An update from our friends at Incarnation

Dear Restoration,

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Just over a year ago, September 2 2018, the Restoration congregation took all three services to kindly, deliberately and lovingly pray for a small group of people who were heading out into the wilds of South Arlington because we believed that God was calling us to form a new, worshipping community. And then maybe it felt like we vanished from view.

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Where did we go?

Well, first of all, we didn’t really vanish – and delightfully, many of you have come and visited once or twice to make sure of that, and to cheer us on. Thank you! We love having visitors… we love it when ‘the cousins’ come to play!

Over this last year we have been meeting at 5pm at Greenbrier Baptist church – a  kind and welcoming community who took us in off the streets and who have loved us so well….we have learned what it is like to worship together in a different context to Restoration.  We have delighted in welcoming new friends and neighbors. We have grown with people coming to faith and those new to the area. We have loved singing and hearing scripture in multiple languages. We have loved watching our children learn in the Atrium as we use the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd method. We have loved prayer walking our neighborhoods and connecting with strangers. We have loved times of feasting and celebrating and delighting with wonder at God’s word and His good creation.

And whilst we have loved being independent, we have also been so grateful for the shepherding care that Restoration has continued to offer us. The generosity of doing our ‘back office’. The kindness of letting us use materials and resources. The sweetness of conversations over coffee or lunch. The prayer and vestry oversight which has gently brought insight and wisdom. The delight in wondering together at how God’s leading will evolve.

 

Beth signingAnd now Incarnation is one year old and we are heading into a busy Fall.

September, 8 we welcomed our first members.

October 6, we will elect our first vestry.

November 16, at Synod there will be a vote as to whether Incarnation should become a congregation.  And in November we will also rejoice with our mother church – yup! that’s you – as you turn 10. What a wonderful milestone – we are praying for you in this next season!

December 1, we will begin to worship in the chapel at AUMC on 7th Rd S and Glebe, where we will have our own space and offices.

December 8, the Bishop will come and install Liz as rector, and confirm/receive new confirmands

In the New Year we will begin to transition out of our MOU with Restoration and will eventually take responsibility for all our own back office.

There is so much to thank God for – so many small steps which when viewed together already show how far we have come. Thank you for holding our hands as we learned to walk. Thank you for not letting go, and for showering us with your love and upholding us with your prayers.

We will always be your daughter church – so grateful for metaphors of family and the permanence that brings.

 

With our deepest love and gratitude.

 

Liz, Amy, Beth, Josie,, Morgan and all at Incarnation

Thank you, Resto! A reflection on Incarnation’s first Sunday

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-03 at 8.44.14 PMOn Sunday, June 3, Incarnation Anglican gathered in the home of Liz and Simon Gray for its first Sunday worship service of evening prayer and eucharist. This service was the start of our ‘soft launch’ — a period of a few months where our launch team will worship weekly and practice the habits of praying, learning, singing, sharing testimonies, and breaking bread that will shape and form us for our public launch on September 9. 

Preparing the Grays’ home for worship included doing so many things for the first time: setting up chairs, arranging potluck dishes, making a quick chalkboard sign, passing out liturgies, arranging a cozy kids’ nook, and more. We laughed and prayed and bustled about together in relaxed delight, wondering who would come.

And come they did! At quarter to 5, people began to show up. But no matter where you were on Sunday evening — whether at the Grays’, or at Restoration, or at home or in the park or out grabbing a beer — you were right there with us too.

Because over the past year, you have supported us in a thousand small ways, giving us opportunity to tell our story in blogs and church and parish meetings and interest events. Some of you have given your finances, or your business acumen, or your legal knowledge, or your artistic gifts. Others have dreamed with us, prayed for us, asked us refining questions, made strategic introductions.

On Sunday morning you flocked to the front of Restoration’s sanctuary and prayed over Incarnation’s leadership, sending us out in a manner reminiscent of the book of Acts. You extended your arms and called down God’s blessing and pleaded for the power of his Holy Spirit to fill us. And we received it all through tears, a bittersweet moment of commissioning by a community that has nourished and supported us. (You’ll do the same thing again for our entire launch team on September 2, a week before our public launch.)

On Sunday evening, we carried those prayers with us throughout our first service, which brought its own tears of joy and wonder. 52 people walked through the doors of the Grays’ home to join us in worship — far more than expected — including people from other parts of the world and people we’d never met. Everyone sang their hearts out and received the eucharist with joy amidst kids’ voices and packed rooms. In the faces and voices of those who came, God reminded us that he is capable of doing so much more than we could ask or imagine as we seek to build a diverse worshipping community in South Arlington.

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, love, and support. We’re so grateful to be on this journey with you, Restoration! Please contact us, follow us on Facebook, or check out our website if you want to learn more!

