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

From our Cairo Correspondent

Working in Cairo this week, I got back to my hotel room late Tuesday evening, I found a large bouquet of flowers and a bowl of fruit, and wondered why the hotel had given me that? The card that came with the flowers told a different story: it was a welcome gift from the Stephen’s Children ministry: I had arranged to meet one of them on Friday, to hand over the check representing Restoration’s Easter collection. I thought of King David when three of his warriors fought their way into Bethlehem to fetch him some water (2 Samuel 23), and David was awestruck by the generous spirit of these men, putting themselves at risk to bless David. Perhaps not quite the right analogy, but such a generous gift from a ministry working with the poor – I almost cried, and felt very humbled!

Today, I had the privilege of visiting of the many ‘garbage cities’ on the outskirts of Cairo– of the 90 or so locations where the Stephen’s Children ministry runs schools for the poorest of the poor. This ‘city’, home to perhaps 900 people – predominantly Christians – is in a dusty, stony hollow away from the road. Nothing grows there – there is no soil. None of the buildings has more than one level: the materials they are made from would not really support more. There is no electricity. Running water was made available about a year ago (this has attracted more people to move in). In the school room perhaps 40 girls aged 6 to 15  sat in rows on benches, learning the alphabet with great excitement. Nearby, I visited a study group for boys. Half a dozen squatted in the shade of a rusty corrugated iron gate as myriad flies buzzed around, and listened to the story of the cripple who had sat by the pool for years, waiting for a miracleThe back yard was buried in rubbish – plastic bags mostly, which are burned down to produce a hard black mass that can be sold for recycling (an adult and four children scavenging can earn perhaps $1.50 a day doing this).

Stephen’s Children employs around 1,500 staff to run kindergartens, and now one school, for some 30,000 children, visiting them weekly in their homes to support a holistic ministry of education, teaching on basic health and hygiene, and the bible. Many of the children, and some of their parents, are not officially registered, through ignorance and discrimination.

This was not a miserable place to visit. The children were happy as they learned. A little girl smiled broadly as the teacher washed her feet (this is done to teach hygiene, and to check for cuts and infections in little feet that at best have flip-flops to wear). Adults were welcoming. The ‘motto’ of the ministry is: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (phil 4:13). The children and their families are being given hope, not just once or in theory, but day by day, week by week, year after year. I am lost for words, but full of admiration, and very blessed to have seen God at work through his people in such a way.

Simon G.

From Lies to Light – New ID Small Group

I like to think I can tell lies from truth, but it is surprisingly difficult at times. The hardest lies to decipher are often the one that swarm around inside of our heads, trapping us in dark places and keeping us away from the light of truth.

On April 24 I will start leading New ID, a six week course with teachings, testimonies, discussion groups and prayer for anyone struggling with disordered eating. As I prepare, old lies come to mind. I went through New ID at my church in Charlotte, NC in 2007 after an almost 10 year battle with disordered eating. I came SO close to not attending the course. “Surely you don’t struggle with food THAT much, Christie,” I told myself.  “You have been so much better this week! I bet that means you don’t need help after all.” Another lie.

These lies I told myself almost kept me from truth and freedom. Almost.

Instead, by God’s grace, I went through the course, fought the battle of recovery and have experienced freedom in Christ I never dreamt possible. I was brought out of captivity and am now called to help the many other men and women that struggle in those chains I wore for far too long.

Restoration is a place where broken people are being made whole. I love that our church is not afraid of getting our hands dirty, being honest with ourselves and each other and loving each other deeply throughout the process. Being involved in a small group keeps us out of isolation and in the light.

Please pray that those in our church body currently experiencing bondage to food and weight would step into the light of truth and find their true identity in Christ.

To learn more about New ID email me christine.dondero@gmail.com at  or read my blog.

And register for the small group  TODAY! It’s number 14 in the SG list .

In His Marvelous Light,




Love Arlington Small Group

While driving to church recently, my wife Melody and I were talking about how we explore and align our interests in serving our local community. The Lord responded the instant we walked into RAC’s door. We were handed the official “RAC Outreach Guide” outlining the incredible work underway by our church body, and we listened to a sermon about Jesus declaring his ministry to the marginalized.

RAC’s active support and prayer for these diverse outreach initiatives has built our church’s institutional wisdom in how to reveal Christ to the world, and has created a greater awareness of the needs of our community. We are all generally aware that Arlington has good job availability, solid schools, and an appealing environment. However, Arlington is also a community to the homeless, trafficked women and immigrants, under loved children, and the unemployed.

The Love Arlington Small Group will kick off this spring to explore and determine where Jesus is directing us to serve.

We will meet weekly and engage with people on the margins of society in order to develop relationships. Our endeavors will range from the pedestrian to the adventuresome, but will always be guided by a spirit of service. We expect to share more information at services over the next few weeks – but if you are already interested please email me or Liz.

Brent Jones

Do you know where you fit?

Fitting into a new role/job/neighborhood/town/friendship group is always a bit awkward – you see a spot that looks like your shape and you wriggle your way into it and adjust and eventually it gets more comfortable – you hope! In some ways its easy to see where I ‘fit’, I’m on day 22 of being on Restoration staff and I look after a whole bunch of stuff and get to think about things and spend time with people…. And I love it!  But in other ways I’m still finding that comfy spot.

Our prayer is that you would know where you fit at Restoration.

We hope you fit…

…in a small group. They are all different – but each one should challenge you and encouraged you to look at Jesus and look more like Jesus. Find a place to grow your vision.

… in our broader community. Why not use the Outreach Guide 2013 to find something that intrigues you? Find a place to use your passions, your gifts.

…in  our rhythm of prayer. We have tons of opportunities to pray as a church: on Sundays, in small groups, and with after-service prayer… Find a place to listen to the Holy Spirit, to see God more clearly, to love Him more.

…in friendships. Whether by coming to a happy hour or going on a retreat or grabbing a snack after church and meeting someone new or reconnecting with someone you know already. Keep an eye on the Worship Guide, seize opportunities, ask God to show you people through his eyes.…. Find a place to have fun, to play and to grow your joy.

If you don’t know where you fit – why not get in touch and we can chat?


Caroling PLUS

During Advent we, as the Restoration community, have a number of opportunities  to meet other people in our neighborhood.

Last Saturday, for example, a number of folk helped with the Casa Chirilagua Christmas party: a splendid time of laughter and joy with around 200 people enjoying the fun.

And then, last night a small group of Restoration people went to serve dinner at the A-SPAN winter shelter (Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network). They were able to spend some time chatting and serving dinner to folk they don’t often get a chance to spend time with: to understand a little bit more what it is like to be homeless over Christmas in Arlington, and to reflect on what Jesus would see and say to them.

This coming Sunday (12/16/12), at 6.45pm we have the opportunity to visit Sunrise Senior Living Community on Glebe Road. Matt Hoppe will lead us as we sing carols, chat and take ‘joy boxes’ which our Restoration kids have made for the residents.

This is an opportunity for you to join in – to meet someone new and to sing carols about the baby whose birth changed everything. Why not set aside an hour from your normal Sunday evening schedule and come along?

There are so many people whose stories we will never know – but how deeply joy-making it will be to know perhaps one more by Sunday night. Come and listen as you sing: meet at church after the 5pm to carpool, or at 6.45pm at Sunrise, 2000 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22207. You will be most welcome!

Liz Gray


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