RestoMen’s Retreat 2016

MeadowKirk

Fellas,

It’s time to register for our annual RestoMen’s retreat.

It is a bite-sized chunk of manly goodness.  It’s an opportunity to connect with God, to anticipate the year to come, to give thanks for all that has been.  It’s a blast.

When is it?  January 15-16, 2016.  One night.  21 hours of awesome.

Where is it?  MeadowKirk Retreat in Middleburg.

Who is Speaking?  I am so excited for us to hear from Dr. Curt Thompson.  He will speak about ‘The Memory of Masculinity’ from Exodus 4.  Curt has walked with many people in the DC area as they move from brokenness and experience restoration by grace.  This topic could not be more relevant for us.

Curt Thompson

How do I sign up?  Right here.  That link has the 2 price points that are based on housing options.

When should I sign up?  How about right now?  The rooms in the Inn will go fast.  There are only 20 of them.  The price goes up by $10 on December 1, so save some money.  We only have space for about 96 men and we anticipate that we will sell out.  Get ‘er done now.

Can you give me a few more details on the schedule?  Sure.

Friday

6pm:  Optional meet up for dinner in Leesburg, VA

7:30:  Leave for MeadowKirk

8:30 Welcome, break into small groups, get to know each other.

9:00 Compline (with short homily)

9:30 Free Time

Saturday

8:00 Breakfast

9:00 Morning Prayer

9:30 Session 1 + small group

11:00 Session 2 + small group

12:30  Lunch

1:30 Free Time and Fun Games

3:30 Session 3 + small group

5:00 Depart for home

5:30 Optional Meet Up for Dinner in Leesburg

Small Group at RestoMen's Retreat

I really hope to see you at the RestoMen’s Retreat!

-David

Wardens’ Report: October 2015

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

As we kneeled at the railing, we said many prayers of thanksgiving — for the hiring of Isaiah Brooms, for our fall retreat and the great good that can come from living into our vocations, for the many friends willing to stand for vestry election, for those thoughtfully considering Restoration membership, and for the steady, faithful preparation for David’s 2016 sabbatical.

The upcoming sabbatical is providing occasion to examine carefully how we make decisions and who makes which decisions.  Without doubt, the leadership bench is deep in our church family, and new leadership is already emerging for 2016 and beyond.  In addition to adding Isaiah to the staff, the nominating committee is finalizing the slate for our November vestry election. We are also refreshing our advisory teams (outreach, personnel and finance) – asking people to lend their time, knowledge and experience to our strategic operations.  These teams toil in relative obscurity and cannot be thanked enough for their important contributions. 

The first month of the fiscal year brought more positive financial news.  Operations are almost exactly on budget, and outreach is doing even better.  Through your unanticipated generosity and the effective fundraising efforts of our short-term mission teams to West Asia, Cambodia and West Virginia, our outreach fund was overflowing by several tens of thousands of dollars at the end of fiscal year 2015.  We had the joy of receiving and approving several recommendations from the Outreach Steering Team to expand Restoration’s support to many good partners in ministry. 

If you have questions, concerns or words of wisdom or encouragement, please know that we are open to your feedback.  We’d love to hear from you!

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’.

-Carolyn Weimer and Ramsey Wilson, Wardens

Parish Meeting Update [October 2015]

Rolling Attendance

There are always so many exciting things that are happening at Restoration.  This graph is just one way that we tell the story of broken people being restored by grace and living God’s story.  If you click on the graph, you will find a deck of slides that our vestry used to celebrate the work of God in our church and the things we are asking him to do in the days to come.

You will see highlights from the Rector’s report, a quick look at who is preaching during David’s sabbatical, the progress we made on our strategic plan (Restoration2019), our financial position at the conclusion of the 2015 fiscal year, and information on the upcoming vestry election for the class of 2018.  Plus lots of great pictures!

