Welcome, Isaiah Brooms!

Isaiah Brooms

On December 15, Isaiah Brooms began employment at Restoration as our full-time Director of Youth Ministries.  We are thrilled!  Isaiah has been a member of Restoration for over 5 years.  He served actively in our Kids’ Small Groups and as a member of vestry.  He is passionate about the opportunity for middle and high schoolers to know Jesus and to trust Him.

When you see Isaiah, ask him how his first week went on the job.  And then ask him about his hopes and dreams for youth at Restoration.  You will get excited, too!

Here is a reflection that Isaiah wrote as he was waiting for his first day to arrive…

“Finding Your Place”

Mary and Joseph, on the eve of Jesus’ birth set out to do the one thing every parent in this world wants for their child, they set out to find a place for Him where he could be protected from harm and grow.

As I stare at my now six-month old daughter, I pray that I will be able to help her navigate the world and find safe places where she can belong, be known, and grow in her relationship with Christ. I have heard these desires echoed among countless parents at Restoration as well as in previous professional roles I have held.

Middle School and High School are pivotal times as youth seek a sense of belonging and wrestle with their identity. Who am I? Who am I not? Am I loved? Who loves me? Voices of peers, the media, family members, and other adults clamor with often conflicting messages. 

This Advent season, as I waited with anticipation to become the Director of Youth Ministry at Restoration, I prayed that the youth of our church and their peers would find deep truths to these questions through the APEX community (Restoration’s Middle and High School Ministry) – you are a child of God, perfectly made and perfectly loved, and you are welcome here.  I long for students to build substantive and nourishing friendships with peers while also interacting with caring, invested adults who can speak truth and provide wise-counsel.

I look forward to the privilege of walking alongside parents of Restoration and their children as they seek to find their place in God’s story.

In Him,
Isaiah E. Brooms, 
Director of Youth Ministries

Christmas giving….


And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8-14 ESV)

Every Christmas Eve we love to give ALL the offering away to a local charity – or not-for-profit –  a group or groups that are doing things we are passionate about as a community.

Over the course of this year we have been gradually getting our ducks in a row for launching an immigration legal aid centre here at Restoration in 2016. We are inching closer… 

BUT – one thing we have learned through all our research is that work of this kind is complicated and needs lots of solid backup! Two organizations locally have been enormously helpful to us as we have researched and thought, and our admiration for the work they do is vast.

We plan to partner with both of them in 2016: Good Samaritan Advocates (GSA), and Catholic Immigration Legal Network, Incorporated (CLINIC).  GSA is a local organization that provides general legal services pro bono, or at a reduced rate.  Partnering with churches to provide access to legal services and counsel is central to GSA’s mission.  CLINIC is a national organization that works exclusively in immigration law by providing low-cost immigration law services, as well as supporting immigration law programs.  By partnering with CLINIC, we will receive direct supervision from experienced immigration attorneys, as well as access to immigration law resources.

So this Christmas Eve we’re going to ask you to dig deep as we give to CLINIC and Good Samaritan Advocates. They will be continuing to help us – and supervise all we do in 2016 – so we would love to bless them liberally up front!

To hear more details about what we are up to put 7.30pm – 9pm Feb 16, 2016 on your calendar NOW. We are having an info night in the fellowship hall for all who want to hear more about this; GSA people will be there, our team will be there, all potential volunteers (does that include you?) should be there….

More info: Restoration Immigration Legal Aid  or ask Natalie Foote, Jason Braun, Michelle Swearingen, Susie Wallin, Erin Owen, Christine Jones or  Liz Gray to fill you in.

Christmas Eve 2015

Christmas Eve Screenshot

We are so excited about

Christmas Eve at Restoration!

For the first time in our short history, Restoration will have 3 services on December 24 to celebrate the incarnation of God in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Before I describe what to expect at each service, let me answer the most important logistical question:  

Where should I park?

Restoration uses a parking garage that is located over I-66 at the corner of 15th and Quincy Streets.  You can see a map of it here.   This garage is HUGE!  Feel free to use the entire thing.  You will see signs that say ‘permit only’ but they do not apply on Christmas Eve.

Restoration will hire 2 shuttles to move people from the garage to our building.  If it is a nice evening, feel free to take the 7 minute walk.  Otherwise, we hope that one of the shuttles will be at the lot every five minutes.

