Rector’s Update: June 3, 2020

Hi Restoration,

So much is happening.  So many voices.  So many words. 

Thanks for taking the time to engage with what we are saying at Restoration.  Cling to the truth that our Lord reigns.  He is a very present help right now.

TONIGHT:  a prayer meeting 

If you’re like me, current events have left me drained, discouraged and at a loss. I long with you for a world made right; where righteousness and justice reign. We look forward to the heavenly reign of Christ and yet we need wisdom, courage and strength to live as kingdom citizens right now. To this end we must pray.

Tonight I am gathering with the leaders of other churches in Arlington and I invite you to join us.  It will begin at 6pm.  You can access it on YouTube, here or through Restoration’s FB page, here

I apologize for the late notice.  This event just came together today.

Parish Meeting Warm-Up Questions

We have a parish meeting on June 7 at 11:15am (right after the service) and June 9 at 8pm.  We will talk about re-opening, finances, and summer plans.  I would love to know what you want to hear.  If you have a question about life in our congregation, hit reply (today!) and let me know.  We want to be prepared with the information you most need.  

A conversation about racism, the church, grief, and hope

This is my rector’s update for this week.  I invite you to take time to listen to the whole thing.

  • In the update, I will read a letter from four of our Anglican bishop’s that articulates Restoration’s position about the killing of George Floyd.  You can read it, here.
  • We will also mention a Ted Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called The Danger of a Single Story

When we come to God in prayer, we feel our grief and we are strengthened by His presence.  

“But for me it is good to be near God;  I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”  Psalm 73: 28

-David

A statement on the death of George Floyd and so many others

God formed all of us in His image: male and female. He said that we are good. He delighted in what He had made.

But each of us, in our own way, chose something besides God to trust and worship. We ended up far from Him- alone, burdened by guilt.

God did not forget us. He came for us. Jesus took us and stood in place for us and died for us and rose again as a promise for us.

One day, all of us, every person of every skin tone and culture, who has been redeemed by Christ’s finished work will reign together in the renewal of all things. Together.

This is our confident hope.

The tragic murder of George Floyd and the resulting protests around the country have exposed how busted this world is. They have reminded that while we have been focusing on the ‘new normal’ that is coming out of this pandemic, there is an ‘old normal’ that has caused longstanding fractures, injustice, and suffering in our communities. We got rightly distracted by a pandemic. But the pain that was there before is still there. The evil of racial injustice persists.

Restoration mourns the death of our brother in Christ, George Floyd. We mourn the loss of yet another precious human who was made in the image of God and was taken out by the injustice and evil in this world. Every person is of immense worth because they bear the fingerprint of their Maker. We work urgently to help them be reconciled to God and to each other. We feel the loss when one of us dies.

A couple days before Pentecost, four Anglican bishops composed a statement on George Floyd’s death that articulates our grief and our hope. We are grateful for these words and they describe Restoration’s viewpoint on Mr. Floyd’s death. I commend them to you. May these words keep your heart tender and guide your prayers.

-The Rev. David Hanke, Rector

A Letter Concerning the Death of George Floyd and So Many Others

George Floyd was made in the image of God and as such is a person of utmost value. This is not true because a few Anglican Bishops issue a letter. This conviction arises from our reading of Scripture. The Psalmist said:

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well (Psalm 139:13-14).

The opening book of our Scriptures declares the value of all human life:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27)

What happened to George is an affront to God because his status as an image-bearer was not respected. He was treated in a way that denied his basic humanity. Our lament is real. But our lament is not limited to George and his family. We mourn alongside the wider Black community for whom this tragedy awakens memories of their own traumas and the larger history of systemic oppression that still plagues this country.

George’s death is not merely the most recent evidence that proves racism exists against Black people in this country. But it is a vivid manifestation of the ongoing devaluation of black life. At the root of all racism is a heretical anthropology that devalues the Imago Dei in us all.  The gospel reveals that all are equally created, sinful, and equally in the need of the saving work of Christ. The racism we lament is not just interpersonal. It exists in the implicit and explicit customs and attitudes that do disproportionate harm to ethnic minorities in the country. In other words, too often racial bias has been combined with political power to create inequalities that still need to be eradicated.

