Restoration Landscaping Day

Please join us this Saturday morning (6/23) from 8 am – 12 pm at Restoration as we weed, trim, mulch, and have fun making the church look beautiful!!

We’ll provide the tunes, the snacks and refreshments (including Duck Donuts… yum!), the mulch, and all the weeds you could want!

All you need to bring is yourself, and any of your favorite gardening tools and equipment. That list includes:

– gloves (we’ll have some but you may want to bring your own if you have them!)
– trowels
– garden rakes
– weeders
– small shovels
– wheelbarrows (would be extremely helpful!)

Also, don’t forget sunscreen and a hat! We’ll have lots of water!

Let Scott know if you are planning to come, so he can make sure there are enough snacks for everyone. See you Saturday morning!

Resto Weeds

Receive the work of our hands

On Saturday, September 20, we consecrated our new building.  We welcomed Bishop John Guernsey,  The Reverend John Yates who preached, clergy from our diocese who came to offer their support, Kenny Sieber who was our job superintendent, Charles Sinclair who was the former pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, and David Hunter who works for Arlington County.  I was so grateful that they would come and that we would have an opportunity to thank them for the significant roles that each of them played in the dream, design, and construction of our building.

My favorite part of the service was an intentional time to pray over each of the building ‘spaces’.  We asked God to fill them with His Holy Spirit and to set them a part for the work that we have been dreaming He will do.  It was significant for me to imagine kids growing up in our small group rooms, and people gathering for snacks, and our staff laboring to serve those in and outside our church, and people sitting in our pews worshiping and giving thanks to God.

So, I wanted to share that part with you.  Matt Hoppe created a constellation of images for each space.  I wrote a prayer that was prayed by the Bishop and then the congregation prayed a collect from the Book of Common Prayer.  As you think about our church settling in to this building, I invite you to pray over each space.  We need to be praying for our church.  May these images and prayers be a place for you to start.  


(If you click on the image, it will shift to full screen and you can see all of the fun detail!)

Receive the work of our hands in this place, now to be set apart for your worship, the building up of the living, and the remembrance of the dead, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.




Bishop: Everliving Father, watchful and caring, our source and our end: All that we are and all that we have is yours. Accept us now, as we dedicate this place to which we come to praise your Name, to ask your forgiveness, to know your healing power, to hear your Word, and to be nourished by the Body and Blood of your Son. Be present always to guide and to judge, to illumine and to bless your people.

Kids’ Small Group Rooms


Bishop: Father in heaven, thank you for a place to disciple children. Fill those rooms with the presence of your Holy Spirit and lead them into the knowledge and obedience of your Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Bishop: Praise the Lord, you children of the Lord:

People: Praise the Name of the Lord.

People: Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


Fellowship Hall

Fellowship Hall

Bishop: Father in heaven, thank you for the fellowship hall and a hospitable place to welcome the stranger. Fill that room with the presence of your Holy Spirit and let conversation lead to conversion and friendship, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Bishop: Above everything, love one another earnestly:

People: For love covers many sins.

People: Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Office and Mezzanine


Bishop: Father in heaven, thank you for a place where staff and leaders can gather to work. Fill that space with the presence of your Holy Spirit and turn labor into love for your Gospel and your people, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Bishop: Prosper, O Lord, the work of our hands:

People: Prosper our handiwork.

People: Almighty and everlasting God, from whom comes every good and perfect gift: Send down upon our clergy, and staff, and upon our congregation committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of they grace; and, that they may truly please you, pour upon them the continual dew of your blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Chancel for Musical Worship

Chancel for Musical Worship

Bishop: Father in heaven, thank you for voices and instruments that help us express the wonder of your creation and the grace of your Gospel through the songs we sing. Be enthroned upon the praises of your people for the glory of your Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Bishop: Praise him with the sound of the trumpet;

People: Praise him with strings and pipe.

People: O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Chancel for Proclaiming the Gospel

Chancel for Proclaiming

Bishop: Father in heaven, thank you for your Holy Scriptures and this place to proclaim the truth of the Gospel. By the Holy Spirit, empower your Word and those who preach it. Give us ears to hear and hearts to follow through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Bishop: May the words of our mouth, and the meditation of our heart,

People: Be acceptable to you, O Lord our God.