We encourage you to arrive early.

3 Services?  Wow!  Tell me about them.  The services at 3 and 5 will be identical and geared toward the attention span of a child.   The 10pm will feel different–  more contemplative, traditional, quiet, and candle-lit.  Generally, the 3 services will have the same readings, same preacher, same progression of carols.

Will there be candles?  Yep.  A whole truckload of them.   Candles on the Advent Wreath.  Candles in the windows.  We will sing Silent Night while holding candles.  Christmas Eve=Candles=Beauty=Joy.  The kids will get glow sticks to hold at the 3pm and 5pm.

Will there be childcare?  Yes, at the 3pm and 5pm services there will be fully-staffed nurseries for children who are the age of 2 or younger.  Kids from pre-k on up are welcome to participate in the worship service in the sanctuary.  At the 3pm and 5pm, there will be worship bags with books and activity sheets.  We are totally fine if kids get a little wiggly, but there is enough singing and candles and pictures and stories that they stay pretty engaged.

What should the kids wear?  At the 3pm and 5pm, come dressed as your favorite character from the nativity story.  During the Gospel reading, they will have the opportunity to stand when their character is mentioned.  We always love having ‘a christmas pageant in the pews’ at this service…  We usually have a whole gaggle of shepherds, sheep, stars, angels, wisemen, and beautiful Mary(s).  An old robe does the trick.  We have also had Buzz Lightyear make a cameo in the nativity.

What should the adults wear?  Well if you aren’t going to come as ‘Joseph’, just come come as you are.  There will be people in their holiday best, people who love a nice pair of jeans, and everything in between.

Will there be presents?  Of course!  All of the children will receive an ornament for their tree at home–  a reminder that God loves them.

Will there be an opportunity to give?  Yes!  On Christmas Eve, all of our offerings are given to organizations outside of Restoration who are locally doing good and beautiful work for the sake of the vulnerable and those on the margins.  Our church does not keep anything that is given at these services.  This year, we will give our financial gifts to 2 organizations that provide immigration legal aid:  Catholic Legal Immigration Network and Good Samaritan Advocates.  Both of these organizations are partnering with our nascent and developing work to be a center for immigration legal aid.

Can I give anything else?  Definitely.  We also bring unwrapped baby gifts for Doorways for Women and Families:  $25 Target gift cards; toilet paper; paper towels; Pull-Ups (2T-5T).  The children will have an opportunity to bring them forward during the offering collection.  If you are wondering what to bring, email Louise.

How long will the service last?  The 3pm and 5pm will be about 75 minutes.  We sing 5 or 6 carols, with parts of the Christmas story read in between, then we close with The Holy Eucharist.  The 10pm will be closer to 90 minutes.

Anything else distinct about the 10pm?  Yes!  We will have incense in the procession and the Eucharist will be sung in a fashion similar to our Easter Vigil service.  The music team will include limited orchestral instrumentation (I love clarinets…)

Anything else I should know?  We love Christmas Eve and the chance to meet lots of neighbors, family members, and folks who don’t normally come to Restoration.  We offer you a warm welcome on December 24 and all of the Sundays that follow.  We are grateful to be a part of the Arlington Community, and we pray for it every day.



Waiting and Watching, Lamby-style


Have you found Lamby yet?  Lamby — a tradition here at Restoration — is hidden somewhere in the Sanctuary each week of Advent.  Why?  Well, as a tangible reminder of how we are waiting and watching for the other Lamb,.  The True One.

So keep an eye out.  And be reminded that the One who loves us best, who came and sacrificed for us, has come.

He is Emmanuel.  God with us.

And he’s coming again.



Worshipping in the Advent Wreath

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We are excited about the worship setting that you will get to experience each Sunday as we anticipate the coming of Jesus.  Here are some of the extra bits this Advent:

The Processional:

Each week the flame entering our sanctuary during the processional helps us to anticipate Jesus’ incarnation (God made flesh).  We will hear “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” as we long for his coming to bring us hope, peace, joy, and love.

