True to Its Name

By McKenzie Hogue

In the fall of 2022 I learned of Restoration Anglican Church and began attending semi-regularly. I was thrilled to return to Restoration this spring to document and describe their worship service. Restoration is a new church in Cahaba Heights, planted in 2022 by the Reverend Will Shafferman. The people of Restoration are meeting in the Shafferman home with an average attendance of twenty to twenty-five people each week. Restoration follows the core values of Simplicity, Beauty, Truth, Order, Invitation, and Presence. By helping people restore traditional Christian rhythms to their busy modern lives, Restoration guides people in the daily practice of these values and cultivate a heart after the example of Jesus.

Restoration’s long-term vision is for it to be one church with three overlapping parts: the Parish, the Land, and the Abbey. The Parish is the church community, which is currently growing. The Land will be an outdoor space close to town that allows room to appreciate creation through gardening and recreation in a park-like environment. Finally, the Abbey will be an educational space, loosely modeled after a monastery, to pursue studies, work, and prayer in community. The Land and the Abbey will be future endeavors as the Parish grows in number. This vision is captured in their slogan, “Practicing the way of Jesus, in and for Birmingham” (Restoration).

Visionary photo used on the website of Restoration.

Character Formation

An important goal of worship at Restoration is to facilitate members’ growth in character after the example of Jesus. They consider themselves to be “formation forward,” meaning that decisions regarding worship emphasize teaching and modeling the church’s core values. From musical choices providing lyrical theology to the revelation of God’s character through sermons, there is intentional planning to present the truth of scripture as well as ancient rhythms of the Christian faith. When asked to elaborate on these rhythms, Will said, “Some of these are Sabbath, and the life of rest and delight that it leads to the other six days of the week; internal (soulful) and external (material) simplicity; silence and solitude; slowing; appreciation of, and participation in the creation of, beauty in our lives.” Such rhythms invite people to become like Jesus in all areas of their lives. Restoration encourages character growth by reclaiming these practices that are often lost in modern American Christianity. The church encourages the implementation of belief into practice by incorporating these traditional rhythms which “hold immense relevance and refreshment for our present moment” (Restoration) into our context in this modern world. Restoration refers to this concept as “accessible Anglicanism.”

Intimacy With God

Another important aspect of worship at Restoration is developing personal intimacy with God. In the Purpose, Pattern, and Character of Worship, Emory University professor, L. Edward Phillips, identified six types of worship services common in American Protestantism. One he referred to as the “prayer meeting” and also associated with house churches. Since, at this phase of its life, Restoration is a house church, it is not surprising that the worship I observed resonates with this character type. According to Phillips, this character type emphasizes egalitarian community, personal sharing, intimacy with God, and a focus on prayer. This is especially true of Restoration in its current situation as a small group of people meeting in the living room of a home. Whether one is seated on the couch or an armchair, all have entered into the circle together to commune with God. At the end of the gathering is a time for reflection with an open invitation to share observations from scripture and how it informs one’s view of God’s character. As people feel led, prayers are lifted up in turn. The theme of the prayers seemed to me to be “though difficult situations may arise, we are in this together and God is Lord above it all.” To borrow language from another worship scholar, Marcia McFee, the kinesthetic style of Restoration’s worship is “hang:” bodies and spirits enact “just being” with God (McFee 2009). Each variable of worship strategically takes the worshiper deeper into the moment with God. This ritual pattern is one of contemplative awe.

More than doing anything for God or asking for a blessing, hang emphasizes the importance of seeking the presence of God a priori. Just because he is God, beyond anything secondary, he is primary. Practically this can be felt at Restoration in musical choices and speech patterns that are simply communicated yet contain profound biblical truths. Additionally, within the gathering one will notice moments of pause between songs or in time of transition within worship. Such pauses are intentional to draw each person deeper into the moment with the Lord.

Logo from the website of Restoration.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it will be interesting to discover how worship transitions into a more traditional Anglican flow as the church grows and officially launches. “Preview services” will hopefully be offered once a month in a rented location beginning in September 2023. Will plans to incorporate liturgy from the Anglican Church of North America’s Book of Common Prayer (2019) and integrate Holy Communion into the church’s rhythm, at that time. Currently, this is a close knit community of believers that is invested in the wellbeing of each other and the growth of the church. I found it to be a grounding time of worship and fellowship. I greatly appreciate the traditionally rich yet fresh spirit as well as the loving community found at Restoration. A name is significant, and the naming of Restoration was intentional. If anyone is thirsty to restore the soul-refreshing rhythms that God intends for their lives, Restoration Anglican Church may be the place for them.

Restoration Anglican Church
3287 Hillard Drive, Vestavia Hills, 35243
Services Observed:
Pre Launch Gatherings observed in person and via archived video on March 26, April 2, and April 16.
Video Archives:
Affiliation: Anglican Church in North America
Congregation begun: 2022.


McFee, Marcia. 2009. “Primal Patterns: Towards a Kinesthetic Hermeneutic.” Proceedings of the North American Academy of Liturgy: 136-157.

Phillips, L. Edward. 2020. The Purpose, Patter, and Character of Worship. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Restoration Anglican Church. Accessed April 16, 2023.

McKenzie Hogue ‘23 was a student in Christian Worship: History and Theology in Samford University’s Department of Biblical and Religious Studies in spring 2023.

Published April 29, 2023


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