People: Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

a run down on what’s going down

Opening the Doors


Hey folks,

I know that we are all eagerly awaiting news about the building and our first Sunday back on Quincy Street.  So here is what we know as of Thursday morning, Sept 4.

Certificate of Occupancy–  not yet

We are waiting for 4 final inspections.  They could all happen in the next 24 hours.  As I promised on Sunday, I will send an email blast to everyone in CCB (our on-line directory) on Friday afternoon that details our CO status and plans for Sunday, Sept 7.  So watch your inbox,, or our facebook page  There will be the same important information on all of them and you need to read the latest before you head out on Sunday morning.  If we do not receive the certificate of occupancy, we will provide an alternative plan.

Volunteer Training is happening no matter what!!

On Saturday at 9:30 and 1:30, we will have identical training sessions for liturgical volunteers.  Matt, Kathy, and I have worked hard to figure out ‘how things will work’ in the new space and we are eager to teach you!  We are asking that ANYONE (regardless of previous training) who wants to read, serve communion, ush, greet, or set up for a service please attend one of these trainings.

Have you never been a liturgical volunteer?  Looking to get to know new people at Restoration?  Wondering what liturgical means?  This is an IDEAL time to jump in.  No need to rsvp.  Just come to one of the trainings on Saturday.  We can’t wait to help you get connected.

Do you know where you will park on Sunday?

Please remember that as a congregation, we are committed to not using any of the available street parking that is around the church.  We recognize that there are often spaces that are open on Quincy or a side street and they are closer than our shuttle lot, but as a way to serve our neighbors, we are committed to not using those parking spots.  Please help us to make life easier on Sundays for our neighbors by only parking in our 13 on-site spaces or in the shuttle parking lot over I-66.  Here are all the parking details that you need to know.  Feel free to share them when you invite your friends!

Small Groups are open!

For the next few weeks, all of our small groups are open.  Check out this map and find one that meets at a time and location that works for you.  We would love for everyone who worships with us on Sunday to be in a small group during the week–  praying for each other, wrestling with the Scripture, and making new friends.  They are filling fast!

Consecrating our space

On September 20 at 10:00am, Bishop John Guernsey will be with us to consecrate our new building and to launch us into a new season of ministry.  We will give thanks for the first five years of our church and ask God to strengthen and empower us for the things He is calling us to in the next five years!  This will be a deep, wonderful service of thanksgiving and blessing.  I hope you can join us.


Parking at Restoration

On Sundays at Restoration, parking is provided in the lot over I-66 that is located at the corner of Quincy and 15th Street.  Restoration provides a shuttle from the lot to the front door of our church from 8:15am until 1:15pm and then again from 4:15-7:15pm (when we have a 5pm service).  Alternatively, lots of people choose to take the 6 minute walk down Quincy Street from the lot to the church building.  On a beautiful day, it’s a great way to prepare for worship.  Whether you are riding or walking, please allow an additional 15 minutes in your travel time from residence to pew.

If you are visiting for the first time or have need to park closer to the church, we have 13 spaces that are located on the south side of our building at 1815 N. Quincy Street.  Please feel very welcome to use these spots if they would make it easier for you to attend.

As a congregation, we are committed to NOT using any of the available street parking that is around the church.  We recognize that there are often spaces that are open on Quincy or a side street and that they are closer than our shuttle lot.  But as a way to serve our neighbors, we are committed to not using those parking spots.  Please help us to make life easier on Sundays for our neighbors by only parking in our 13 on-site spaces or in the shuttle parking lot over I-66.

If you have questions or concerns about parking, feel free to reach out.  We’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

Not yet…


Guess what?  Our building is not quite ready for us to use.

At our parish meeting in June, I suggested that our last service at Little Falls might be on July 13 and our first service on Quincy Street would be July 20.  Almost immediately after I said that, the project was delayed and that timetable was abandoned.

So here is what we know for sure on July 20:

Today (July 20) we will say thank you to Rev. Matt Merrill and everyone at Little Falls Presbyterian Church for their tremendous hospitality over the last 17 months.  I hope you can be at our worship service at Little Falls at 5pm to offer your gratitude.

