Last Chance to Register for #RestoRetreat2016!

Where can you find Geocaching, hiking, lawn games and a vineyard all in one place? If you answered the Restoration Retreat, you’d be right!

(09) Fall Leaves

There are only a few spots remaining and the October 2 deadline to sign up is fast approaching. If you act now, you can secure your spot to join in on the fun.

This year’s retreat promises to be the best one yet. We are expecting a large group from church to make their way out to Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center, located near Harrisonburg, VA (around 2.5 hours from Restoration). Among the highlights to look forward to is a chance to try out square dancing! Don’t worry non-dancers: there will be plenty of activities that don’t require dancing available during the weekend as well.

And for families on the fence: nursery and activities for the children are available, including boat making at the creek and soccer at the field.

Fall Retreat 2

#RestoRetreat2016 is a chance to unplug from the stress of the Beltway and join with our church community for fun and fellowship. Folks that have attended before know that this is a unique opportunity to truly get to know other members of our church and connect with one another in new ways.

Consider attending this year’s retreat to join in on a fun-filled and spiritually fulfilling weekend!

P.S. Please do not let the cost of the retreat dissuade you from signing up. Scholarships are available to cover the cost for those seeking financial assistance.

Fall Retreat Weekend Hike #RestoRetreat2016

There are many opportunities for fellowship at the upcoming Fall Retreat. Over the past few years, a small group has taken advantage of enjoying other Resto-folk and God’s beautiful nature by taking Friday (October 14) off from work and hiking in the Shenandoah Valley before the official start of the Fall Retreat on Saturday morning. You can be a part of that adventure as well. We would welcome you and hope you will share your story with us along the way.

In reflecting about last year’s retreat, one hiker said that she loved the Friday hike because it gave her the opportunity to hang out with a few people and really get to know them. Hiking makes for very easy chats with people and created a bonding experience.

Fall Retreat2

If you are interested in extending the fall retreat, here are the details you need to know:

Where: Emerald Pond/Bird Knob Hike

This hike has two spectacular views and is an “out and back” hike. This hike has one mile of steep hiking at the beginning and then is more easy and flat.

More info here:

When: Leave from Arlington around 7:30 am (Carpooling available from the church)

The drive will take about 2 hours. The group will plan to hike about 2 hours, break for lunch for about an hour, and hike back 2 hours.

The full hike is 8 miles in length, with a shorter, 6-mile option. The hikers may elect to stay together or divide into groups to hike different lengths.

Who: This hike is appropriate for any level or age of hiker. However, parents should consider the length of this hike (6 miles with 1 mile of steeper hiking) for children when planning to hike as a family.

And then: Hikers will travel about 45 minutes to Massanetta Springs (retreat center) stopping for dinner and fellowship along the way in Historic Downtown Harrisonburg. Capital Ale House is a recommended dinner spot from last year’s hikers.

Needed supplies: Pack for carrying water (at least 2 liters), lunch, and snacks to share. Hiking shoes are highly recommended as the path is rocky.

Other note: To let us know you are interested, please be sure your fall retreat registration indicates that you are staying at Massanetta on Friday night.

Top 10 Reasons to Attend #RestoRetreat2016


Fall Retreat3

10. Limited internet and cell reception (that’s a good thing!)
9. Crisp, cool autumn weather and fall foliage

Fall Retreat1
8. We heard a rumor that there may or may not be square dancing
7. Politics-free zone
6. Smores
5. Bike ride and beer (yes, seriously)
4. Go hiking with Liz!

Fall Retreat2
3. Wine tasting for the adults and boat building for the kids
2. A sweet, sweet bonfire
1. What else are you going to do? Netflix? Seriously?!

Don’t miss it! Sign up today.

Make Memories at #RestoRetreat2016




It may not feel like it with the weather we are having, but fall is right around the corner which can mean one thing, and one thing only: #RestoRetreat2016

For those not versed in Twitter slang, #RestoRetreat2016 is our annual all-church retreat that is just a few weeks away. This year it’s taking place October 14 – 16 and will be held in picturesque Massanetta Springs near Harrisonburg, VA (about 2.5 hours from church).