As bishops in the ACNA, we commit ourselves to stand alongside those in the Black community as they contend for a just society, not as some attempt to transform America into the kingdom of God, but as a manifestation of neighborly love and bearing one another’s burdens and so fulfilling the law of Christ.  We confess that too often ethnic minorities have felt like contending for biblical justice has been a burden that they bear alone.

In the end, our hope is not in our efforts but in the shed blood of Jesus that reconciles God to humanity and humans to each other. Our hope is that our churches become places where the power of the gospel to bring together the nations of the earth (Rev 7:9) is seen in our life together as disciples. Such work cannot be carried out by an individual letter in a time of crisis. We commit to educating ourselves and the churches under our charge within a biblical and theological frame to face the problems of our day. We likewise commit to partnering with like-minded churches in the work of justice and reconciliation.

The Feast of Pentecost is here in a couple of days. The power of the Spirit is loosed to convict of sin and deliver us from its power. Our prayer is that in a country as diverse as these United States, the church will be united in the essential truths of Christianity including its concern for the most vulnerable. So…Come Holy Spirit. Mediate to us and all the earth, we pray, the victory of Jesus over the principalities and powers that seek to rule and cause death and destruction in this time between the times. Come Holy Spirit.

Almighty God, on this day, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, you revealed the way of eternal life to every race and nation: Pour out this gift anew, that by the preaching of the Gospel your salvation may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, you created us in your own image: Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and help us to use our freedom rightly in the establishment of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Sincerely in Christ,

Bishops Jim Hobby, Todd Hunter, Stewart Ruch III, and Steve Wood

Warden’s Report: May 2020

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.

The vestry gathered for its third socially distanced meeting on May 26th. We opened this month in prayer for our congregation, our staff, and our vestry. We prayed for wisdom and clarity about how to connect with, care for, and serve each other and our neighbors in this challenging time.

Our staff report this month was from Louise Brooks, Director of Kids’ Small Groups, and Abigail Westbrook, Coordinator of Kids’ Small Groups. Please join us in our thanks and prayer for them both.

Brad Jones, our treasurer, reported that we are currently above our budgetary projections year-to-date and are in a strong financial position. Thank you for being such a generous church, Restoration!  Brad also briefed the vestry on preparations for the fiscal year 2021 budget, including the need for caution as the effects of the pandemic continue to unfold, and how our finance team recommends we handle our mortgage going forward.  If you would like to hear more details about our finances, check out this week’s rector’s update featuring Brad and David. It’s well worth a listen.

We confirmed 2 motions that needed decisions between our April and May meeting:  The first was to allocate funds for the purchase of equipment that is needed for our Sunday livestream.  The second was a motion to provide funds to our friend in West Asia that are over and above our normal grant.  These funds were used to repatriate him to London after he suffered a stroke.   

We devoted most of our meeting to discussing the work of six exploratory teams made up primarily of staff and vestry members who have spent the last month thinking about how Restoration can continue to connect people to God, others and the needs of the world in a global pandemic. We look forward to sharing more of what we are hoping and planning at our congregational meeting on June 7th (at 11am) and 9th (at 8pm) on Zoom. Details on how to join the congregational meeting to come. (And to make sure you are getting updates from Restoration, you can sign up for more information on our contact us form.)

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’

Johanna Montague and Kevin Marshall, Wardens

Rector’s Update: May 20, 2020

Screen Shot 2020-05-20 at 12.52.35 PM

 

Rector’s Update: May 15

SCREEN SHOT 2020-05-15 AT 12.03.51 PM

Rector’s Update: May 15, 2020

“He let you hunger” – Rector’s Update: 8 May 2020

poppy-1128683_1920

Rector’s Update on 8 May 2020

Letter to the Congregation from David (5/1/20)

Dear Restoration,

My favorite CoronaRhythm has been daily morning and evening prayer.  I love the faces I see each day.  I love reading methodically through the Scriptures together.  I love hearing the prayers of our people as they give thanks to God and ask Him to move in power.  Have you tried it?  Logging in is easy.  You can keep your video off and muted if you are just ‘checking it out’.  I invite you to make this rhythm a part of your day as well!