On July 23-24, the Restoration office ‘stuff’ will be moved in boxes from our temporary office site to the mezzanine of the new building.  None of it will be unpacked because we don’t have an occupancy permit, yet.  Our staff will be working out of homes and coffee shops for a few weeks during this transition period.  You will be able to reach them by email and mobile phone.  Most of you won’t even realize a difference because your staff are incredibly flexible!

On July 27, we will say thank you and good-bye to Rev. Erin Bair who is leaving our staff team at the end of this month.  She will be preaching and that’s always good.  We will also say congratulations and Godspeed to our high school seniors who are leaving for college this fall.  I hope you can join us at Little Falls Presbyterian at 5:00pm to give thanks to God for Erin’s ministry at Restoration.

Then August…

August has five Sundays.  There is a good chance that on one of those Sundays, we will have our first worship service on Quincy Street.  But we have no idea which one right now.  We will continue to meet at Little Falls Presbyterian at 5:00pm during August.

On September 7, we are still planning to celebrate our Grand Opening with services at 9:00, 11:00, and 5:00 on Quincy Street.  Our construction team believes this has a high probability of happening, but no one can give a definite yes until we have our certificate of occupancy.  I invite you to pray everyday for the completion of work and that permission to be granted us.

I promise to update you right here as our ‘Quincy Start Date’ becomes clearer.  For now, we are the grateful guests of Little Falls Presbyterian Church at 5:00pm through the month of August.  Thanks be to God that we have such good friends and gracious hosts.


Give us your ‘pew-point’

Restoration, we need your feedback!  We have chosen a GREAT vendor for our pews, New Holland Church Furniture.  Our next step is to decide if we want straight or radial pews.  There are good things about both.  What do you think?  We would love to hear your comments in the space below.  This is an exciting time to be dreaming about our new space.

Here are the features of each:

Radial Pews

Radial Pews

The cost for radial is $72,783  ($10,000 more than straight).  They provide better viewing, feel more inclusive, and contribute to a sense of community.  Aesthetically they follow the lines of the chancel, but they do not fit as well with the decorative trusses that will be in the ceiling.

Straight Pews

Straight Pews


The cost for straight pews is $62,575 (about $10,000 cheaper than radial pews).  The aesthetic is more traditional, classic, and ‘lasting’.  Our architects have highly recommended straight pews because of their design consistency with the rest of the sanctuary.  Straight pews follow the lines of the floor and the trusses in the ceiling.

Both pew designs will have the same seating capacity which is 384 people.

We would love to hear what you think about the options.  Thanks for being a part of the process!



Here are 2 simple drawings of the interior of the nave.   They give you an idea of the trusses in the ceiling.

front of nave with trussnave from the side



Stuff I am excited about…



The first 2 hours

We tore down the old building.  They have been working all week to get ready for this.  The windows came out yesterday.  The backhoe started promptly at 7:00am.  They had the top floor demolished by 9:00.  It felt so permanent!  And also so hopeful.  Jesus often talks about the things that must die in order for new life to happen.  It was hard to say a final good-bye, but I am REALLY excited that we are moving forward.  Make sure you ‘like’ us on FB because we have a ton of video and pics of what’s happening on Quincy Street.  It will take about a week to get the building completely down with the rubble sorted and cleared off.

Finding your place at Restoration.  Our staff team has been praying and working on our fall goal for Restoration.  We are so thankful that so many new folks have worshiped with us at Little Falls this summer.  As we go through this season of waiting and home-building, we are meeting lots of new people who are seeking a church family.  One of the questions we frequently get is ‘how do I plug in and serve?’  So, this fall, we are working to create easy ways for people to do just that.

You will see a new welcome table.  Our volunteers will have new badges and lanyards so you can easily recognize who is doing what.  There will be a series of new videos that describe ‘how things work at Restoration’–  from small groups, to the fall retreat, to being a volunteer, to filling out your profile on CCB.  We will have a special dessert night with people from all aspects of our church who can help you ‘find your place’.  There are so many ways to serve at Restoration and so many great people to know.  We are excited to spend the fall helping you get connected and find your place.

Small Groups.  Speaking of small groups.  Oh my!  We have over 30 of ’em and they all open for registration on September 1.  This group of 70 Tri3 small group leaders are fired up to host, facilitate, and pray.  I can’t wait.  16 days until you can get in one.