Our annual retreat is a wonderful opportunity to unplug from the Beltway as well as relax, hike and enjoy the fall in the Shenandoah Valley. #RestoRetreat2016 is also a chance to spend time in prayer while growing closer to God surrounded in His natural beauty.

Here’s how one happy retreat-goer described his experience attending a Restoration retreat:

“Going to the fall retreat provides a total break from your routine–children have a lot of open space to play, food is cooked, the atmosphere is relaxed. Since you’re not in your regular seat at church, people sitting near you are often new to you (or friends you have not seen recently); some are even from other church services. When you return after the retreat, you have shared memories with those who were with you; it really helps you feel part of the Restoration family.”

Another person indicates:

“We had been around the church for a few years but didn’t really know very many people well. The retreat was the first time I had to really get to know people on a deeper level, and some of those people are our close friends today.”

#RestoRetreat2016 will be fun for the entire family! There will be great teaching, worship and special programs for kids and youth. Reserve your spot online today!

Friday at the Fall Retreat

Resto Hike
If you are excited about Fall Retreat 2015, why not consider heading down on Friday?  You can even make a day of it or join in the evening.

If you take the day, you will hike with friends to the beautiful waterfall at White Oak Canyon, taking in the autumnal colors along the way.  Afterwards, folks will have dinner together in Harrisonburg.  Plan to meet at Restoration at 9:30am to convoy out to the mountains.

Can’t make it for the hike?  You can still come Friday night and join for dinner in Harrisonburg.  After, everyone will gather by the fireplace in the main lodge at Massanetta Springs for a time of prayer and quiet time from 8:30-9:30pm.

Does this sound like a great way to kickoff Fall Retreat? If so, be sure to include Friday night when you register for Fall Retreat 2015, and RSVP to Liz ( so she can keep you up to speed on hiking and dinner plans.


Fall Retreat 2014 – happy days!


Hiking Old Rag Mountain

For 9 of us the Fall retreat started early … Friday hiking Old Rag Mountain was an awesome way to ease into the weekend. The weather was beautiful – the company great… want to join us next year? We’re thinking of doing a hike again – perhaps somewhere a little less strenuous!

Arriving at Massanetta Springs has become wonderfully familiar … it was my sixth time, and it felt good to be back (despite suddenly remembering I’d forgotten to bring my favorite pillow). Evensong on Friday evening was quiet, reflective and continued the process of helping my breathing to slow down … and to begin to focus on listening and worshiping and waiting.


The meeting room is getting pretty full these days

196 adults and 94 kids were checked in by 11am on Saturday and the retreat ‘proper’ was underway! Every retreat has its own flavor – and this year was no exception – Dale Kuehne certainly stirred us all up! I had so many conversations: with those who said he was the best speaker ever, to those who found what he had to say – too much/too little/ too late/ too early/ too exclusive/too inclusive… Yup – just like a family, every opinion was voiced! But what I loved most about that was the sense that it was safe. Safe to disagree or agree. Safe to debate and chat and pray and laugh and wonder… wonder where God was taking us as a community, wonder how we can be a church with an authentic voice in Arlington, wonder what Jesus would say and do, wonder where our culture is going and how we can keep informed, and wonder about how to be wise about how we speak into our context and how to model being a relational community rather than individualistic.

Most of all, I loved the hanging-about and chatting, having time to hear about what was up in people’s lives, watching the kids (and various adults) making boats, eating with new and old friends, the bonfire, the bonfire,


S’mores and singing and compline…..and lots of chatting!

yup I do love the bonfire, Family Feud, praying… and having a little time to sit and stare at the fall colors, enjoying the luxury of time away from home and my computer, being in community with the family God has given us in Arlington.

