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

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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.

Worship is for Lovers: Summer Small Group

Sign up for this small group by emailing David Griffin.

“Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

 (Psalm 1:1-2)

Thousands of years ago, the Psalmist recognized something that our modern era is only slowly learning to appreciate again: ritual. If there’s a word in our Christian vocabulary that’s gotten a bad rap in the last couple centuries, it’s “ritual.” Sometimes you hear it as shorthand for mindless acts of devotion that keep religious people busy, or for something quaint and sentimental, like when secular people put up Christmas trees in December.

Psalm 1 speaks of ritual practice, but it’s hardly mindless or sentimental. Granted, it doesn’t deal with “rituals” like religious festivals or fasting. But notice how the Psalm speaks of routine activities we perform with our bodies: walking, standing, sitting, meditating, and that day and night. That’s because the “law of the Lord” is a four-dimensional thing, something lived in space and time (though also contemplated in the mind). Israel’s book of worship opens with this hymn, suggesting that this is somehow what worship—indeed, life—is all about. We train our affections to delight in the law of the Lord.

I think the book of Psalms begins like this because rituals are routine practices that shape who we are at the most fundamental level of our lives. They give shape to our desires and fashion our loves. They are everywhere, and most of the time we aren’t even aware of it when we perform them. As Christian philosopher James K. A. Smith puts it, we are worshipping animals.

You know who really gets this? Starbucks. When I worked there as a barista, their mission was to become our clientele’s “third place,” after their home and work places. So we hoped to seduce coffee-lovers through what might be called a Starbucks liturgy. A smiling barista would greet you from behind the counter as soon as you enter the door, and (if possible) would welcome you by name. After reading the bulletin (our menu), admiring the icons (our quirky wall-art), and making an offering (at the register), you would partake of the elements in your favorite pew (a plush loveseat) with the rest of the congregants enjoying the aroma of the coffee-scented incense. Ideally for Starbucks, this simple routine would become embedded in your daily rhythm of life.

The Christian Church, of course, has its own liturgy or set of rituals, which are designed to channel our deepest desires to the Triune God, who is love. And this Church exists in a world of competing liturgies, like those of Starbucks (or nation states, neighborhood associations, fraternity and sorority houses, corporate structures, etc.), which are always trying to direct our loves toward other things. In this class I want to examine how Christian practices (ancient, everyday-things-people-got-martyred-for practices that we still do today) play this role of formation in our lives.

In our first four weeks, we’ll study in depth the practices of worship and devotion that the Holy Spirit has used over the centuries to shape the church into the Bride of Christ, who adores (imperfectly, in this life) her all-loving Husband. These include our Sunday liturgy (especially the Eucharist), scripture reading, daily prayer, the creeds, the church year, etc. I am a historian of the Bible and ancient church by training, so my hope is that you’ll gain a fresh appreciation for what we do in the present by digging into the past.

In the last four weeks, we’ll turn our attention to the situation in which we find ourselves in the postmodern world. This part of the class will be much more creative. What forces are at work in our culture, at the level of practice, competing for our loves in our corner of the world in 2013? How can we identify and respond to them in a way that is relevant yet rooted in our historic faith? I’m open to seeing what issues are of interest to the group; potential topics include the arts, internet, and social media, the institutions in which we work, etc.

So please join me Wednesday nights in July and August to study (or, better, pursue) the Christian life as one of worship. It is something we do body and soul, “day and night.” It is a historic pattern of practices, and the goal to “delight in the Lord.” That is: worship is for lovers.

David Griffin

Day/Time: Wednesdays from 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Dates: July 6- August 24

Location: The Fellowship Hall, Restoration Anglican Church

Sign up: Email David Griffin

Parking Info for Sunday, June 5

Oh, the irony! Just one week after we encouraged you to use the parking lot at the corner of N. Quincy and 15th St., we’ve learned of an event happening this Sunday, June 5 from 7:00 am to 10:30 am.

The following streets could be blocked off:

  • N. Quincy St. between Washington Blvd. and N. 15th St.
  • N. 15th St. between N. Quincy St. and N. Stafford St.
  • N. Stafford St. between Washington Blvd. and N. 15th St.

We are not altering any of our normal Sunday routines, but you may find you’ll need to be creative about parking and getting to church. We will ask James (our beloved shuttle driver) to pick up people at the corner of N. Quincy and 17th St. before and right after the 9 am service.

To help you see where those streets and spots are located, we’ve created a map.

Last year we made alternative plans but everything was over before the 9 am service. We’re hopeful the same will be true this year! But, if you are a 9 am regular, feel free to try out the 11 am or the 5 pm service instead!

Restoration turns 6!


Today is Restoration’s 6th birthday.  

