Endel Liias is our new Director of Worship Arts!

Endel headshot 2019

Dear Resto family,

I am so excited to be writing as your soon-to-be Director of Worship Arts.  My first ‘official’ Sunday will be October 20.

It is with tremendous joy that I step into this role, as well as a deep sense of gratitude — to all of you, for praying and supporting our church through this period of transition, and to God, for his goodness, faithfulness, and provision. Thank you.

This is a quick note to say hi, share a bit about me, and tell you why I’m so pumped about what’s to come.

A bit of background. I’m originally from Boston, spent 12 years in Philly for school and work, and moved to D.C. in 2011, which is also the year I met my wife, Kate, at Restoration. I pursued her doggedly for 4 years before she finally relented and married me. Many of you know her. She’s amazing. We don’t have any kids yet but are praying for our family to grow. Professionally, I’ve worked in the field of impact investing for most of my career, and have run my own consulting practice since 2016 called Nexus Impact Advisors. I’m deeply interested in how entrepreneurship and business can be used to address pressing social issues, and will continue to do this part time. For fun I enjoy golf, tennis, guitar, running, traveling, reading, cards, and napping (is that sad?!).

Jesus as the rock. I believe that the single most important thing we can do in life is know and have an intimate relationship with God. We were created precisely for this purpose, and through Jesus’ death and resurrection we now have access to this personal connection. I’ve known this intellectually for most of my adult life, but only recently has it become the emotional and spiritual reality of my heart. My deepest desire is to know the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit more intimately, and the practical manifestation of this is a passion for worship, praise, and prayer. It is from this place — of gratitude for what God has done in my life and a desire for others to know Him more deeply — that I feel called to this position.

Why I’m excited about this role. What excites me most about leading worship is the opportunity to walk together with all of you toward greater intimacy with Jesus. From my own personal experience, I know that our relationship with God can feel dry, difficult, doubtful, and distant. But I also know from experience that we are invited and have access to so much more — into relationships characterized by a felt awareness of God’s presence in our daily lives; a confident expectation that He is involved in and moving in every detail; and a constant assurance that we have access to the transformational power of the Holy Spirit. Worship and prayer are the spiritual tools we have to bring these things into existence in our own lives.

Restoration is a special place. God has blessed our community abundantly over the past 10 years, and my belief is that the best is yet to come. I’m overwhelmed with joy that we get to take this journey together.

With gratitude,


“I wish that I had brought a journal” – Restoration Songs and Prayer


On February 24 I would love for you to come and experience what many others in the congregation have!  I asked some folks who attended the first Restoration Songs and Prayer what they valued about their time.  Here are a few of the responses I received:

“I loved that it created a calm and peaceful space where I could come worship the Lord and lean into His Presence in a new way that broke up my usual weekend routine :)”

“Painting.  I also valued the word of wisdom/picture….That was a huge encouragement for me that night.”

“#1 –  Loved there being space for the Holy Spirit to share His gifts (prophecy, healing, etc.)  #2 – Loved worshipping by having time to dwell in His presence with live music.”

“I literally (not being pejorative here) felt His intensity from others words pouring over me. I left exhausted, but overwhelmed by his grace for me. Still processing this.”

“I wish that I had brought a journal.”

“I’m not one to usually embrace the charismatic-leaning practices, but since it was captured within a loose liturgy and with songs, prayer and scripture, I felt it neatly funneled the gospel’s power for the evening and/ or gave it some guard rails, so to speak, so it didn’t feel out of control.”

“It was the best. I loved the ability to move around: change pews, sit by a friend, paint, etc. I loved that the HS was SO THERE, and I really loved the songs.”

“It was worth a babysitter!”

“Our Heavenly Father loves to feel our love and trust in Him, through all our forms of creative worship and prayer.  That’s what I witnessed and felt.”

“It was so good to have the intentional space and time to listen, to pray, to worship, or to just be quiet…to be in a sacred space with powerful worship music and just ‘be’.”

“I valued the passionate worship that took place. It was a time when people started to let their guard down and allow the Holy Spirit to move.”

“The best Saturday “date” that I’ve had in a long time!”

