Our bodies matter

In our occasional blogs on small group options – here’s another very different one which starts this Thursday. Interested? Sign up here, or email Christie, christine.dondero@gmail.com for more info.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I often think back to a sermon that Erin Bair preached a few months into my time at Restoration in early 2011. I distinctly remember her sharing the poignant phrase, “Our bodies matter.” I was struck by the simple truth of those three words.

Our bodies do matter: How we treat them. What we put into them. What we do with them. What we believe about them. All of these things matter.

All too often, we treat our bodies like they aren’t a part of our spiritual self. We lament over the size of our post-baby bellies, stuff ourselves with ice cream to dull the pain of rejection, run an extra three miles to prove to ourselves we are worth something and restrict “bad” foods to feel in control. Forgetting that God allows us to birth new life, experience the highs and lows of deep relationships and enjoy food and physical activity for our health and pleasure. We are striving and stuffing and slowly cutting ourselves off from the bodies that God created for us.

God created us in His image with a mind, body and spirit. What we do to our body trickles into our spirit, and when our bodies become broken, so will our spirits.

All too often we forget that our bodies do indeed matter. They matter to us, and they matter to God.

Come explore the question of how we can return to a place of viewing and treating our bodies as God intended during Rock Recovery’s Body Image & Eating Education Series at Restoration, starting this Thursday.

More small group info can be found on the website!

Another small group option: this one is all about faith and leadership


photoAt Restoration we care deeply that we should each grow as disciples of Jesus in every aspect of our lives. We want to be intentional about  how we exercise our faith at home, in our neighborhoods and at work;  so  every trimester we aim to run a few small groups on these topics. This trimester Lee and Elizabeth are leading a group which is thinking about how we exercise our leadership as Christians in all aspects of our lives – from the kitchen table to the office to the gym?

We live in a town where good leadership matters.

But effective leadership is just as important inside a family as it is on Capitol Hill. Despite this, we rarely openly study or discuss the qualities of a great leader. It is easier to spot (and criticize) a bad leader. But how should you go about becoming an effective leader yourself? And what does it take to become a humble leader, one who uses his or her power to empower others rather than just horde power for him or herself? If you are looking for the ultimate answers to these questions, sorry…you won’t find them here. We are not the experts. But if you are wanting to explore such leadership questions- listening to the wisdom of others, sharing your own experiences, and looking at what the Bible and a Christian leadership book says about leadership-then we would love for you to join us this trimester!


Contact:  Lee and Elizabeth Pitts for more info: pittspress@yahoo.com

Meeting:  Wednesdays. 7pm.

Ready to Sign up? here’s the link!


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


A small group option…


Are you new to Restoration?

Are you curious about what we believe?

Are you working out what you believe?

What is God’s big story and where do you fit?

Or are you just looking for a convivial small group to get connected into life at Restoration?

This trimester our small group will be using a book called ‘Starting Point’ by Andy Stanley to tease out the answers to these questions and more!

Come and ask all those questions you never know who to ask; all those questions you’ve been too shy to ask; all those questions that seem too obvious to ask…

We will chat, eat snacks, probably have a glass of wine and let the conversation unfold.

Thursdays 7.30pm at the Grays. Sign up here. It’s going to be a great trimester.

Not quite what you are looking for? Why not browse the SG tri 2 booklet to choose a different group? And sign up for a small group today!

Liz and Simon

A night at the bazaar

P1170044Two Restoration teams will head to Asia Minor, first in early May and then in early June, to pray, listen, share, and encourage. David Ryan is going with Team A in May. Here are his thoughts about the trip:

As a child, my mom had Isaiah 6:8 in a picture frame in our hallway: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” I always thought the verse was great, but really never thought about what it would be like to respond in that way to God’s calling.

 Being consistently involved in many local ministries in the past, I had never given much consideration to my involvement in international ministry before this year. However, when I was approached to join this team, God had primed my heart for how he was working  throughout the world. When I was making the decision to go, I thought a lot about how God’s community includes way more than my tiny hometown, my new home in DC or even the United States. God’s community certainly also includes my brothers and sisters in Asia Minor! When I considered how I have seen God work through my local communities, I got really excited about the idea of how God could use global communities if they were more joined together!

 As part of an Asia Minor team, I am excited to help strengthen the bonds between Restoration and  Lighthouse  and build a new international community by pouring into a  family  that is hungry for mentorship, encouragement and support. I cannot wait to see how God is working in a part of the world that I have never visited. I am looking forward to seeing what He will use the trip to prepare me for next! Finally, I am thrilled to grow closer to my new Restoration family – both those going on the trip, the extended family abroad, and those praying for us back in Arlington!

The Asia Minor teams will host an evening of regional food and entertainment at our Crescent and Star Bazaar, April 5th at 7 pm.

Location:  Fellowship Hall at Little Falls Presbyterian

Cost: $40 RSVP here

Take in the tastes of Asia Minor with a delicious meal and get a glimpse of the people the team is excited to meet. There will even be a chance to learn some regional dancing. It’s an evening not to be missed!

Want to find a way to connect and serve with Restoration people?


Why not join the fun and come and serve in one of these ways in the next couple of weeks?

a) OAR: Come and enjoy dinner and game night with Restoration community and OAR clients on Monday March 24th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM ET   at Boulevard Wood Grill. Please RSVP with Brent Jones at brentrichardjones@gmail.com . We want to love these folks and help enable their social skills as they transition back into our community.

b) AFAC: Next Tuesday, March 25th, is our turn to volunteer at AFAC.  We still need 7 more people to help.

c) Casa Chirilagua: is participating in Spring2ACTion, Alexandria’s annual online giving day on April 9th, organized by ACT for Alexandria. Casa has the chance to win $17,000 in grants and YOU can help! Austin is our CC representative and he would LOVE your help as we work to support this community. Austin Clemens   asclemens@gmail.com

d) Asia Minor: APRIL 5“A night at the crescent and star bazaar” Tickets $40. This is going to be a very jolly evening – entertainment, Turkish food – worth every cent! Contact Leigh McAfee for more details leighmcafee@gmail.com

e) WVA 2014: Have you considered signing up for West Virginia ’14? This is always a wonderful time – no skills necessary apart form a cheerful heart and a willingness to work alongside some folk and spend time building relationships!