One comment from the feedback forms which seemed to sum up the overall feeling:

I love Restoration. It’s not about the speaker, the place, etc – although those are important, the reason I went on the retreat is to be with the church! It’s good to plan for the other stuff, but to me those things are just a platform to bring us together.

We’ve started working on next year: wondering things like –  can we fit again at Massanetta? How can we improve on this year? Who will win family feud? And so much more….

Would you like to be more involved in the planning of Fall retreat 2015? Let us know!

Liz Gray

Fall Retreat 2014: Register today!

Click here to sign up now for this year’s retreat. We’ll be heading to Massanetta Springs October 18-19, 2014 and would love for you all to join us. The retreat will begin at 9:30 am on Saturday and will end by 12:45 pm on Sunday. Register before September 1 to get the early-bird discount. 

“I accepted Christ when I was a child and have attended church all my life. However, since joining the military over 10 years ago, I have not found a church family to call my own. That changed last October.

My brother, Isaac, and his family attended Restoration, and I would come to service with them on occasion. Everyone was nice, but I was always just a visitor. Then in the summer of 2013, I went through a terrible breakup with my then fiancé. My family helped me through the initial pain, but we all knew that I could not heal on my own, that I needed to belong to something. So, with their advice, I gave Restoration an honest try–for myself.

During my second service, I read the announcement for the 2013 Fall Retreat. It was decently local, it was supposed to be a lot of fun, and my sister-in-law, Julia, wanted to go. But, what I really noticed was the date. October 18-20–my botched wedding date. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. I remember choosing that date because it is my favorite weekend of the year. Looking down at the announcement, I knew that I did not want to be alone or sad on that beautiful weekend. I remember thinking, “What a great way to spend that time. I won’t be in pain, and I won’t be thinking about myself – I’ll be with Christ and His family in the mountains… I have to go.”

The retreat was wonderful. I had never met such nice, Godly people. Julia, my niece Parker, and I shared a room–I was so thankful to have family with me. But, I left the weekend meeting some of my now closest friends. I was able to spend time getting to know them and hear their stories. We went to a pumpkin farm, a lavender farm and a winery. This was not your typical church retreat! But, I needed that. I needed to experience worldly things with Godly people. At the retreat, we sat around a bonfire for hours. I was able to get to know the people I now call friends, and probably unknowingly, they were able to help me understand the changes going on in my life and heal a little more because of it.

I realize that because of that retreat last fall, I am now a part of something. I walk into service and am able to say more than just “hello” to people. I still love that my family attends Restoration, but now I have my own identity there. I have since healed from my breakup, and I now realize that the Lord sent me to the fall retreat on that third Saturday in October in order to begin a different type of new life – one with Him and my new “extended” Restoration family, and it is still my favorite weekend of the year!”

– Lori Simerly


Stars and our Stories

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his craftsmanship.”
Psalm 19:1

“We are his craftsmanship.”
Ephesians 2:10

thumbprint star

A few weeks ago, we ran a blog post about stars, expanding on themes from David’s sermon series on creation. Stars have more in common with us than it may seem. They are intricately made and known and named by God. They display his craftsmanship and artistry. They are born, worship, speak, sing, and die. And they tell stories.

This retreat will focus our attention on our own stories. Like the stars, our stories point to the God who made us and to his ultimate story. So we thought it appropriate to create a hands-on, visual representation of our church’s “night sky” – the collection of all our individual stories, each handcrafted by our creator, assembled together to declare God’s glory.

This sky will surround us throughout the teaching on the retreat, represented by dark blue papers hanging around the room. Over the course of the retreat, when you have a spare moment, take down a sheet and use the ink pads provided to place your fingerprints in the sky, representing your unique identity and story. Give your kids their own sheets of paper to do the same. Then re-hang your paper and watch as our empty night sky gradually fills with light, beauty, and stories over the weekend. It’s as simple as that. This is not high art – just a simple way to use our hands to craft a story in the sky.

