December 2017

Dear Friends,
As the holidays approach, the enclosed flyer lists our principal services of the season. You may also want to post the flyer in your building or pass it along to a friend. Please tell friends who have children about the Pageant and the Family Service. You might also let them know that the church Nursery is open every Sunday of the year, staffed by a professional attendant, and that the Sunday School always welcomes drop-ins and visitors.
It often happens that people randomly attend a Christmas worship service and find themselves beginning an unexpected spiritual journey. Even if you yourself plan to be out of town, let your non-churchgoing neighbors know about the services at Incarnation. One day, they may be grateful that you thought of them.
Now our Organist discusses the music we’ll hear this season.
After a month of service here at Incarnation, I am thrilled to be able to thank everyone publicly for the warm and kind welcome to the Incarnation Family! It has been a true pleasure of meeting many of you over the last couple of weeks, and to hear your thoughtful compliments about the service music! Personally, it is an utmost joy for me to provide beautiful and uplifting music from week to week with such a lovely and professional choir as ours is! With their caliber, we performed beautiful and sublime pieces from Tallis, Mozart and Handel, all the way to Vierne, Vaughn Williams and Rutter.
As you all are aware, we are approaching a very exciting time of the year – Christmas season. It is a wonderful time of preparation, gift giving, but also of remembrance of our Savior’s birth! As we await, let us all celebrate together by singing cheerful carols, listening to scriptural passages and great music on our annual Lessons & Carols service, which is to be held on the 10th of December at 5pm. This is the perfect evening to invite family and friends. Looking forward to seeing you all there!
—Levente Medveczky
The Eucharist at eleven o’clock on Christmas Day features a Visit to the Crèche for the children present. We are also happy to offer a Children’s Eucharist on Christmas Eve. This brief, informal service for families will replace the usual Sunday 5:00 p.m.communion and will include a children’s homily, a simple Eucharistic prayer, and a few favorite Christmas hymns. We hope families will join us for one or both of these services.
Many people like to make gifts for Christmas decorations and/or music in memory of a loved one or in thanksgiving. Please mail your donations to the Church Office by December 20th, along with any names you would like to be listed in the Christmas leaflets. The funds for the decorations and the supplemental music are provided by this appeal.
Another holiday custom at Incarnation is the Christmas Fund. The Fund helps people within the Incarnation parish family who have financial needs; grants from the Fund are made in confidence through the Rector’s Discretionary Fund.
You can use the enclosed form and return envelope to make gifts to Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Operation Santa, and the Christmas Fund. You can also request offering envelopes if you have not pledged yet; those who pledge receive envelopes automatically.
Two Christmas parties to look forward to: First the public party in the Assembly Hall following the December 10 Service of Lessons and Carols at 5 PM. Invite your friends and neighbors to that one and of course be sure to attend yourself!
Parishioners — especially members of the Men’s Group and the Women’s Group — are then invited to join in decorating the church for Christmas on Friday, December 15, beginning at 6:00 PM. After the decorating is completed, you’re also welcome to come to a reception in my apartment.
Mission and Outreach
Operation Santa, our annual Christmas service project, returns. We’re purchasing, wrapping and shipping presents to children and families in need, and there are many ways to get involved.
  1. We’ll start with a trip to the Farley Post Office (421 8th Ave. at 31st St.) on Thursday, December 7, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. to sort through letters written to “Santa.” Our goal is to amass a collection of letters that ask for necessities, such as winter coats, shoes and smaller gifts. Let me know if you can help.
  2. Letters will be made available at the church on Sunday, December 10. Pick up a letter at Coffee Hour or the Parish Christmas Party following Lessons and Carols. Shop for the child who wrote the letter. You are welcome to let the church wrap, pack, and ship the presents you purchase. Just bring them by the Parish House in time for our wrapping and packing party.
  3. All are invited to help wrap and pack presents purchased for Operation Santa on Monday, December 18 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Children of any age can make Christmas cards.
