February 2020

Dear Friends,
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At the end of his last sermon at Incarnation, the Rev. Doug Ousley referenced the well-known motto, “let go and let God,” from the Twelve Step Movement: “I’m letting go of Incarnation and you’re letting go of me! Much more important, though, is the fact that we are all ‘letting God.’ We are letting God lead us into the future he has prepared for us.”
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Letting go puts us in a position to receive. We stand before God with open hands and outstretched arms, our faces tilted toward the sky. During the time between Rectors, it can be all too easy to pull back from this posture of openness and expectation. Typically, many parishioners will adopt a “wait and see” attitude, leading to a drop in giving and community engagement. Incarnation is anything but typical in this regard.
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While we’re only two months into the interim period, parish programming remains robust, Sunday attendance is steady, and financial commitments are increasing. There are more people serving in worship, a new weekday meditation service is drawing newcomers, and lay leaders are stepping up to assume responsibilities previously held by clergy. Come to Tuesday Morning Prayer and you might see a lay officiant, or the early service on Sunday and you’ll find a lay Eucharistic minister serving alongside the priest. Laity now share in oversight of children’s education, mission and outreach, and other areas of small group ministry. Our parish community is leaning in and living into its call as the body of Christ.
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Our readiness to receive and embrace the good works God has prepared for us to walk in during this time of transition can also be seen in the fact that pledging is up by more than 25% this year. The total amount parishioners have pledged to give in 2020 is $196,806, compared to $154,518 in 2019.
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If you plan to give to Incarnation in 2020, I encourage you to prayerfully consider what your total giving might be and let us know by making a pledge. A pledge is not a contractual obligation, but simply an estimate of giving that allows the church to plan for the ministry we can accomplish together. This planning is especially important during the interim period, when the Vestry must consider the resources required for hiring a new Rector, a task it hopes to accomplish over the next few months.
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If you would like to join with the 77 households who have pledged, you can fill out a 2020 Commitment Card at church, click on the “Make a Pledge for 2020” button on the homepage of the church website, or email me directly at adannhauser@churchoftheincarnation.org.
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RECTOR SEARCH
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The process for calling a new Rector begins with the development of a Rector Search Committee. Below is an announcement from Committee Chair Chris Stromee.
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Rector Search Committee: Committee Members Needed.
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The Wardens of the Vestry and I will select members for this key committee by the end of February.
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As recommended by the Diocese, interested parishioners are asked to complete a short application found on our website. Look for “Rector Search” under the Staff tab to access the application. Paper applications are available in the church narthex and Parish House.
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The cut-off for applications is Sunday, February 16. Up to eight parishioners, including two Vestry members, will be selected.
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The Committee’s work comes in two phases:
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Late March-June: Assist the Chair in writing a parish profile, including strengths we are looking for in a new Rector.
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September-November: Undertake an intensive period to review candidate submissions and then focus on some 12 finalists through phone/Skype meetings and possibly a few parish visits. The Canon for Transition will guide us, help with initial candidate screening and provide background checks for the dozen finalists. The position will be posted at the beginning of September.
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The first phase will require at least one meeting a month with the bulk of work accomplished through emailed documents. The second phase will involve a significant number of hours each week until the Committee agrees on one to three candidates to submit to the Vestry for decision and approval.
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You can find a detailed 2020 Search Timeline on the “Rector Search” page of the church website, with hard copies available in the church narthex and Parish House.
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We look forward to reviewing parishioner applications and forming this Committee!
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– Christopher Stromee, Rector Search Committee Chair
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EXPERIMENTING IN WORSHIP
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One of the gifts of the interim period is the opportunity for experimentation. We can try things together, knowing that if changes don’t produce fruit, they can be changed again. When it comes to worship, we can test adjustments aimed and enhancing the flow and overall impact of our services. One adjustment that we’ll try over the next two months is moving the sermon to occur earlier during our Sunday service of Morning Prayer. We will also incorporate lay prayer leaders. As you experience these and other small changes, I encourage you to offer feedback.
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MEN’S AND WOMEN’S GROUPS
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Our February programming kicks off with meetings of the Men’s and Women’s Groups. Last month, these Groups came together for a joint meeting on “Spiritual Autobiographies.” Rik and I shared some highlights from our own spiritual stories, weaving them into a larger narrative about God’s work in our lives.
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Each Group will gather separately for “Spiritual Autobiographies Part 2.” The Men’s Group will meet on Monday, February 3, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Parish House, and the Women’s Group will meet on Tuesday, February 4, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Parish House. Come learn some helpful exercises for speaking about God in our lives and sharing our spiritual selves with others. All are welcome. Refreshments will be served.
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GUEST PREACHER
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On Sunday, February 23, the Rev. Deacon Denise LaVetty will guest preach at the 11:00 a.m. service. She will also offer a forum at 12:30 p.m. about the order of the diaconate and the role of the deacon in interpreting the needs of the world to the church. Denise is the Director of Deacon Formation and Transition in the Diocese of New York. We look forward to hearing her both in the pulpit and at our gathering after Coffee Hour.
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FROM THE INTERIM ASSOCIATE:
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Mission and Outreach
Our commitment to Moravian Open Door happily moves forward, and the Moravian Open Door Committee will meet early this month. Stay tuned for the next service event the Committee has in store. Contact Committee Chair Lenore Ritter to learn more about this ministry.