– Amy Rowe

Never a dull moment….


Got a busy week coming up? We do! Here are some suggestions as to how you can work, rest and play with other Restoration people next week….

Sunday, 13th Oct: Put in your nominations for vestry today: men or women who could help lead our church

Monday, 14th Oct: Louise still needs a few kids small group helpers for the retreat weekend – why not volunteer?

Tuesday, 15th Oct: Are you a man? Prove it – come to ‘Man Up’ Oct 15th, 7.30pm at Little Falls Presbyterian Church. Are you a woman? Pray for the men…

Wednesday, 16th Oct: Did you miss the small group registration deadline? Why not visit the ‘always open’ group. 7.30pm – 9pm  at  3605 N Upland Street, Arlington VA 22207  More details? email Liz or just show up!

Thursday, 17th Oct: Join the Love Arlington Team to love and serve our neighbors at ASPAN. At 6:30 PM, we will gather at ASPAN’s emergency winter shelter to clean the center for the upcoming season. ASPAN provides shelter and food during winter months to our homeless population.

Friday, 18th Oct: Pack the car so you’re ready to leave at 7.30am tomorrow in time to get to Massanetta Springs for a 9.30am start

Saturday, 19th Oct: Leave at 7.30am.. arrive 9.30am.. enjoy the day 🙂

Sunday, 20th Oct: Continue to enjoy the retreat: if you are not on the retreat at Massanetta then DO NOT GO TO LFPC  at 5pm – we won’t be there….. see you on the 27th!

Top Ten Reasons You Don’t Want to Miss the Fall Retreat

If you’ve been at Restoration anytime in the last, oh, two months, you’ve heard us announce the Fall Retreat. “It’s great!” we say. “It’s lots of fun!” “There’s a great speaker!” “All the cool kids will be there!”

donutsThese things are all true. But you’ve heard them before, and if you haven’t already registered for the retreat, they must not be very convincing. (Or else you’re just stubborn extraordinarily difficult to convince.)

Since this Sunday, October 6, is absolutely your last chance to register for this amazing experience, we’re giving it one more shot. Herewith:

The Top Ten Reasons You Don’t Want to Miss the Fall Retreat:

10. Louise Brooks is collecting wine corks for it. Don’t you want to know why? (Or, you know, contribute to the collection?)

9. Embarrassing stories about David. Our speaker used to be David’s boss. You know he’s got good dirt.

8. The donuts. We’re not sure why, exactly, but somehow donuts have become and indispensable feature of the Fall Retreat. And Jeff Walton brings them. Jeff Walton + donuts = all the sweetness you can handle.

7. You’ve been wanting to break a kid’s hand. Last year, one of the kids got his fingers fractured by a grown-up playing flag football. You too could be That Guy!

6. Bust out your nature-babe (or -dude) wardrobe. You bought half the REI catalog, but admit it: you don’t really like the outdoors. No worries — all your North Face, Patagonia, and Vasque gear will look right at home amidst the fall foliage…and you still get to sleep inside.

5. A whole weekend of kids’ small groups. Don’t worry, our egos can take it. We know that kids’ small groups are the best thing happening at Restoration. At the retreat, your kids will get a whole weekend’s worth of them. It’s ok to be jealous. I am.

4. You haven’t had rectangular cafeteria pizza since you were in fourth grade. And you’re not fooling anybody — we all know how long ago that was.

3. Someone else gets to deal with your sullen delightfully independent teenager. A full APEX program for middle and high schoolers? ‘Nuff said.

2. The shortest Sunday service you’ll ever experience at Restoration. Did you know a sermon could be three minutes long? Now you do.

And the Number One Reason You Don’t Want to Miss the Fall Retreat is…

1. God told me he thinks you ought to be there. And you really don’t want to disappoint the Big Guy.

Seriously, it’s going to be great. And there’s no better way to get to know people and feel connected at Restoration. So fill out the registration form today. I can’t wait to see you there.

– Erin


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