We remember the celebration we had in 2009 at the Ballston Hilton and we celebrate all the opportunities we have had to welcome people home in 2016.  Here are some highlights from this year:

  • We have lived in our space  eaten meals, laughed, cried, prayed, sang.  We have hosted so many events—  a major conference for Dan Allender, weddings, funerals, diocesan meetings, RestoMen and Women Unscripted.  We have generously provided needed regional space for Operation Christmas Child, made it easier to engage in the liturgy by adding sound treatment to our sanctuary and made the space more fun by adding a playground.
  • We dug deeper in Cambodia and West Asia.  We now have 2 ordained, Anglican leaders for the work of church planting in those countries.  At home, we have begun to imagine how we might provide immigration legal aid in our facility on Quincy Street.
  • We hired 2 people– Nathan Dickerson and Isaiah Brooms, who bring vision and talent for the work of growing coherent, faithful followers of Jesus through our small groups for adults and youth.
  • We’ve grown in attendance by 35% this year.  We have increased our budget by 15%.
  • Over 50 people made commitments of membership and signed The Big Green Book.  Over 30 people were baptized.  We have made a place where people can come home.
  • While we continue to disciple and care for all the people who call Restoration home, we are beginning to pray about, learn about, and dream about what it would take to send 2 or 3 church plants out of this home for the sake of of establishing new places that could welcome people home.  We hope that next year, when we celebrate our 7th birthday, we will have taken significant steps on that journey. 

One of the birthday gifts that you can give the leadership of our church is your feedback about this year.  What was most significant for you?  How would you like Restoration to improve?  This survey will take you 5 minutes to fill out.  Your responses will be so helpful as we plan for the opportunities that will come in year 7!  The survey is open until December 1.

I am grateful to be on the journey with you.


So, why are you in the Holy Land?

Well, thanks for asking.

About a year ago, I was invited by The Telos Group to join a pilgrimage that was headed to the Holy Land in 2015.  Telos strengthens the capacity of American faith communities – and especially American evangelicals – to help positively trans­form the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Their vision is security, freedom, and dignity for every human being in the Holy Land, and their belief is that a viable two-state solution supported by the United States is the best and most practical way to realize that vision.  In other words, the folks at Telos are genuinely pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-American, and pro-peace, all at the same time.

I had a good conversation with our vestry about my desire to join Telos on this trip and they agreed that this was a good investment in my professional development.  Like many of us, I have wanted to see the Holy Land for a long time.  But, I wanted the unique conversations that Telos would afford.  I didn’t want to just go from site to site.  I wanted to interact with the people who are there now and learn about their experience and what gives them hope.  I wanted to hear about reconciliation and intractable pain and how to think about ISIS and the holocaust.  It has been an incredible experience so far and we are still in the first half of our time!  We spent 2 nights in Nazareth and talked for a long time about the annunciation, Jesus’ boyhood, and why God would show up in such a small, out of the way place.

We also met Father Elias Chacour.

Blood BrothersChacour

Father Elias just retired as the archbishop of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Nazareth.  He is Palestinian (calls himself ‘a man from Galilee’).  He is noted for his efforts to promote reconciliation between Israelis and Arabs.  I heartily recommend his book, Blood Brothers, which tells his story.  He talked with us for a long time on Thursday.  Here is one little story–

A few years ago there was a bombing in Tel Aviv.  Chacour’s school wanted to do something to help the Jewish people who had been hurt.  They decided to do a blood drive.  Israeli nurses drove up to their school in Nazareth and Chacour was expecting about 15 people to come and donate their blood.  But instead, he showed us pictures of over 300 Palestinians donating their blood to help Israeli Jews who were hurt by the suicide bomber.  It was an incrediblly, unexpected outpouring of grace.   Father Elias said it has been a graphic image for him of the hope and prayer he has for this land–  that Palestinian blood literally flowed into Jewish veins for their good and for their restoration.  He talked for awhile about loving one’s neighbor and the things that could make for peace.  That story in itself was moving, but then…


We went to the Sea of Galilee.  It was a gorgeous day–  77 degrees on calm water (meanwhile it was a high of 27 in Arlington!).  The Galilee is smaller than I imagined, intimate.  You can see the shoreline of the entire lake.  There are hills that go straight up from it and I could picture Jesus watching the disciples try to row all night when he ‘sent them ahead’ after he fed the 5000.  Easy to imagine Jesus sitting at elevation and praying that these men would have soft hearts and start to get who he was as he watched them strain at the oars with the wind at their back.  Our group sat on the hills where Jesus gave the sermon on the mount.  (Scholars aren’t sure of all the spots where Jesus showed up, but they are confident on this one.)  Bill Haley lead us in the Eucharist and I was given the privilege of serving the sacrament of Jesus’ blood, the chalice of wine.  I offered it to each person:  ‘The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.  Take and drink this in remembrance that Christ died for you.  This is the blood of Christ that was shed for the forgiveness of your sins.’  As I served, I was catapulted to Father Elias’ story from the morning–  the blood of Palestinians flowing into the veins of Israeli Jews for their good and their restoration.  And Father Elias’ story helped me understand my own hope that is found in the sacrament of the blood of Jesus flowing into me, that gives me life and preserves my soul unto everlasting life.  This blood of Jesus that reconciled me to my Father in heaven, grace.  This blood of Palestinians that was grace to Israeli Jews.