“Our whole family had a great time. That was an amazing gift! The first time all 6 of us ever all been a part of an evening like that. My favorite part of the night was the freedom of movement and expression. I loved the liberty to move around praying with different friends, worshipping, helping my kids with their art, etc.”

“The sanctuary was full of believers, music, Scriptures, prayers, art, and at the same time, there was so much space for processing the brokenness of humanity, to heal, another step on a lighted path…it felt like the way Restoration Anglican has been, restoring God’s original design for all of us.”

“I most valued an extended time of worship through singing, and that individual songs could flex in their length/order based on the Spirit’s leading (or at least not ‘constrained’ by time quite in the way as it is on Sundays).”

“I felt comfortable. What a gift.”


I would love for you to join us on Saturday, February 24 from 7pm to 8:30.  As I wrote in a previous blog:

Maybe you need him to come in power.
Maybe you need him to speak to you in a still, small voice.
Maybe you need a prayer team to help you ask for healing, deliverance, or that other difficult thing.
Maybe you need to respond with a new song or a prophetic painting.
Maybe the Lord will give you a word to share with his worshipers that will edify the Body.

Bring a Bible.
Bring a journal.
Bring a voice ready to praise the name of Jesus.
Bring a heart, mind, and will that desire to press into the heartbeat of the Father.
Bring hands that are needing to be blessed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to go out and do his good work.
We’ve been created for this pursuit…the pursuit of his kingdom.
How great is God’s love for us!

– Matt

If you are on Facebook and think you’ll come, click here to let us know.


Pressing into the Heartbeat of the Father: Restoration Songs and Prayer

Pull me a little closer
Take me a little deeper
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 12.55.36 PM

This is a note of reflection I read from this past Sunday:

“God met me during the sermon last Sunday, highlighting things that he is doing and wants to do in my heart and in my life.  Often in my life with God, God’s presence causes tears to flow pretty freely.  Which is what happened [Sunday].  David’s call to us to experience God’s power stirred my heart.  Then we paused in silence and sang a song and my heart continued to be stirred.  I really wanted to go up for prayer.  And I really wanted tissues :).  I knew there would be prayer at the end, so I waited and went in search of tissues.  Then the kids came back and there were announcements, and by the time it was time for prayer, I was busy wrangling kids and thinking about the next thing.”  

Yep!  I experience the same thing, and I think many of you do as well.  Because of the breadth of ways that we desire to worship on a Sunday morning, it can often feel like we do not have the space needed to listen and respond to the things God stirs in us.  Restoration Songs and Prayer is designed to be a space for this very thing.

This Saturday night at 7:30, we will seek to listen to the Holy Spirit communally and individually as we ask the Lord to reveal more of his heart to us.  We will use Scripture, songs, prayers, and art to help us listen and respond.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 12.41.57 PM

Here are some thoughts from some folks who are coming:

“I’m looking forward to making music with people because through this art form, God speaks directly into people’s hearts. Our common wants and needs, sorrows and repentance, as well as thankfulness and joy become transparent through lyric, melody, harmony and rhythm. As we listen and respond to music together, we feel connected to each other.  And if we listen carefully, we will most certainly feel Our Father’s connection to us. What more could any of us ask for?”

– Evan Pollack

“I’m looking forward to worshipping with people because I LOVE the way Resto does music, and I’m excited to have an extended period of time to worship the Lord in song with my church family. It’s great to sing together on Sundays, but I often find myself wanting more, and I’m grateful to have that kind of opportunity through the Songs and Prayer night. I appreciate the diversity of types of music and how thoughtfully the team weaves together songs and sets.  I’m also looking forward to how the Spirit will move through corporate and individual prayer and for the time and space to share what we’re hearing from the Lord.”

– Liz Jones

“I was somewhat interested in the upcoming songs and prayer service until I heard from Matt Hoppe that there will be painting… now I’m 100% in!  I’ve never painted during a church service before so I’m excited to try it.  There will be a table set up with small canvases that you can paint however you like, whether you want to experiment with colorful brushstrokes while listening to the music or paint an image that comes to mind. There is no pressure to “like” what you paint – you can take your canvas or leave it. Come create with me!”