Man Night.  Men.  6 Tuesday nights over the next year.  Good teaching.  Opportunities for mentorship.  Training for Godliness.  This might be the thing I am MOST excited about.  I love the questions and conversations that come out of this kind of honest dialogue.

Preaching.  Just 3 weeks left in the book of Luke.  We arrive in Jerusalem on Sept 1.  I’ll be preaching about prayer on Sunday, then Bill Haley will talk about idols and the rich young ruler on Aug 25, and then I’ll wrap up our 8 month journey with some thoughts on Zaccheus, your talents, and not squandering your life.  Literally–  “Thank you Jesus for such a rich and powerful story.”  This time in Luke has been so good.  Where are we going next?  You’re gonna love it.

September 8–  we kick off a new series, new kids’ small groups, APEX parent night, and after service PIZZA!!

So come home from vacation.  Get ready for school.  Finish up those summer projects.  Drive down Quincy Street.  Invite a friend to check out Restoration.  I AM EXCITED!!!


Tearing it down

Removing the front wall

Today I went by the old building to work on saying good-bye.  Today was cool and the building smelled like I remember.  I walked through the downstairs and looked at each of the classrooms, the kitchen, the old office.  I walked upstairs and looked closely at each of the six ‘Allelulias’.  I stood on the stage and noticed how small the room feels.  I paused in my very bare office.

And I remembered.

I remembered singing at the top of my lungs and preaching three times on a Sunday and writing hundreds of sermons and laughing and baptizing big guy Brent and little people like Kate.

And I ran my hand along that front kneeler wall and remembered setting props on it for Easter and leaning over it to say hi and sitting on it after the service to pray for people and standing just behind it while I preached with people sitting in folding chairs that were close enough to reach out and touch.

So I decided to keep part of the wall.  I ripped the top plank off–  it was in 4 sections.  I ripped out the front tongue and groove.  And I put it in the shed.  Not sure what I’ll do with it, but there are too many memories to say a permanent good-bye right now.

If you drive by our property, you’ll notice a backhoe digger and 2 porta-johns.  The contractor will start prepping the site for demo on Monday.  If everything goes according to plan, the building will come down some time after August 5th.  We’ll tell you the day before and we’ll probably gather in the parking lot the evening before to say one last goodbye, one more thank you God, and tell each other a few more memories.

I am so thankful for the four and a half years we had in that building.  A miracle happened there:  Restoration.


Do Not Be Anxious


No problem.

Is He crazy?  Liz fed us this question on Sunday, ‘Don’t I deserve to be anxious?  Have you seen my life?’

And yet.  Jesus says, ‘do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.’

Food and clothing, combined with shelter, are about the most basic necessities there are.  Yet Jesus says, life is more than food (and clothing, and houses, and car payments, and school loans, and…)

Last fall, our church had a capital campaign.  We had an opportunity to respond to God’s grace and to pledge money to a plan to provide a place for restoration.  And many of us prayed, and pored over our budgets, and looked through our closets, and opened up our stock portfolios, and stretched as generously as we could.  God used that campaign to give a fresh look at our fiances and to ask in a fresh way, ‘what’s mine?  what’s a treasure in heaven?  what’s a moneybag that doesn’t grow old?’

We took Jesus at His word:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  I prayed–  Jesus, I want my heart to be with you.  So I am going to try your idea.  I’ll put my treasure with you and see if my heart follows.  I don’t want to be anxious.

We are about 6 months in to fulfilling our 3 year pledges.  How’s it going for you?  How’s your anxiety?  Where is your heart?  How is God using the discipline of making a commitment with your money to keep you close to Him?

I find that I think about my pledge pretty often.  I had a pretty clear idea on how 75% of it was going to come in.  But I knew the last 25% was going to be a stretch [read, miracle].  So, I pay attention to the miracles that God might be doing and how he will help me be faithful to the promises I made with my money.

Guess what, as I pay attention, as I look, my heart is following my treasure.  I’m not anxious.  I’m excited.

I’m also disciplined.  I used CCB to set up a monthly gift in to our Building Fund.  I am regularly paying my pledge and I know when I will give extra.  I’m disciplined.  And I’m excited for grace of how all of it will come in next year.