This week, on Wednesday, the text for Morning Prayer was Numbers 25.  Because of the apostasy and infidelity that is described, it is one of the most painful chapters in all of the Bible, made even more excruciating by the prophecy of grace and blessing that is given right before it in Numbers 24.  The 70 of us who were in morning prayer that day were sobered by how quickly we can forget God’s faithfulness to us and how easily we can give our trust and affection to something besides Him.  As we concluded our prayers, I was overwhelmed by God’s grace and mercy to us-  that He keeps pursuing us, that He made a way for redemption, that He is making all things new.  I love experiencing those moments with you, Restoration.  I love how God speaks to our community-  through His word, His Spirit, and His people.  I am so grateful for daily morning and evening prayer.

Serving our Neighbors and Supporting our Community

We know the global response to the novel coronavirus has created a lot of vocational and income uncertainty. Restoration is responding. The vestry created a benevolence fund to provide financial resources for people who attend our church.  We have identified three categories of need:  lost wages, health care costs, and unexpected costs due to quarantine.  If you are experiencing a gap in your financial provision, we want to help.  Please let us know, here.  The small team of clergy, vestry, and leaders that receives your request is private.  Your information is kept confidential.  We want to help.  Please let us know.

I have been so proud of Restoration’s partnership with Arlington churches to serve Arlington school social workers.  The Church at Work has now provided $250,000 of rent assistance to households in Arlington County.  Last night WUSA channel 9 did a news story about it–  live from my bedroom on zoom.  Praise God for His generous church!  We are taking rent sponsors until May 15 to provide rent assistance in May and June.  If you want to help, please let us know.

We are also continuing to partner with Glebe Elementary in providing Safeway Gift Cards for 40 families in our neighborhood each week.  If you would like to help, please let us know!

Exploratory Teams and New Conversations about old Ways of Being Church

People ask how I am spending my time.  In addition to leading morning and evening prayer and prepping for Sunday worship, a lot of my time is in conversation with Restoration leaders and pastors across the country who are re-thinking how church will look now and in the future.  We know that we are in an unexpected, generational change.  These are not conversations that we anticipated having 2 months ago, but now they are critical and they take a lot of hours each week.

Our vestry and staff have been reading the excellent materials coming out of Praxis, like this and this.  Categories of ‘blizzard’, ‘winter’, and ‘ice-age’, have provided a common vocabulary as we assess changes and consider new ideas.  Our Restoration leadership team is exploring how the coronavirus consequences will affect sacraments, connection, and content.  This week we spent a lot of time critiquing and improving our YouTube Live presence.  It will be on-going, but we hope to take incremental steps each week.  In the future, we intend to explore new prototypes for content and sacraments.  We are asking how small groups (for all ages) will adjust and how things like Baptism and Eucharist will happen within these socially-distanced constraints.  So much is still uncertain… and so much is possible.  Please pray for us and participate in the conversations when the opportunities come.

Living God’s Story at Restoration

The next thing we are trying is a remote ‘New to Restoration’ gathering.  It will happen on May 19 at 7:30pmEST via Zoom.  You are welcome to attend no matter where you live.  So many of you are joining us from places near and far.  We would love an opportunity to tell you the story of what God has done at Restoration and to get to know you.  Please rsvp here.  We look forward to ‘seeing you’ in a couple of weeks!

Remote Worship

All of our public gatherings for worship are listed here.  I am sure you have realized that inviting a friend (from anywhere in the world) has never been easier.  Text them the link and invite them to check it out.

God is at work.
His grace never fails us.
He is making all things new.

I can’t wait to see you online soon.

-David

© Copyright Restoration Anglican Church