– Emily Wade

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 12.55.36 PM

If singing and painting just aren’t your thing, I know that many of you like football.  While I tend to be terrible at sports analogies, and I recognize sad feelings at the Vikings’ loss (Nathan), last Sunday I feel that Rev David threw a long pass to the end zone when he called on us to ask the Lord to come with power in our lives, and we have an opportunity to head to the end zone this Saturday to continue asking and to dare receive the blessing and revelation of his power together as we lift the Lord high in praise and adoration.

Listen to David’s sermon again, and come this Saturday night to ask the Lord to reveal himself to you.  

Maybe you need him to come in power.
Maybe you need him to speak to you in a still, small voice.
Maybe you need a prayer team to help you ask for healing, deliverance, or that other difficult thing.
Maybe you need to respond with a new song or a prophetic painting.
Maybe the Lord will give you a word to share with his worshipers that will edify the Body.

Bring a Bible.
Bring a journal.
Bring a voice ready to praise the name of Jesus.
Bring a heart, mind, and will that desire to press into the heartbeat of the Father.
Bring hands that are needing to be blessed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to go out and do his good work.

We’ve been created for this pursuit…the pursuit of his kingdom.
How great is God’s love for us!

– Matt

Though it is later in the evening, if you have children, they are welcome to join us; or as the person who made the opening statement said to me, “That’s worth a babysitter!”

If you are on Facebook and think you’ll come, click here to let us know

Click here if your curious about the type of things we’ll be singing.

Restoration Songs and Prayer


Incarnation Anglican

unspecifiedAbout 10 days ago we had our first ‘Interested in South Arlington’ evening. It was a lovely time. 35 people came and we talked about South Arlington, Restoration and the strategic plan; the what and why and some of the how of a church plant.  We announced that this new worshipping community is going to be called ‘Incarnation Anglican’.

So let’s start there – why ‘Incarnation’? Well, to be honest, it’s how God finally wooed me to saying ‘yes’ to leading this whole crazy adventure! I was praying one day and he dropped the idea into my brain – and my excitement level rose perceptibly! Why? One of my favorite Bible accounts is Luke 8:43–48 where Jesus heals a hemorrhaging woman with his ’contagious holiness’. She reaches out and touches the hem of his garment and is instantly healed. He then turns around and ensures that her healing is not just physical but social and relational and emotional as well. God in flesh ‘incarnate’ bringing wholeness.

Touching Jesus brings healing. And hope. And fullness. And an encounter with the Holy Spirit. And forgiveness. And life. And as we are called to be the people of God, we are called to be ones who help others to encounter Jesus and his amazing contagious holiness. Jesus touched people who were ‘unclean’ in that culture, and yet they became ‘clean’ rather than him being contaminated. This is our dream – to head into a part of town where people are perhaps not aware that they are looking for Jesus, but are aware of their own brokenness.bus stop

We will go and pray and talk to people at bus stops and in coffee shops. We will look for opportunities to chat and drink tea. We will search out corners of South Arlington where there are people who have struggled with ‘internal bleeding for 12 years’and who know they need answers. We will keep our eyes open for men and women ‘of peace’ (Luke 10.6) who are ready to hear about Jesus. We want to help people see that the incarnate Christ is in their midst and all they need to do is reach out and touch him.

We are glad to be Anglican. There is much to be delighted about: our liturgy brings a sense of history, permanence, and tradition; the delight in beauty brings a sense of the transcendence of God; being Anglican brings a reminder that we are part of an historic, global church, reaching all nations; and so much more…20170222_112820 (1)

Do you live in South Arlington? Or might you move there? Do you have a heart for the nations (108 languages are spoken along Columbia Pike!)?

The Incarnation core team comprises Liz Gray, Morgan Reed and Amy Rowe. If you want to learn more, do reach out to one of us, we’d love to tell you more. After Easter there will be an ‘Interested in Incarnation’ small group – sign up, come and help us pray as we refine our vision and begin to plan our next steps. Come even if you are just curious! We will also be arranging prayer walks, ‘compline in the park’, and other events over the next months… all are invited!