We can’t do it all without you! Thanks for considering!


Drop me an email!


Feb 21-23, 2014 the AWESOME women’s retreat

February is always a long month.  I guess it is the shortest month, if you’re counting days, but for me, it never feels like the shortest month.  The excitement of the holidays is long past and I’m ready to shed my winter coat.  I’m tired of the early darkness and spring break is too many weeks away.

What is the solution to this February drag? The Restoration Women’s Retreat!


Last February, I was stuck in my traditional February rut and the ladies of Restoration helped to pull me out of it.  Our weekend of learning and hanging out was so rejuvenating for me.

I wrote in my journal during the weekend, “It’s amazing when I can really see God at work in my life – during the most frustrating and chaotic season, he has sent me inspiration and guidance.”  That inspiration and guidance came in the form of lessons and wonderful friendships that were forged at the Women’s Retreat 2013.

During the Women’s Retreat in February 2014 we will hear our own Connally Gilliam speak.  There will be plenty of time to chat by the fire, time for getting cozy and relaxed with a book, and opportunities to be adventurous in the Pennsylvania outdoors.  Most importantly, it will be a weekend surrounded by some of the most wonderful people.  What is better than that?

Join us! February 21-23, 2014 at the Capital Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA

You can sign up here or here …do it today!

Liz Baar


Have you found your place?

The scriptures tell us that the Church is the Body of Christ, and like our physical bodies, it has lots of different parts (read: people)  that do different things to uniquely meet the Body’s many needs. God has created each of us to occupy a unique place in his Church. Part of what that means is that he has a very special place carved out for you — not just in the big-picture Church, but in a local congregation, too.

In other words, there’s a place for you at Restoration. And we’d love to help you find it.

FYPARWe recognize that in a church as big as ours, it can be hard to figure out just where you fit. You may not see the same people Sunday to Sunday. The social free-for-all of snack time after church may make you break out in hives (I call it “middle school lunch room syndrome”). You may simply just not know who to talk to ask your question or share a great idea you’ve had.

We may not be able to take care of all of the challenges, but we’d like to do what we can. One of the ways we’re doing that is with a little event we’re planning after the service tomorrow night (Sept. 15). Instead of the usual cheese-and-crackers outside, we’ll head down to the Friendship Hall for some dessert. (Yes, dessert before dinner. Kids, you’re welcome; parents, we apologize. Kind of.)

You’ll have a chance to learn who on staff is responsible for what. You’ll hear a couple of people share about how they found their place at Restoration, and what difference it has made in their life and their faith. Most of all, you’ll have a chance to chat with people who are involved in different aspects of Restoration life (small groups, prayer, kids’ ministry, etc.) and who are eager to talk with you and answer your questions.

So no matter how long you’ve been coming to Restoration, if you’ve ever wondered where you fit in, please join us tomorrow evening. We’d love to help you find your place here.

– Erin

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!!!


Why AFAC Farmer’s Market Runs?

       So, why do we band together each Sunday afternoon in the summer to pick up the typically one ton (!) of leftover produce from the Columbia Pike Farmer’s Market, taking it back to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) for repackaging?

We do it for two simple reasons:

1.                  It’s a way to practice Jesus’ top two commands:  love God and love your neighbor.  Those two active loves sum up, Jesus says, the basic gist of the whole Old Testament law.  So in a sense, when we do the work of collecting crates of cauliflower, cucumbers, cantaloupes, etc., and haul them back to the warehouse, we are in a way loving our neighbors just like God’s people were asked to do back in the day.  Have you ever read passages like this one in Leviticus 19 (9 & 10)?  “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.”  I love that passage—God has always been into caring for the underdog in very concrete ways.  And while most of us don’t have land or harvests, we can love our neighbors by practicing—in tandem with very generous merchants–a little modern day gleaning equivalent.  These leftover veggies help feed about 1600 families each week.

2.                  It’s a way to take Restoration into our larger community.  A lot of us who are already followers of Jesus want to see our friends come to church. “Oh, if my friends could just hear so and so preach” or “I think they’d love our music” or “If they could just see how cool our kids program is”….  But many of our friends and neighbors won’t naturally wander into a church building on Sundays.  So, why not take the church, or at least a small group of friends from the body of Christ, into the community?  That’s what we do when we band together for 3 hours on Sunday afternoon in South Arlington.  With a handful of Restoration folks (and hopefully some non Restoration friends as well), we go—trusting that Jesus’ presence goes with us, showing up in and through our interactions, relationships, conversations.  While we don’t always know how it happens, we trust that He’s revealing himself through us when we, so to speak, take “church” to the streets (or to the corner of Columbia Pike & Walter Reed, and then to the warehouse down on Nelson Street).  Jesus says he’ll be there when we are there, together, in his name.  We believe him.

So, if either of these reasons intrigues you, or if you just want to have fun doing some sweaty, tangible work (nice switch in this DC world of ideas and paper pushing!), give Melody Jones (melody.parry@gmail.com) or Lauren Odderstol (lodderstol@gmail.com) a shout.  We’ll be doing it June 30th – August 18th, Sundays from 12:15-3:30, and we’d love for you (and your kids from age 5 up if you have them and will watch them!) to join us.  It is a good thing.

Sign up directly here!

Connally Gilliam

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