The parish meeting is the best way to get a quick glance our life together.  We hope these slides help you remember if you were there and give you a small taste if you weren’t.  Feel free to ask questions in the comments below.

-David

Parish Meeting on October 4 at 12:45pm

Parish Meeting

 

We do these 3 times a year.

And every time I struggle to find the right words to both capture what it is and to motivate you to attend.  I’m running uphill with this.  Look what I have to work with:

Parish:  It sounds so antiquated.

But it is what we are.  Formally:  “A geographical district with its own church and pastor.”  In the past there was one parish per area and everyone was a part of it.  The ‘everyone’ is still key for us.  This is a meeting for EVERYONE who calls Restoration home.  That’s you.  If you are reading this, you are invited, encouraged, even expected(!) to be there.

Meeting:  I know.  You’re asleep by the second ‘e’.

Really?  Another meeting?  If you are imagining a gavel, Robert’s rules of order, and people making motions, let me set your heart at ease.  This is a celebration.  It is an opportunity for us to rejoice in all that has happened in the last quarter and an opportunity to get excited for all that will happen in the months to come.

At Restoration, there are always changes:  new life, new ideas, new initiatives.  None of us knows about everything, so this is a deliberate chance to get all of us on the same page.  We report.  We tell stories.  We hold each other accountable.  We talk about critical numbers related to money and attendance.  We explain how stuff works.  We ask questions.  We offer answers.

Would you please come to the Restoration Everyone Celebration?

It’s this Sunday, October 4, at 12:45.  We will be done by 1:45.

Wondering what you will hear?

The story of our Immigration Legal Aid Center, an update on David’s sabbatical, how to nominate candidates and vote in the vestry election, what we’ve done so far with the strategic plan to mature 2000 disciples by 2019, and…

You can pick up a copy of our gorgeous Fy2015 Annual Report.

See you on Sunday for the Restoration Everyone Celebration.

-David

Wardens’ Report: September 2015

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

After a brief hiatus in August, we gathered last Tuesday at the church commencing our meeting as is our new custom — on our knees. We used the BCP’s early evening devotions (p139) and reflected on our call to “proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as [his] servant”. We also thanked God for the smooth transition of Nathan Dickerson to our staff team and for the small groups commencing this week. Indeed, we have a terrific group of small group leaders who so ably shepherd our congregation in community, Bible study and prayer. 

Our Treasurer, Mac Wheatley, presented an encouraging preliminary financial report for the fiscal year ended August 31. Our budget aimed for revenues to equal expenses, and we barely missed the target. Expenses were less than 2 percent above revenues (roughly $22k). Missing by such a small margin is amazing given the uncertainty with which the fiscal year began as we moved back to 1815 North Quincy Street, and it is a non-event given the church’s healthy operating cash reserve. Thanks to you all for the unusually strong summer giving. Thanks to the staff for their continually reliable expense management. Thanks to God for his faithfulness. We also heard of the orderly amortization of our construction loan and paid our first monthly mortgage payment with no issue or surprises. Mac will present a fuller picture of our 2015 fiscal year results and financial position at the upcoming Parish Meeting which begins at 12:45 PM on Sunday, October 4.

Other topics of conversation included the process for electing a new class of Vestry members (more at the Parish Meeting), tweaks to the new member education / integration process, a review of our communications efforts and a robust Rector’s report including the ongoing shaping of David’s upcoming sabbatical and an outline of the preaching plan in his absence. The Sabbatical Team, chaired by Christine Jones and Chris Belen, will provide further information at the Parish Meeting.

We hope to see you on October 4. In the meantime, if you have questions, concerns or words of wisdom or encouragement, please know that we are open to your feedback and need your prayers.

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’.

 

-Carolyn Weimer and Ramsey Wilson, Wardens

Contending for Shalom

I am sitting in IAH–  the Houston airport–  waiting for a flight to Austin.  I have been asked to serve on the steering committee for a conference in February 2016 called The Anglican Justice Gathering:  contending for shalom.  I am joined by my good friends Cliff and Christine Warner, Bill Haley, and Sami DiPasquale.