Whether or not you are interested in joining Incarnation, please pray for the team, and for this tiny seedling plant: for ideas, inspiration and most of all for God’s favor (and a place to worship!). Send us an e-mail if you’d like to be kept in the loop.

Rev. Liz Gray, liz@incarnationanglican.org

Rev. Morgan Reed, morgan@incarnationanglican.org

Amy Rowe, amy@incarnationanglican.org

Romans and Lecrae

Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 12.06.48 PM

I thank God for Pandora radio.  He has used these random mixes of songs to edify my soul so many times.  A number of the songs that we sing on Sunday have shuffled into my radar at just the right time.  Some notable songs that we sing from Pandora stations are Psalm 46 and Esther.

After my men’s small group this morning, Romans 6.1-16 and David’s sermon were swirling around in my head, and as I traveled home I decided to press the “shuffle all” button on the Pandora app, and Lecrae’s tune “Tell the World” began to pulse through my car speakers, and hearing the gospel restated through his voice hit me at a fresh and beautiful angle.  If we could sing this corporately, I would try it. 🙂  So here he is – a gifted hip hop artist proclaiming Jesus as Lord and using the gifts that God has given him to point people to the one who makes us brand new:

1. Tell the World - Lecrae feat Mali Music     
Now, i’mma tell the world, tell ‘em
I’mma tell it everywhere I go
Tell the world, tell ‘em
Yeah, i’m a billboard
Tell the world, tell ‘em
And i’m broadcastin’ like a radio
Tell the world
You ought to know, i’m brand new

I know one thing’s true: I don’t even really deserve to know you
But, I-i’m a witness that you did this, and I’m brand new
So, I-I’m read’ to go, and i’mma tell the world what they need to know
A slave to myself, but you let me go, I tried getting high but it left me low
You did what they could never do
You cleaned up my soul and
Gave me new life – I’m so brand new
And that’s all that matters
I-I ain’t love you first, but you first loved me
In my heart I cursed you, but you set me free
I gave you no reason to give me new seasons, to give new life, new breathing
But you hung there bleedin’, and ya’ died for my lies and my cheatin’, my lust and my greed, (and lord!)
What is a man that you mindful of him?
And what do I have to deserve this lovin’?

Tryna make the moments last
Holdin’ on to the past
But, like a hero in a dream
Christ came, and he rescued me
Now, i’mma tell the world
Tell the world, tell ‘em
I’mma tell it everywhere I go
Tell the world, tell ‘em
Yeah, i’m a billboard
Tell the world, tell ‘em
And i’m broadcastin’ like a radio
Tell the world
You ought to know, i’m brand new

I can’t offer you nothin’, but your care & kindness keeps comin’
And your love is so unconditional, I get butterflies in my stomach
I got the old me in the rearview, now the new me got a clear view
And I was so dead, I couldn’t hear you, too deep in sin to come near you
But you drew me in, you cleaned me up, so take me home, beam me up
Before you do, just let me tell the truth
And let these folks know that I done seen ya’ love
And it’s everlasting, infinite, it goes on and on, you can’t measure it
Can’t quench ya’ love, they can’t separate us from the love of god, there’s no estimate
My face look the same, my frame ain’t rearranged
But i’m changed; I promise I ain’t the same
Your love’s so deep you suffered and took pain
You died on the cross to give me a new name
Ain’t nothing like I’ve seen before, I got a beaming glow
I was low, down, and dirty, but you cleaned me, lord
You adopted me, you keep rocking me
I’mma tell the world, and ain’t nobody stopping me!

Tryna make the moments last
Holdin’ on to the past
But, like a hero in a dream
Christ came, and he rescued me

Lecrae featuring Mali Music, 2012, from the album “Gravity”

Praise God,

Christmas Eve . . . and all the trimmings


We are so excited about Christmas Eve at Restoration!

Restoration will have 3 services on December 24 to celebrate the incarnation of God in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Before I describe what to expect at each service, let me answer the most important logistical question:  

Where should I park?

Restoration uses a parking garage that is located over I-66 at the corner of 15th and Quincy Streets.  You can see a map of it here.   This garage is HUGE!  Feel free to use the entire thing.  You will see signs that say ‘permit only’ but they do not apply on Christmas Eve.

