January-February 2013



Dear Friends,

Before we discuss our plans for Lent, I want to thank everyone who helped with the Christmas services. Attendance at the Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services again was up and the Christmas Party was also a great success.


***Uche Akwuba, Master of Ceremonies, Padmini Abeywickrama, Altar Guild chairperson, and all the chalice bearers, readers, acolytes and ushers who helped with the Christmas services.

***The Women’s, Men’s, and 20’s/30’s Groups for decorating the church, and to everyone who gave so generously for the Christmas decorations and music and for the Christmas Fund.

***Anna Holmgren and the many parishioners and friends who participated in Operation Santa. Anna reports:

“We had about 30 people participate Sunday-shopping, wrapping and helping
transport(!). There were several people who made financial donations
towards the letters or postage and several who took letters to fill and mail
on their own time.

We mailed out 24 packages Sunday night :-). More will go out with the
people who took letters to do on their own or with their families.

In total-nearly 100(!) kids, several parents, and one 70 year old woman-
will be receiving gifts through our Operation Santa. Some of whom
were “Sandy” families. Most of the gifts were winter clothing, underwear,
shoes or boots, and coats.

***Laurie Mygatt and everyone else who worked so hard on the Christmas Fair. Thanks to the many donors and workers, we realized over $8,000 to support parish work in the year ahead.


We continue the Incarnation tradition of pancakes and a great party on Mardi Gras. Come to the Parish House any time between 6:30 and 8:30pm. Dinner will include pancakes, ham, and fruit salad. There will be a special activity for children. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Volunteers are needed to set up, decorate, flip pancakes, or clean up – please contact the Assistant Minister at ginger@churchoftheincarnation.org or 212-689-6350.


Ash Wednesday brings more visitors into our church than any other day of the year. The clergy will be in the Church to offer ashes throughout the day, February 13.

We will also 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.


As is customary on the Sundays during Lent, there will be discussions after the Coffee Hour accompanied by delicious homemade soups provided by volunteers and paid for by free-will offerings.

This year, Ginger and I plan to discuss Christianity and the Imagination. Here is the tentative schedule:

Lenten Lectures 2013

Sunday, February 17: (Ginger) Imagination as a Christian Virtue

Sunday, February 24: (Ginger) The Dangers of Imagination

Sunday, March 3: (Doug) Fiction I: Church Novels

Sunday, March 10: (Doug) Fiction II: Mysteries by Christian Authors

All lectures run from 12:30 to 1:30; no reservations are required.




Outreach at Incarnation is entering into a new and exciting phase. We are considering two new and very promising ideas for ways that we can serve our community – one involving computer help for seniors, the other involving nutrition and local food. To learn more – and to let your voice be heard, please come to our next Outreach Committee meeting on Sunday, January 27, at 12:30pm in the Parish Dining Room or contact me.

Twenties and Thirties

The next meeting of our Twenties and Thirties’ Group will be on Tuesday, January 29 from 7:00-8:30 PM. Drinks and a light dinner will be available for a free-will donation. The group will meet my apartment, which is located in the Parish House. Please RSVP by calling the church office at 212-689-6350 or emailing ginger@churchoftheincarnation.org. Our topic: The New Atheism

Acolytes Pizza

The Acolytes will meet at coffee hour on Sunday, February 10 and then head out for pizza at a local restaurant. Come have fun with your fellow acolytes!

Women’s Group

The next meeting of the Women’s Group will be on Thursday, February 21. We will meet at the Parish House at 7:00 p.m. A light supper will be provided. Our topic will be the book The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness. We’ll read a portion of the autobiography of Simon Wiesenthal in which he faces a moral dilemma and invites a response from readers – and then we’ll consider responses together.