We are meeting to pray, talk, and build out this purpose statement for our time next February:

The purpose of this gathering is to identify those in the ACNA who would like to be part of this conversation, gather them together, consider together our unique contribution to the Kingdom of God in our North American context as Anglicans, dream together, pray together, and begin discerning together how the Lord might be leading our denomination to engage the systemic brokenness of our country.

It is a conversation that is always close to my heart and one that is increasingly a part of our life together at Restoration.  As we take concrete steps to provide immigration legal aid; as we partner in the good work of Casa Chirilagua;  as we pray and give and contend for the end of human trafficking; as we think about how to leverage our pastoral staff for building of God’s Kingdom in places like Phnom Penh and West Asia.  We are beginning to grow as a church that contends for shalom.  And we have so much more that we could do.

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Last week, I had the immense privilege to participate in a different conversation that was also contending for shalom.  13 men and women from places like Minnesota, Florida, Atlanta, and Washington DC gathered to talk about America’s original sin:  chattel slavery and the trafficking of Africans for economic gain.  We were almost evenly divided between white and black.  We considered how to name the awful legacy of racial oppression in the US for the past 375 years in various forms and to recognize the ongoing effects in the black community.  We mourned the general lack of recognitioin, awareness, and ownership of this reality in the white Christian community.  We considered concrete ways the white Christian community might be able to make a meaningful statement recognizing this reality and the ongoing injustice across racial lines.  We talked about reparations.

In the middle of our day, we walked to a slave cemetery that is on the property of Corhaven.  It had been neglected for 150 years and just recently Bill and Tara Haley had begun the work of cleaning and restoring it. 

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On this day, we went to remember the lives of those buried there and to repent of the evil conditions in which they lived.  As we looked walked amongst the grave stones, depressions, and vegetation, there was a sweet, soft breeze.  It was very comfortable.

One of our fellow conversationalists lead us into prayer by telling us the story of Israel being delivered out of slavery from Egypt.  That story begins with God telling Moses to take off his shoes because he is standing on holy ground.  Max, our prayer leader, invited us to take off our shoes before we started praying.  

Inwardly I groaned.  I was wearing boots.  We were standing in the woods.  I didn’t want my feet to get dirty.

And as I was thinking those things, Max added, “It’s time to get uncomfortable.”  I agreed. 

Standing in bare feet, in crisp leaves, broken sticks, and broken rocks, Max talked through the story of the Seder and the Passover and all the experiential elements that God provided for Israel to remember that they were delivered from slavery.

Then Bill told the story of spending a day clearing brush from the cemetery, piling it up, and burning it.  And how– INCREDIBLY-  a stump that was 30 feet away from the fire started to smoke and then burst into flames.  Seemingly by itself.  As if something was spiritually being released.

David, a black man from Richmond, was the first to pray.  As he started, I could hear what sounded like wind increasing in the distance, but I soon realized that it was approaching rain.  We were holding hands, standing barefoot, praying in the woods in the midst of slave graves and it started to rain—  gently.  David started to cry as he gave thanks for the lives of these men, women, and children and as he mourned the reality of their lives—  that they had to be buried at midnight because their masters would not give them time to do it during the day.  As David closed and others began to pray, the rain increased.  We were soon soaked.  Normally, etiquette would require ending the prayer and getting to shelter.  But there was an unspoken agreement that God was doing something profound:  

  • He didn’t want us to forget this conversation and these prayers so he was giving us a tangible reminder.
  • He was demonstrating his tears over this evil institution
  • He was washing us in our repentance.
  • And a deeply tangible sense that through fire and rain, God was saying, I am with you in this.  Keep going.

Yes.

