From our very earliest prayers and daydreams about this little project called Incarnation Anglican, one thing was certain: this would be a church that looked outward. Those first daydreams were taking place at a time when our nation was enacting travel bans, drastically limiting refugees, and grappling with racial violence. Amidst this climate, how could Incarnation be a place of welcome? This question was always in the back of our minds as we prayed and listened and did the work of church planting.
That's why we wanted to be rooted along Columbia Pike, amongst neighbors with a diversity of experiences, languages, and skin colors. It's why we sing in different languages and styles. It's why we are always encouraging people to "do stuff; invite people" and why we have SO many easy, casual events where you can invite friends and neighbors, usually with food (summer soccer, jam sessions, mini-vacation, monthly potlucks, and more).
It's why our first season of small groups were Common Tables--intentionally outward-facing groups designed to welcome neighbors to our tables. And why our second small groups were Dinner & Dialogues--a way to invite those neighbors to a non-threatening conversation about faith using the Alpha course.
It's why we preach about sowing seeds, about always "going," about extending a wide-open welcome to all who are on the margins. It's why we prayer-walk our neighborhoods and clean our local stream and host conversations about hard topics. It's why, not even a year into our life together, we sent a team across the ocean to do the same kinds of things with friends in West Asia.
And it's why we give away 10% of our offering each year to work outside our four walls.
As we approach the end of our first year together, the time has come to make decisions about where that money would go (some was already spent on the Alpha course and the West Asia trip). Through prayer and planning and discussion, we've decided to focus our outreach spending on four core areas that reflect the interests and convictions of our congregation: Justice & Mercy; Evangelism & Church Planting; Refreshing the Workers; and Creation & Beauty. Want to know more about these areas? Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
And so, we've decided to give from your generous offerings this year toward the following ministries, who are extending the mission of worship, welcome, and wonder far beyond the walls of Incarnation.
Restoration Immigration Legal Aid, providing free legal aid to asylum seekers. We've already supported RILA with meals and transportation and a winter coat drive.
Anglican Immigrant Initiative, providing emergency relief for adult and child migrants in detention centers at the Texas-Mexico border.
L’Arche, family-like communities of people with and without intellectual disabilities (two of which are our neighbors in South Arlington).
The Matthew 25 Initiative, a fund that helps churches reach the most vulnerable in their communities.
Great Commission Committee, the church-planting body of our diocese, which helps new churches (like ours!) grow and reach people who feel far from God.
Anglican Relief and Development, which provides funds to relief and development projects around the world. We've already supported them this year through our Shrove Tuesday offering and our Lent offering.
We love supporting friends doing good work here in Arlington and around the world. We love that our little church cares and prays and pays attention. And we love your generosity that makes it all possible.