen-  our elders, our friends who experience depression, anxiety, loneliness

We are seeking God’s leading and His compassion.  We want to run with anticipation and excitement towards the things He is doing and inviting us to join.  Keep praying with us!  Keep listening!

We hope to see you on March 31 at 1pm.

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