  4. Packages will be shipped from the Farley Post Office on Tuesday, December 19. Please let me know if you can help take packages to the post office at any time during business hours, especially if you happen to drive an SUV!
Go to our Outreach page on the church website to access a copy of the Operation Santaflyer, which you are welcome to circulate to friends. This is a great opportunity to introduce others to Incarnation and an important aspect of our shared life of faith. Not only are we being “Santa” to someone in need; we are being Christ, manifesting his presence in the world and in the lives of those we serve.
20s/30s Group
To continue an Incarnation 20s/30s tradition, Group member Breandan Ward has invited the 20s/30s to his home on the Upper West Side for a Caroling Party on Monday, December 11 at 7:00 p.m. It’s time to warm up your vocal cords with mulled wine or apple cider and then belt out some Christmas favorites! RSVP to me for exact location.
Women’s Group
The Women’s Group will meet on Tuesday, December 5 in the Parish House from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Guest speaker the Rev. Kimberlee Auletta will discuss the Spiritual Exercises developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola and how we can take a “retreat in daily life” – a valuable practice during an especially hectic season. Kimberlee is a spiritual director and Priest-in-Charge at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Brooklyn.
Children and Families
Children of all ages are invited to participate in a short Christmas Pageant during the 11:00 a.m. service on Sunday, December 17. Youth are invited to help as stage managers. There will be one rehearsal from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 16 in the church. Please let me know if your child would like to participate so that we can have enough costumes and parts for all. I will also give you a Pageant hymn booklet.
Following the Pageant, we will have special Coffee Hour treats and hot chocolate for all Pageant participants and helpers! Children will also make Christmas cards for Operation Santa – a great hands-on mission opportunity for kids.
—The Rev. Adrian Dannhauser
On October 7, Ned Crabb died, following a brief series of illnesses; he was 78. Ned served Incarnation in a number of capacities over a period of nearly thirty years. Most memorable perhaps were his terms as Senior Warden, his direction of the Christmas Pageant, and his taking of the part of Jesus in our Palm Sunday Gospel reading. Only a couple of months ago, Ned served at the altar as a chalice bearer. He will be much missed. I know that you will keep Ned’s wife Kay and his daughters, Elizabeth and Adelaide in your prayers.
Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon him. Amen.
***All who helped with the Halloween Party and Bingo Night at Moravian Open Door.
***All who volunteered for our November Senior Resource Day.
***Zi Khumbula and Dawn Harris Scarangella for offering cooking demonstrations to the 20s/30s Group as part of our Common Table Theology series.
***The Rev. Paul Kennedy of St. Vedast Church in London for preaching on October 22 and giving us news of our sister parish. It was also a joy to meet Paula Kennedy, and we look forward to return visits in the future.
***Ted and Ann Rast and others for offering hospitality to the Kennedy’s during their visit.
***Monica Culoso, Erlinda Nelson, and Zi Khumbala for helping with the Homecoming Bagel Brunch.
***Everyone who gave donations to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey through Episcopal Relief and Development and for Dominica, which were delivered personally by our Sexton, Enrico Shillingford.
***Our many office volunteers: Ginny Bubaris, Allen Cohen, Marjory Crumpacker, Srimeli DeMel, Cynthia Drayton, Edward Gaweda, Mihail Georgescu, Rodica Georgescu, and Thomas Grischkowsky. We owe them all a debt of gratitude. They offer a warm welcome to visitors and callers, and they perform many tasks necessary for the smooth functioning of our parish.
***Julie Noll and her team of volunteers for organizing the scrumptious Annual Parish Luncheon.
* * * * * *
Here is the first entry in what I hope will be a new section of this Parish Letter:
Reports from the Treasurer, the Investment Committee, the Associate Rector and the Rector were reviewed in detail. The Vestry identified candidates for the nominating committee for the 2018 Vestry, and appointed Sondra Carter as a Diocesan Convention delegate for Incarnation. The Vestry approved an additional payment to Incarnation Camp and will appoint an additional representative to the Incarnation Camp board. The Vestry discussed the need to improve the audio system in the church and to review and communicate security procedures on Sunday at the Church and the Rectory. The Vestry gave positive feedback on the October 15th Instructional Liturgy, and on the work of the new Music Director.