Here is the incredible part.  As we finished praying, the rain stopped.  A specific grace for a specific task.  We walked back to our meeting room in sunlight and heat that dried our wet shirts and pants.  What a day. 

The conversation will continue.  God is with us in it.

Contending for shalom.  I love that Restoration is beginning to figure out the unique ways it will be part of God’s Kingdom work for justice.  I hope you are listening, making space, and asking how your gifts and talents will be used in this work as well.

Time to get on my plane.

-David

The Fruit of the Spirit: Self Control

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August 30, 2015 – David Hanke

1 Corinthians 9.24-27,10.6-13 : Psalm 141 : Mark 8.34-38

Listen to the songs here.

Gentleness and the Call to Civility

Public Square

 

We are coming to the conclusion of our summer sermon series on the Fruit of the Spirit.  These are 9 characteristics that St. Paul listed out in Galatians 5:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Outside of a relationship with God, they are character traits that we admire in people and most of the world aspires to have more of these.  But for those who have a relationship with God, these 9 traits are not a wish list of what would make someone a better person.  These are the promised manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the life of one who follows Jesus.  As we let Jesus lead more of our life, this fruit is what happens in us and what people notice about us.  Christians aren’t ‘trying to be more joyful or patient’.  No, they are trying to know God, trust Jesus, and be filled with the Holy Spirit–  as those things happen, the fruit of joy, patience, and others comes out.

In talking about gentleness, I mentioned 2 universal relational realities that will always require gentleness but will always tempt us to choose a posture that is harsh and protective:  relating to those with whom we disagree and relating to those who are far from their Father in heaven.  In spite of our natural inclination, choosing to be gentle results in the possibility of real life change for those with whom we disagree and real ‘rest for your souls’.

There are 3 contexts where we could work on the fruit of gentleness, what the secular world calls ‘civility’.  Civility in our households, in our interaction with those who choose to not belong to a church community, and in the public square.  As I talked through those contexts, I quoted a variety of people who have thought deeply about the role of civility and gentleness in our day to day discourse.

In 2011, Tim Keller wrote about backlash and civility for his church newsletter.  Keller gives some ‘rules for civility’ and helps us understand the historical scope of this conversation by interacting with Robert Putnam and David Campbell’s book American Grace:  how religion divides us and unites us.  That book has been very helpful to me as I imagine the kind of church that Restoration could be in the midst of hard and contentious cultural conversations.

In 2008, Os Guiness wrote The Case for Civility:  and why our future depends on it.  Os is so good at providing historical and societal context that is clear and persuasive.  He argues that much of the answer to whether or not we’ll learn to live with our deepest differences depends on rejecting two erroneous responses to the culture wars. First, we must say no to a “sacred public square”—a situation where one religion has a position of privilege or prominence that is denied to others.  We must also say no to a “naked public square”—the situation where public life is left devoid of any religion. This is what is advocated by the new atheists.  The alternative to both is a “civil public square.” one in which everyone—peoples of all faiths, whether religious or naturalistic—are equally free to enter and engage public life on the basis of their faiths, as a matter of ‘free exercise’.  

Tim Challies had a great interview with Os and developed some of these ideas more fully.  It was helpful to me as we imagine Restoration as a place that promotes truth, embraces the reality of pluralism, trusts that the good news of the Gospel will rise above the cacophony of voices, and (maybe most important of all) refuses to demonize those with whom we disagree.

I hope having access to some of the original sources that I was quoting will help you as you talk to God about gentleness and choose civility as your posture with those whom you disagree.  May God, by the presence of the Holy Spirit, use our opportunities to be gentle to make us more like Him.

-David

 

The Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

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August 23, 2015 – David Hanke

2 Timothy 2.22-26 : Psalm 18.25-35 : Matthew 11.25-30

Listen to the songs here.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

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August 2, 2015 – David Hanke

Titus 3.1-7 : Psalm 145.10-21 : John 15.12-15

Listen to the songs here.

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