He is the incarnation, so we first light the candles at the altar with the crucifer (cross) facing the congregation to remind us that he “being found in human form…humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

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The Advent Wreath Reflections:

In Jesus’ coming to earth as a man, we see that he is our hope, peace, joy, and love.  Every year during Advent we have individuals or specific groups of people answer a question about how God has met them or how they desire to meet him.  After they share, they light the candle for that week.  These are the themes and questions they are using:

Week 1: He is our HOPE entering a broken world.  How has hope entered your broken world?

Week 2: He is our PEACE holding all things together.  How is God’s peace holding you or a part of your life together?

Week 3: He is our JOY manifesting himself in his servants.  How is God bringing you joy?

Week 4: He is our LOVE, living among his people.  How is God revealing that you are a loved person?

This year we have expanded the Advent wreath to essentially be our sanctuary with the candles spread across the front and window boxes lining the sides, and we will worship our God in the middle of the wreath – the anticipation of his arrival.

When you arrive, you will be given a response card, and we hope that you will take the time after the Advent wreath reflection is shared to write down your own reflection of how you have seen God show up in your life.  If you write it twice on the card, you can rip off the bottom and drop it in the appropriate window box and keep the top as a reminder this Advent of the ways that God is making himself known to you.  Put it in a prominent place as a reminder of God’s faithfulness.

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The Candle Holders:

We used the Advent collects and the sermon series to drive the art of the Advent candle holders.  Black wood with mirrors represent a world that does not reflect his light in the way that he intended. 

The broken mirrors of week one show how limited and spars we are in reflecting his light, yet he is our hope.  In week two, we see wire holding the mirror pieces to express how God holds all things together to better reflect him, giving us peace that ultimately he is in control.  The rectangular mirrors of week three reflect the image of God more fully, and we are joyful to see him more clearly with the help of the prophets and other servants of God.  In week four we most clearly see his love in the glory of his coming, his resurrection, and his restoration.

We hope this is a reflective Advent for you as you worship at Restoration.  May you see more of him as you reflect on your own life, and may you reflect him more as you experience him as your hope, your peace, your joy, and your love.

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A huge thank you to everyone who contributed in RestoArts Advent by sharing your ideas, constructing wooden boxes, breaking glass, lettering, etc.  I am thankful for your creativity, courage, and servants hearts.

Advent Processionals



Thanksgiving conjures up memories of getting up far too early in the morning to help my dad stuff the turkey. Before anything else, we would set up the television in the kitchen to watch the parade festivities and football pre-game shows as the rest of the day progressed in an alternation between preparing food and watching television. Celebrity interviews, musical guests, and commentator speculations bolstered anticipation for the much anticipated floating colorful giants in the sky.

The enthusiasm and joy surrounding such a parade provides a helpful point of reference to appreciate the use of the processional in the church. People go to great lengths to attend a parade: purchasing expensive tickets, arising early, traveling a long distance, breaking through hoards of people, or enduring bitter cold. To what end is this done?

What the church calls its procession derives from the ancients who had their own parades of victory filled with sights, sounds, and even smells. The hope of the Psalm 68:24 is that God will reign victorious as a king, entering the sanctuary in joyous procession for all to see. The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

During this Advent season, the cross and light will enter the sanctuary followed with a train of liturgical ministers.  Each Sunday we come to bring our praise as an offering to the Triune God, yet each week our sordid past rears its ugly head, telling us the lie that we cannot live in the victory of our victorious king.  The light and cross will enter the sanctuary and we are reminded of Christ’s victory; light has come and Christ has won.  Each Sunday of Advent we are reminded of the victory won, but we likewise experience a longing for the victory to come. After joining in the celebration within the sanctuary we are invited to process out with the recessional. As Christ’s body we now take the light and cross into a dark world filled with all manner of stumbling blocks.

In the words of my favorite Syrian Bishop,

Deliver me from the enemy who fights with me, for I cannot                     conquer him without Your aid.

Do not look to me to conquer in that great occasion bloodshed.

Take for Yourself the battle and the victory befitting You.

Deliver me from it and let the crown and fame be Yours, and                   neither attribute to me triumph, nor victory.

Deliver me from it and let the entire glory of the athlete be                      reserved for You, for You have conquered the enemy.

Homily on the Prayer of our Lord, p. 711-718

Mar Jacob of Sarugh ( ca. 521 CE)


-Morgan Reed

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