There are more stories to tell.  The pain is centuries old.  The narratives are complex.  But the One who told us to love our neighbor as ourself is alive and full of grace.

Grateful to be here: to think hard, to pray often, to see with new eyes.


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 at  or read my blog.

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

In His Marvelous Light,




Small Groups & Our Life Together

Hey everyone,

Small Groups have officially begun and we are so excited! Robert Moore, a member of Restoration, has had an incredible experience through small groups and has graciously offered to share some of his story.

“Being a part of a small group at Restoration has not just been a good experience for me from a spiritual standpoint, but completely redefined who I was in the DC area as a Christian. Before visiting Restoration and joining an all-guys group on Wednesday evenings, I had been church hopping for 2 years and never laid down roots nor developed a Christian community in the area. In that small group I was able to meet and have fellowship with guys who were experiencing similar aspects of life such as starting our careers, dating, and living as Christians in a secular and transient part of the world. I have since expanded into other small groups and was able to learn from Christians with different backgrounds and experiences, and work with those who were experiencing things that I had been through before. Some of the guys who I met in small group I now count among my closest friends, and look to them for accountability and love. Finally, being a part of Restoration small groups has given me courage to live as a Christian outside of my church community in DC. Knowing that I have the support and prayers of good friends in Christ has strengthened my faith and allowed me to have a more joyous and free walk with the Lord.”

We’re so thankful for a community as close as ours that truly wants to do life together. Robert’s story is one of the many awesome stories of being in a small group, and we’d love for you to be a part of one as well. If you haven’t signed up yet, go here. Registration goes through the end of the month.


Building an old/new cross

In case you haven’t seen it, there is a new cross in the Sanctuary.  It’s a gift from a guy who likes wood and likes to make stuff out of wood.  Here’s the story behind it . . .

Building an Old/New Cross

By Steve Brooks

September 11, 2011

My dad is a retired furniture refinisher and as a kid I worked with him sanding table-tops, stripping off old finishes and fixing broken furniture. Every time I smell lacquer or see a cool power tool, fond memories bubble up from my childhood.  I am reminded of the countless hours working with my dad, brothers and friends in his shop.  My dad is a true craftsman and he taught me how to fix furniture and make stuff.  He also taught me how to appreciate all things made of wood.

I love the smell of newly cut wood, the colors and visual affects of stained wood, but most of all, I love creating something from a piece of wood.  I don’t do it often, but when I do, I have a hard time stopping until I finish – I just can’t wait to see the final product.

My most recent wood project was building an old – well, new – cross for our church.  It’s actually an old oak barn beam and is now a new cross for the sanctuary.  The beam from which this cross was cut came from a barn in Pennsylvania that was built circa 1830.  So the wood in its current form is about 180-years-old.  The actual tree from which the wood was cut – if we are counting growth rings – is estimated to be between 600-800 years old.  When this cross was a living organism, Scottish rebel William Wallace was leading his ragtag band of Scottish clans to victory against the English Monarchy.

I came across this piece of ancient oak at a small company in Pennsylvania that reclaims old wood from barns, factories, houses and churches.  They buy the wood from people tearing down these places and they re-cut the beams and make flooring or furniture.  Or they sell it to people like me who want a new/old fire place mantel.  I was searching for a beam for a mantel in our house and ended up buying two beams – not knowing which one would look the best.  So I used a 170 year-old hand-hewn piece of American Chestnut for the mantel and decided I had to make something out of the unused oak beam.

As the oak beam sat in my garage, I had a vision of making a cross and figured I could make it without a lot of fuss.  A few cuts here, some sanding there, then oil and a final finish – 40 hours later and after coaxing my neighbor Joe into helping (he has some really cool tools) it was finally finished.  Joe was great.  He listened as I told him the whole story of Restoration and what led me to build this cross and I took the opportunity to tell him how I came to know Christ.

When I presented the cross to David Hanke, he said how my working with wood is a “labor of love.”  And it is, but more.  When I work with wood –- especially in making this cross – it was a very spiritual time for me.  I listened to music, talked to God, listened and thought a lot about my life and family.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how God restores us in all things.  His restoration goes beyond a few cuts here, some sanding there – then oil and a final finish.  His restoration brings us back to life.  I can’t do that with an old barn beam, but He can do it with us.  And I am thankful for His Restoration.

-Steve Brooks-

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