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Parish Newsletter

September 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

September is right around the corner, and the church program year kicks off with “Welcome Back Sunday” on September 13. We have updates on programs for all ages, including a new “Theology Thursday” offering, and opportunities for building each other up as the body of Christ. While programming will remain online for now, we are pleased to announce the return of the 8:30 a.m. service on Sunday, September 20, as the first step in a phased reopening and re-institution of in-person worship. Read on to learn more.
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SUNDAY BIBLE STUDY
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On September 13, we will begin a new study on the Books of Kings, by popular demand. This past Spring we read the Books of Samuel, and learned about the rise of the monarchy in Israel and the reign of King David. The book study was much enjoyed, so we plan on continuing sequentially with a reading of First and Second Kings – which will take us from the death of David to the Babylonian exile – a period of around 400 years. Come join us via Zoom at 9:45 a.m. and enjoy an hour of informal study and reflection before the main Sunday service of the day at 11:00 a.m.
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CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
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We are excited to begin a new year of family ministries on September 13. While we will meet via Zoom for the foreseeable future, we have been evolving and refreshing our program offerings for the Fall.
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Children’s Chapel: This offering will take place each Sunday at 9:00 a.m. for our younger members and their families. We’ll be utilizing a new curriculum called Storymakers NYC, and the 20 minute chapel gathering will be informal, informative and fun-filled. Our aim is to help families with younger children to wake up on the Sabbath with joy and expectation for the day ahead. And, keep an eye out for your Faith & Family Kits that will be mailed before Welcome Back Sunday to help you prepare for the new program year and our new Children’s Chapel format!
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Middle School: The Middle School Youth Group will meet weekly on Sunday afternoons at 5:45 p.m., and will be utilizing the Echo the Story curriculum – an innovative program that enlightens and enlivens the biblical narrative and its historical roots. After the success of the Spring gatherings, we look forward to further growing our merry band of Middle Schoolers as we follow the Word and try to make sense of what the Bible is teaching us in our lives today. Middle Schoolers will also receive Faith & Family Kits with materials for their weekly gathering.
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High School: Continuing on from our early 2020 scheduling, the High School Youth Group will meet monthly on Sunday evenings to discuss how faith continues to play a part in our everyday lives – with an emphasis on contemporary issues and events. Each participant is invited to speak their mind freely, and to explore what the Christian faith means to them – and how faith can help, support and guide them in their journey towards adulthood. We are happy to welcome parishioner Uche Akwuba as a Youth Group Leader! Rik will be in touch with parents of our High Schoolers to schedule a first meeting date.
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Parents: The Christian Parenting Group will meet monthly on Wednesday mornings. During the beginning of the Covid crisis, this group really came together to support each other as we all sought answers on how best to parent under the remarkable and stressful events of this past Spring. As we all travel into the Fall together, we’ll continue to monitor the particular parental challenges of this time. And at each meeting we frame the conversation within the biblical context, as faith remains our ultimate guide. Our September meeting date will be Wednesday, September 23. Stay tuned for details.
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20s/30s GROUP
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Our lively 20s/30s Group will return to meeting monthly on Monday evenings for solace, support, encouragement and fellowship. This past Spring we enjoyed an online quiz night, a creative arts discussion on faith, and conversation about the social and political challenges of our times. We couch our discussions around the Gospel and our call as Christians to live into our ever-evolving world, and all young adults are most welcome. Keep an eye out for news about, and an invitation to, our first meeting in September.
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DAMAGED HERITAGE: SEPTEMBER 15
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As announced in the summer newsletter, we are pleased to offer a special event on the theme of racial reconciliation. On Tuesday, September 15, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., Chester Johnson will speak about his recently published book, Damaged Heritage: The Elaine Race Massacre and a Story of Reconciliation. This book is based on a mostly forgotten massacre of more than 100 African-Americans in 1919 in Elaine, Arkansas, not far from Johnson’s hometown.
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Damaged Heritage describes Johnson’s own journey of discovering his family’s role in the massacre and beginning the work of reconciliation with descendants of those victimized during the event and its aftermath. Click here to learn more about the book and the author. Zoom access information will be shared in the weekly e-minder.
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RETURN OF SUNDAY 8:30 AM HOLY EUCHARIST: SEPTEMBER 20
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The Vestry Reopening Committee and Incarnation Staff have been developing a plan for resuming the 8:30 a.m Sunday service of Holy Eucharist. Provided that Covid numbers remain low in New York City, the first service will be held on September 20. As many of you know, this service lasts approximately 30 minutes, is entirely spoken, and is according to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. It will be in the nave of the church, as opposed to the side chapel, and there will be several safety protocols in place.
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As the date nears, will be sharing detailed instructions for entering and exiting the church, participating in worship and receiving communion (in one kind only). For those who might not feel comfortable worshiping in person just yet, we offer communion from the Reserved Sacrament in the Parish House by appointment. At this stage, we will continue to stream our principal Sunday service at 11:00 a.m. on YouTube and use Zoom to host our 5:00 p.m. Sunday service as well as our regular services of the Daily Office.
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GOD AND THE PANDEMIC: SEPTEMBER 24, OCTOBER 1 AND 8
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What are we supposed to think about the Coronavirus crisis? Is it a sign of the End? Is it a call to repent? Join us for a 3-week study on God and the Pandemic written by one of the world’s foremost New Testament scholars, N.T. Wright. This study will take place on three consecutive Thursdays beginning September 24 at 7:00 p.m. Each session will include chapter summaries by the clergy as well as small and large group discussion. Followed by a half hour of virtual fellowship from 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. Keep an eye on the e-minder for Zoom access information.
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This series will be the start of “Theology Thursdays” – an ongoing opportunity to gather online for spiritual formation and fellowship. New topics will be presented throughout the Fall. “Theology Thursday” is an effort to increase parish-wide programming, which means we have to cut back in other areas. As such, we will not have monthly gatherings of the Men’s and Women’s Groups this Fall. Please know that this doesn’t mean the end of “all men” or “all women” gatherings at Incarnation.
These groups have been meaningful over the years and quite successful in fostering relationships within the parish community. We’ll see what the future holds. But for now, in this time of social distancing, we want to increase opportunities for spiritual togetherness.
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IT’S YOUR FAITH; SHARE YOUR STORY
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Over the past few years, we have had a number of parishioners share “spiritual tips” – a favorite prayer practice, devotional book, daily discipline or other source of spiritual nourishment. These tips help us “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11) as fellow Christians. Now we are expanding the call for tips by also asking, “What’s your favorite Bible verse/story and why?” We hope you might share a tip or answer to this question with your fellow parishioners.
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Because we can’t see much of each other these days, the preferred mode is a brief 1-2 minute video reflection. Perhaps you have seen one of these recorded tips in the e-minder or on social media; if not, check out our Instagram page. Of course, we also welcome written reflections if the camera is a bit intimidating! So give it some thought, and certainly some prayer, and see what the Spirit might prompt you to share. Email one of us with submissions or questions.
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With gratitude for this community and bright hope for our future together,
Adrian and Rik
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The Rev. Adrian Dannhauser, Interim Priest in Charge
The Rev. Richard S.J. Pike, Interim Associate



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