How’s it going for you?

Parish Meeting

On Sunday, after our worship service, we will stick around for a 45 minute parish meeting.  Yes, there will be yummy snacks and yes you’ll have a few minutes to grab one.  Yes, we hope to extend our paid nursery workers so that kids under 2 can stay in their rooms.  Yes, we have some exciting news to share.  Last night our vestry chose the contractor who will construct our new facility!  Your pledges are going to become classrooms for kids, and pews, and meeting space to talk about Scripture and transformation.  We also want to tell you about the ways we are serving the poor and the vulnerable this summer–  ways you can get involved!  So stick around on Sunday.  Be encouraged by all that God is doing at Restoration.

Be disciplined.  Be excited.  Look for the miracles that God is doing and let your heart follow your treasure.


Imperfectly not anxious,



There are 40 chapters in the book of Exodus.  The first 34 are full of God’s deliverance, frogs, gnats, bloody door posts, parted seas, stone tablets, lightning, manna, quail, and a golden calf.

It’s got to be the best read in the whole Bible.  I love it.

In chapter 35, the action comes to a stop.  Moses gives God’s instruction about Sabbath-keeping.  This is what you are NOT to do.  This is how you withdraw from your daily work in order to give God the time and space to do God’s work IN you.

The final 6 chapters of Exodus narrate the preparations for how worship will happen among God’s people.  These are the structures and rhythms that will assimilate the salvation and deliverance they experienced in the first 34 chapters into their common life–  week after week, month after month.  This is where you will do what you do on the Sabbath.

It is here, in chapter 35, that we meet Bezalel.  Bezalel the artist.  Bezalel the architect.

35:30  Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;  31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship,  32 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze,  33 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft…

36:1   “Bezalel and Oholiab and  every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.”

The next three chapters are all about what Bezalel and his team do.  God GIFTS them to be the ones who construct a PLACE where God’s people can meet with him in worship.


I have been very grateful for our Bezalel(s):  Art Lohsen and Michael Francke.  These architects have done a great job listening to our story, to our needs and hopes and wants, and drawing a building where our people can meet with God in worship.  I believe God has filled Art and Michael with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship.  Thanks be to God.

We have sent their Bezalel plans to a few places and I would like to invite your prayer for the next few weeks:

  • We have applied for our building permit and Arlington County has been reviewing the plans for almost 4 weeks now.  We should be getting some formal feedback soon.  Would you pray that the next month would go smoothly and that we would get the permit ‘right on time’.
  • We have sent the plans to 3 general contractors.  They will be finishing their bids in the next 2 weeks and hopefully appearing before our Facility Team for interviews the week of May 20th.  Please pray now that we would choose another ‘Bezalel’ who would have the gifts and talents to build the vision that Frank and Lohsen have drawn.
  • We have also received bids from 3 banks who would like to provide financing during our construction.  Please pray for the vestry next week as they choose one of these institutions.

I am grateful for the practicality of Scripture.  God has brought His people through building projects for thousands of years.  Because the Holy Spirit lives in us, we don’t NEED a place to go meet God.  But God delights when we gather in a spot to learn, pray, sing, and celebrate.  in fact it is such a delight to God that He gave us Bezalel(s) to imagine, draw, and construct what that place would be.

While I have ya…

We will be back at our old spot on Quincy Street 3 more times in May.  Our last hurrah.  Hope you will join us for all of it!

May 12 at 10am we will celebrate the ordination of Clay Morrison to the presbyterate with a reception to follow.

May 18 at 6:30pm we will have a PartyAuction!!  We have rented the District Taco Truck.  We’ll have a tango demonstration.  The WV team will be on hand [taking donations] with a U-Haul to deliver the pews [and doors and lights and books] that you buy!

May 21 at 7:30pm we will have our last New to Restoration Dinner in this space.  If you are new (we are somewhat obvious in our naming…).  If you want to be a member…  If you want to hear our story…   Let us buy you dinner and tell you where we’ve been and where we are going.  Sign up here.

Let’s pray for Bezalel and all of the folks on His team.  Thank you God for delighting in beauty and coherence.



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