Easter Vigil – Martha

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March 31, 2018 – Liz Gray

Readings for Easter Vigil

Maundy Thursday Homily

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March 29, 2018 – Amy Rowe

Exodus 12.1-14 : Psalm 78.14-25 : John 13.1-15

Curious about Incarnation?

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Church planting?!!

Really?

Where? When? Why? How?

You’ve heard the rumours! And now, want to know more details?

Come along this Friday evening, 7.30pm Jan 26th to the Fellowship Hall and hear from Liz and the Incarnation Team as we talk about how hopes and dreams for the future!

Restoration has long had on its heart to plant churches – and we will be the first group to head out into a new area, specifically into a more diverse, multi-cultural part of Arlington where there are many people who have never encountered Jesus. We are wanting to be available to new relationships,  languages, cultures and ways of thinking as we bring the wonderful traditions of Anglicanism with us into a different worship context.

Curious as to whether God might be calling you? or just curious as to how as a Restoration parishioner you can love and support us well? or just plain curious? Come on Friday to hear more!

~Liz (and Morgan and Amy)

One Body

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January 14, 2018 – Liz Gray

1 Corinthians 1.10-17 : Psalm 139.1-5,12-17 : Mark 2.13-17

Listen to the songs here.

Word without End

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December 31, 2017 – Morgan Reed

Isaiah 61.10-62.5 : Psalm 147.13-21 : John 1.1-9

Listen to the songs here.

The eye of the storm

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December 17, 2017 – Liz Gray

Isaiah 65.17-25 : Psalm 126 : John 3.22-30

Listen to the songs here.

Tended, Gathered, Carried, Led.

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December 10, 2017 – Amy Rowe

Isaiah 40.1-5,9-11 : Psalm 85.8-13 : Mark 1.18

Listen to the songs here.

Why do we pray scripted prayers?

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Last week we handed out a simplified version of our Anglican Book of Common Prayer called Praying through the Year. We’ve loved hearing the ways many of you are integrating this booklet into your daily life. We will have more copies of this resource available on Sunday in the narthex, and we’d love for you to take one home.

But some of you may wonder why we use scripted prayers at all. Why not pray from our thoughts and feelings and impressions? Isn’t scripted prayer needlessly rigid and archaic? Two responses come to mind.

The first response is that both modes of prayer are great and have their place in our lives. In fact, The Book of Common Prayer always leaves space for “free intercessions” in its liturgies, a place for the extemporaneous prayer to which many of us are accustomed. Using scripted prayers doesn’t replace unscripted prayers or all the wonderful, surprising ways the Holy Spirit shows up in them. Instead, it complements them, rooting them in the words of Scripture and of Christians who have prayed before us through the ages.

The second response, though, is a story from my own experience. A little over a decade ago, I nearly abandoned my faith. I was consumed by doubts I couldn’t reconcile; I was tired of Christians whose lives were squeaky clean but who cared little about justice and mercy; and I was crowding God out of my life by pouring myself into a career that tempted me with moral compromises. For over a year, I didn’t read scripture and I didn’t pray. And I didn’t care. I told God that I barely believed this stuff anymore, but that if it was true, he was going to need to convince me himself.

And he did. Late one night, I was anxious and sleepless and found myself really wanting to cry out to God, but I realized that I’d forgotten how. A phrase from the Sunday liturgy popped into my brain: “whose property is always to have mercy” (we now use the words, “who always delights in showing mercy”). That seemed as good a prayer as any, so I simply prayed it, over and over, to God: “Your property is always to have mercy. Your property is always to have mercy.” As I did, I realized that if God’s property is always to have mercy, then he had mercy for me in that moment, and in every faithless, cynical moment that had preceded it.

That sustaining thought carried me through a long night of anxiety to the morning. And it carried me through the next night, and the next. It marked the beginning of my returning to God, re-discovering that ‘the stories are true,’ and re-learning how to pray. It also marked the beginning of my use of The Book of Common Prayer as a regular part of my prayer life.

For someone like me, who easily lives inside my thoughts, the pressure to manufacture extemporaneous prayers can feel like a chore and a performance. And when I’m tired or uninspired or consumed with doubts, it’s barely possible. Instead, I found a liberating self-forgetfulness in The Book of Common Prayer, as I began to lean on the words and faith of the millions of Christians who had gone before me, who had prayed these prayers for centuries to sustain their faith. One of the gifts of being Anglican has been discovering this weird and wonderful fellowship with Christians throughout time and space whose prayers support my own.

These days, I do both: I pray scripted prayers in a more-or-less regular rhythm, and I pray extemporaneous prayers that vary from the transcendent to the absurd (“help me find a parking spot, Jesus!”). I think both kinds of prayer delight God, both draw me into a pattern of daily dependence and closer relationship, and both connect me to a global community of other praying Christians.

This Advent, we’d love for you to join us in adding scripted prayer to your daily rhythms. Pick up Praying Through the Year on Sunday!

© Copyright Restoration Anglican Church