—Jonathan Vaughan, Senior Warden
Christopher Stromee, Clerk of the Vestry
The Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held on Sunday, January 14, 2018, at 12:30 PM, in the Assembly Hall. Leaders of parish organizations are reminded that annual reports of their activities during 2017 should be mailed or emailed to me; the reports will be printed and distributed to those who attend the Annual Meeting. The meeting is open to everyone; if you are 18 years of age or older, a member of the parish, and a recorded contributor, you are also entitled to vote.
The Nominating Committee proposes for election at the Annual Meeting: Senior Warden—Jonathan Vaughan, Vestry—Sondra Carter, Lance Eckel, Alexander Nelson, and Sandra von Benken, and Diocesan Convention Delegates: Michele Keith and Tanya Tesa.
There is a very good chance that those who attend the meeting will be rewarded with a lunch of homemade chicken pot pies!
We are very grateful for all the 2018 pledges received so far. After Commitment Sunday, we are pleased to report:
  • 50 financial commitments have been offered for the 2018 year.
  • Of those, 1 is a new commitment.
  • 19 are increases over previous commitments in 2017.
  • Those who increased did so at an average of 20% above their previous support.
This encouraging response will help us to plan our work for God’s Kingdom in the coming year. If you haven’t yet made a commitment, please join with those who have. You can fill out the Commitment Card in the pews and either put it in the collection plate or mail it to the church, attention: The Rector. You may also submit your pledge online through the church website or by emailing me at
The former rector of our link parish in London, the Rev. Dr. Alan McCormack, now Dean of William Goodenough College in London, will once again preach at Incarnation on Sunday, December 10, at 11 AM.
The next meeting of the Incarnation Book Club will be on Monday, December 4, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. We will be discussing G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday.
***Melissa Fogarty, our 5 PM Candlelight Communion cantor, who recently received a Master’s degree from New York University in Music Therapy. She is currently seeking opportunities to practice music therapy in addition to her singing work. We wish Melissa the best in her new endeavors.
Our sixth program in this series will consider ethical and spiritual issues in the financial industry. Lance Eckel, chair of Incarnation’s Investment Committee and former hedge fund manager will speak on Sunday, January 29, from 12:30 to 1:15 PM.
Also coming next year:
An idea from the Spiritual Development Committee. Details in the next Parish Letter.
We normally hold a class is held in the winter or spring for those who are interested in the Episcopal Church’s understanding of the Christian faith. The six sessions prepare for church membership those who are from Protestant denominations, people with no religious background who wish to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church, Roman Catholics who wish to be received into our Church, and Episcopalians who wish to renew their baptismal commitment as adolescents or as adults. Some people who just want to learn more about the Episcopal Church also attend, and long-term members of Incarnation come for a refresher course on the Bible, church history, theology, liturgy, ethics, and prayer in the Anglican tradition.
It is likely that this year the class will be held in the autumn of 2018. Through a mishap at the diocesan office, Incarnation will not receive visit from a bishop this year.
However, if there turns out to be sufficient interest, I will schedule the class earlier and find a bishop from outside the diocese who could come to officiate at Confirmation in 2018. Please let me know if you think you would like to be part of this class or if you have any questions about it.
In the meantime, I’m offering three classes on the Broad Church Movement in the Episcopal Church during the Sunday morning 10 AM Adult Class. Incarnation was a leading member of this movement in the 19th Century and I will discuss many of the ways this tradition is being realized in our ministry today.
* * * * * *
On behalf of the Wardens, Vestry, and Staff, I thank you for your generous support, and I wish you a joyous Christmas and a rewarding and hopeful New Year.
The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley
Enclosures: Christmas flyer, Donation form & return envelope (via U.S. mail)

Leave a Reply