Restoration will hire 2 shuttles to move people from the garage to our building.  If it is a nice evening, feel free to take the 7-minute walk.  Otherwise, we hope that one of the shuttles will be at the lot every five minutes.

We encourage you to arrive early.

3 Services?  Wow!  Tell me about them.  The services at 3pm and 5pm will be identical and geared toward the attention span of a child.   The 9pm will feel different–  more contemplative, traditional, quiet, and candle-lit.  Generally, the 3 services will have the same readings, same preacher, same progression of carols.

Will there be candles?  Yep.  A bunch of them.   All around.  We will sing Silent Night while holding candles.  The kids will get glow sticks to hold at the 3pm and 5pm.  It will be beautiful!

Will there be childcare?  Yes, at the 3pm and 5pm services there will be fully-staffed nurseries for children who are the age of 2 or younger.  Kids from pre-k on up are welcome to participate in the worship service in the sanctuary.  At the 3pm and 5pm, there will be take-home goodie bags with items to help kids engage in the service.  We are totally fine if kids get a little wiggly, but there is enough singing and candles and pictures and stories that they stay pretty engaged.

What should the kids wear?  At the 3pm and 5pm, kids come dressed as their favorite character from the nativity story.  During the Gospel reading, they will have the opportunity to stand when their character is mentioned.  We always love having ‘a Christmas pageant in the pews’ at this time of year…  We usually have a whole gaggle of shepherds, sheep, stars, angels, wisemen, and beautiful Mary(s).  An old robe does the trick.  We have also had Buzz Lightyear make a cameo in the nativity.

What should the adults wear?  Well if you aren’t going to come as ‘Joseph’, just come as you are.  There will be people in their holiday best, people who love a nice pair of jeans, and everything in between.

Will there be presents?  Of course!  All of the children will receive an ornament in their goodie bag.  The ornament – for their tree at home –  is a sweet reminder that God loves them.

Will there be an opportunity to give?  Yes!  On Christmas Eve, all of our offerings are given to organizations outside of Restoration who are locally doing good and beautiful work for the sake of the vulnerable and those on the margins.  Our church does not keep anything that is given at these services.  This year, we will give our financial offerings to support the work of Little Lights Urban Ministries which empowers underserved youth, families, and communities in Washington DC by sharing the hope of Christ through compassionate action, caring relationships, and racial reconciliation.

Can I give anything else?  Definitely.  Each year, on Christmas Eve, Restoration has given gifts to Doorways, a safe place where women and families can receive help. This year Restoration has been invited to bring in bedroom items. Here is a list of specific items most useful to the women and families Doorways supports. Bring your gifts to the Restoration Christmas Eve services at 3pm, 5pm, or 9pm. You’ll have a chance to bring them forward during the offering part of the service.

Do you need volunteers?  We sure do.  If you are already a Sunday volunteer log onto MSP and select something.  If you have never volunteered, don’t worry.  It’s easy!  We would love you to help us.  Contact Kathy Kenyon (kathy@restorationarlington.org) and she can get you squared away.

How long will the service last?  The 3pm and 5pm will be about 75 minutes.  We sing 5 or 6 carols, with parts of the Christmas story read in between, then we close with The Holy Eucharist.  The 9pm will be closer to 90 minutes.

Anything else distinct about the 9pm?  Yes!  We will have incense in the procession and the Eucharist will be sung in a fashion similar to our Easter Vigil service.  The music team will include a bassoon, cello, and clarinet!

What about Christmas Day?  It’s on a Sunday!  We will have one service at 10am and we would love for you to come back.  You could even wear your Christmas pjs!  [What could be better than waking up Christmas morning to open stockings and have a little breakfast, followed by a church family celebration of Jesus’ birthday, then home again to unwrap gifts and have lunch?]

Anything else I should know?  We love Christmas and the chance to meet lots of neighbors, family members, and folks who don’t normally come to Restoration.  We offer you a warm welcome this Christmas season and all of the Sundays that follow.  We are grateful to be a part of the Arlington Community, and we pray for it every day.