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I am excited to announce the beginnings of a shared discernment toward finding a new outreach opportunity for the parish. The Anti-Trafficking Group is beginning to wind down its activities here at Incarnation, creating space for something new. To that end, Deacon Denise LaVetty from the Diocese will be visiting our parish during the season of Lent to help us as we begin to investigate the possibilities for engaging in another outreach commitment. To learn more, and to get involved, speak to me and keep an eye out for further announcements.
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20s/30s Group
On Sunday, February 16th, the 20s/30s Group will meet at 6:00 p.m. in the Parish House for fellowship, good conversation – and the opportunity to taste my pasta sauce! I’ve been well-trained over many years by my father on how to cook the perfect Bolognese sauce, so come see if my cooking credentials add up! RSVP to me at rpike@churchoftheincarnation.org.
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Children and Families
The Christian Parenting Group continues to meet every other Wednesday morning from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Parish House. Topics are both varied and wide, and the conversation is always lively, candid and quite supportive for all mothers and fathers who attend.
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Youth Group continues to meet monthly and will next meet on Sunday, February 23, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Parish House. The Rev. Adrian Dannhauser will facilitate. Topic TBD.
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Save the date for Stations. On Saturday, March 28, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, families are invited to the Assembly Hall “turned art studio” where children of all ages can paint the Stations of the Cross. The Stations, also known as the “Way of the Cross,” depict 14 scenes from the last events of Christ’s life. I will spend a little time teaching about the Lenten tradition of praying the Stations, and then we’ll get to painting. We’ll also have refreshments of coffee, juice and breakfast treats. RSVP to me.
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The artwork will be used in a special Stations of the Cross worship service on Good Friday, April 10 at 2:00 p.m.
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– The Rev. Richard S.J. Pike
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BOOK CLUB
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The next meeting of the Incarnation Book Club will be Monday, February 24, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Parish House. The book to be discussed will be Uniform Justice by Donna Leon. Contact Harris Healy for more information.
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SHROVE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25
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Before Lent begins, we will enjoy our customary Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, served in the Parish House from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. on February 25. The supper is open to members and friends of the parish. The suggested donation is $10 for adults; no cost for children. Please join us!
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ASH WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26
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Ash Wednesday brings more visitors into our church than any other day of the year. Rik and I will be in the church to offer ashes throughout the day. We will have celebrations of the Eucharist at 8:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. There will be hymns and organ music during the 12:15 service.
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CONFIRMATION CLASS
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Ash Wednesday also marks the beginning of our annual Confirmation/Inquirers Class. If you are interested in joining the Episcopal Church or would like an overview of the Anglican understanding of the Christian faith, you are encouraged to attend. The class will be held on five consecutive Wednesdays, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., in the Parish Dining Room.
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Everyone should find something of interest, find their faith enriched, and make deeper relationships within the parish. We will cover the fundamental doctrines of our faith, church history, reading the Bible, and more.
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Confirmations will occur at the 11:00 a.m. service on Sunday, March 29, when Bishop Andrew St. John will be with us to preach and celebrate the Eucharist. Please be in touch if you are interested or have questions.
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INCARNATION BOOK CHALLENGE
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The Incarnation Book Challenge returns this Lent. The Spiritual Development Committee will be selecting a book that is both entertaining and filled with spiritual wisdom for the entire parish to read. We’ll gather for three consecutive Sundays – March 8, 15, and 22 – after Coffee Hour to discuss. Book details coming soon.
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THANKS TO:
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***The Hospitality Committee for organizing a celebratory Coffee Hour in honor of Fr. Ousley following his last Sunday service at Incarnation.
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***The many chalice bearers, lay readers, acolytes, altar guild members, and ushers who helped with the Christmas services.
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***Everyone who gave so generously for Christmas flowers, Christmas music, and the Christmas Fund, which goes to support parishioners in need.
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***All the parishioners and friends who participated in Operation Santa, our annual Christmas service project for homeless children.
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***Laurie Mygatt and the team of volunteers who worked so hard on the Christmas Fair, as well as donors for the Silent Auction and Monica Culoso, Silent Auction Chair. Once again, we raised over $8,000.
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***Members of the 20s/30s Group who volunteered at the Xavier Mission Food Pantry.
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***The many parishioners and friends who attended and/or donated to Fr. Ousley’s Retirement Reception and the Vestry for organizing this most splendid celebration in thanksgiving for his ministry.
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* * * * * *
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Each year as Lent approaches, the clergy remind parishioners of the duty of every Christian to make plans for our eventual passing from this world. These plans should include filling out a healthcare proxy and a living will so that your designated relative or friend can make medical decisions for you in the event that you cannot make them yourself. Also be sure that you have an up-to-date will for your material estate. Your will and other last wishes should be recorded and kept in a location outside of your home and accessible to your heirs.
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If you would like the church to keep a file with the name and contact information of your healthcare proxy and location of any life planning documents, we are happy to do so.
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Our late Treasurer, Michael Linburn wrote a clear and concise guide to making these decisions. The booklet is available from the parish office and includes information on including Incarnation in your will. Through planned giving, we help assure the continuing witness and work of the Church and other institutions that have sustained and nourished us during our lifetime.
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Mike established the Incarnation Legacy Society for those who intend to remember Incarnation in their wills—as he did. Let me know if you wish to be included. Every year we remember with gratitude those who have recently made bequests to Incarnation. This year, Legacy Sunday will be observed on March 15.
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With thanksgiving for this parish and our common life in Christ,
Adrian+
The Rev. Adrian Dannhauser, Interim Priest in Charge


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