Please also mark your calendars for the Women’s Holy Saturday Retreat. We’ll meet on March 30 at 4:00 pm in the church. We will be exploring the idea of a “Rule of Life” – the possibility of structuring our lives in a way that allows us to be more open to God and others. We’ll have light refreshments then decorate the church before the Easter Vigil service begins at 6:30 pm. Please enter the church at 25 East 35th Street, and try to arrive promptly at 4:00 pm, or shortly before.

You can RSVP for either of these events by emailing ginger@churchoftheincarnation.org or calling the office, 212-689-6350.

the Rev. Ginger Strickland


Those wishing a special devotion for Lent are welcome to join Ginger and me and a group of parishioners who gather in the Chapel of the Nativity for Morning Prayer at 8 a.m. on Tuesdays. Coffee and pastry follow the twenty-minute prayer service and everyone is on the way to work before 9:00 a.m. Enter by the side door at 25 East 35th Street.


On January 2, Gemma Just died, following a long period of illness and confinement to her home. For many years, Gemma chaired the Altar Guild; her last appearance at Incarnation included the dedication of a plaque recording our gratitude for her service. She was an active supporter of both the 8:30 a.m. and the 5 p.m. services on Sunday—and the weekday services as well. Her devotion to God and the life of prayer were an inspiration to many of us here. Her funeral was held on Saturday, January 5.

Rest eternal grant to her, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon her. Amen.


At the Annual Meeting on January 13, Jonathan Vaughan was elected Junior Warden, and Kimberley Ferbinando, Robert Galloway, and Christopher Stromee were elected to the Vestry. Their biographies will appear in the next Parish Letter.

Robert Galloway and Susan Ridgeway were gain elected delegates to Diocesan Convention and Alan Charnock was chosen to be an alternate.

* * * * * *


On Monday, February 4, the Men’s Group will meet from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. I will begin a discussion on the topic, “Ultimate Truth,” based on a theological text that will be distributed to the members that deals particularly with the spiritual problem of evil.

At the next meeting, on Monday, March 4, our Seminarian Assistant, William Ogburn, will give some reflections on seminary life. Refreshments will be served at both meetings, and all men of the parish are welcome.


Now is the time to think about enrolling your children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren in the Incarnation Summer Camp program. Situated on 700 acres with its own spring-fed private lake, Incarnation has been providing the classic summer camp experience for diocesan young people since 1886. It is the oldest church camp in America and one of the largest.

Our church is the camp’s founding parish, and our Vestry constitutes the Incorporators of Incarnation Center, the umbrella organization for the children’s camp, two day-camps, seniors and adult programs and facilities, and a nature center.

The main center web site is www.incarnationcenter.org. From there, you can find the appropriate summer program. Scholarships are available for children from sponsoring parishes and also from our parish. Early signup is recommended because the most popular sessions fill quickly.

* * * * * *

Every Lent, I remind members of Incarnation 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 if necessary.

Also be sure that you have an up-to-date will for your material estate. Your will and other last wishes should be kept in a location outside of your apartment and accessible to your heirs.

Every year, we also remember with gratitude those who have recently made bequests to Incarnation, such as Dusty Pierce and Gladys Newbery. Our Treasurer is preparing a brochure to guide in making bequests to Incarnation; please let Michael Linburn or me know if you would like a copy.

This year, Legacy Sunday will be observed on March 10.


Through the auspices of the IT Committee and the webmaster, we are preparing to post audio podcasts of Incarnation sermons on the website. Look for them by mid-February. Meanwhile, written transcripts will continue to be available, as they have been for many years.

* * * * * *

Finally, while this is old news for most of you, it is still big news for me: on Christmas Eve, I became engaged to Dana Fern. Dana is an occupational therapist who works with premature babies and infants in the neonatal intensive care unit at Lenox Hill Hospital. She also has a private practice helping toddlers with feeding issues, and she writes and lectures on infant care.

Dana was raised in the Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Dallas TX, where her mother is still active.

Dana has met many of you in the past couple of years. You will enjoy getting to know her—and you will understand why she has made me so happy!




The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley

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