Embracing the Awkward for God’s Glory and my Own Good


I find much of Anglicanism to be awkward.

I was chatting with one of my coworkers yesterday about the word choices in the 1979 prayer book compared to the new ACNA liturgy (please don’t stop reading this if that sounds like a really boring conversation).  He mentioned that the response “and with your spirit” feels awkward.  I agreed.  He then contrasted it to “and also with you” which he thought felt more normal.  I thought about it, and I disagreed.  I find them both awkward.

A big part of my engagement with Anglicanism coming from an Evangelical background has been learning to pursue the beauty and truth in the words or actions that might at first feel awkward.

A couple years ago I was getting tired of the really old Eucharist liturgy that we were using during Lent (the one with all the “heartilies” and “oblations”), and the Lord gently corrected me through one of the men’s small group elders who that morning had intentionally read the old english Oswald Chambers’ daily reflection in order to get out of his own head.  I was convicted by his humility in his approach to God’s transforming his life.  He was not looking for the perfect fit for him.  He was looking for something that would reshape his soul by pushing against the resistance in his heart.

I don’t kneel out of physical comfort.  I don’t take a sip from the chalice to quench physical thirst.  I don’t always sing out of wanting to.  I don’t respond with “and with your spirit” as if I think it’s the perfect personal response.  I don’t raise my hands during the Collect for Purity as if they’re just itching to be above my head.  These are ways that I command my soul, my heart, my mind, and my body to bless the Lord.

I am thankful that these Anglican forms of worship have been forming me.  And I exhort you to revisit the kneeling, the clunky phrases, the bread and wine, the hand raising, and other strange acts in order to let them more intentionally shape your posture before the Lord.  To Him be all glory and honor forever and ever.

– Matt

Glen Packium with Rooted Network has written a quick and extremely practical blog on the physicality of worship.  I invite you to check it out.

Stars and our Worshipful Gaze

Tudor Ceiling - The Chapel Royal - long

Because of the belief that a church is a median between heaven and earth, Christians have regularly painted stars on on the ceilings of churches. For instance, stars are a major symbol of Eastern Orthodox architecture, and they were even part of church design in the early Anglican church, as evidenced by the ceiling of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace. These stars helped Christians imagine the heavens when they looked up to worship.

Even in modern times, as our churches have become simpler and perhaps less numerous, the actual stars continue to inspire awe of creation and worship of God. For instance, on Christmas Eve in 1968, after a year of unrest and assassinations on earth, the astronauts of Apollo 8 read the Genesis Creation account from space as their capsule orbited around the moon, the first human-created vessel to do so. Broadcasted around the world, the reading was the most watched television program in history, so successful that the astronauts won an Emmy that year.

Six months later, the first liquid poured out and the first food eaten on the moon were communion elements, self-administered by Presbyterian astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. There, in the lunar one-sixth gravity, the wine curled up the side of the cup. Aldrin later reflected to Time Magazine, “At the time I could think of no better way to acknowledge the enormity of the Apollo 11 experience than by giving thanks to God.”

As the 20th Century continued, the stars continued to inspire majesty and awe even in secular contexts. Perhaps nowhere have stars been more romanticized in recent American culture than by Carl Sagan in his 1980s television program Cosmos. On the show, (aided by choice 1980s computer graphics) Sagan proposed that technology, not God, had been human being’s salvation for millennia. Yet his poetic narration about the heavens instilled a curiosity and beauty about the stars that lifted them out of sterile science.

In the Bible, David uses the heavens to instill worship. For Abraham, God uses the multiplicity of the stars to demonstrate his promise and unbelievable blessing to a wandering nomad. For the Magi, who traded in the movement of stars, God uses a single one to quite literally lead them to Jesus. How compassionate is a God who uses mediums that inspire to lead us back to the promise of his Son.

Despite cultural unmooring from the Christian faith, stars remain objects that have the potential to lift the human heart to heaven just as they did with Abraham, the Magi and the early Christians and astronauts. As we enter into Advent, how is God calling you to understand and worship him through awe-inspiring, unexplored environments like outer space?

Carrie W. Montalto
Restoration Member


© Copyright Restoration Anglican Church