January – February 2016

Dear Friends,
I just finished reading a book by a noted sociologist (Robert Wuthnow’s Inventing American Religion) that bemoaned the increasing resistance in this country to opinion polls. People don’t want to answer the phone or the door when poll-takers seek their views. As a result, polls record the opinions of fewer and fewer people.
I’m sympathetic to this resistance. Nevertheless, there are times when polls are the best way to gather important information. It is in that spirit that I enclose a questionnaire with this Parish Letter.
The questions on it were formulated by the Incarnation 2020 strategic planning committee. Please fill out the form and return it in the enclosed envelope; you can sign it or not as you wish. Or you can answer the same questions online.
Also following on previous work of the Incarnation 2020 project, we will try a few changes in the services during Lent. For example, we will hold the Exchange of the Peace earlier in the 11 o’clock services. These are experiments for a liturgical season that may or may not be continued after Easter. They are intended to make our worship more accessible to visitors and seekers as we extend God’s welcome to all.
Our annual class for people who are interested either in joining the Episcopal Church or want an overview of the Anglican understanding of the Christian faith has just begun. Come any Wednesday evening from 7-8.
Our annual Episcopal visitation will be on March 6. Bishop Stacy Sauls, the Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church will be with us to preach, confirm, and celebrate the Eucharist.
Before Lent begins, we will enjoy a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper. The supper will be served in the Parish House from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m, on February 9. The supper is open to members and friends of the Parish; the suggested donation is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Volunteers are needed to assist with set-up, serving, and clean-up. Please email info@churchoftheincarnation.org to volunteer.
Ash Wednesday brings more visitors into our church than any other day of the year. Adrian and I will be in the Church to offer ashes throughout the day, February 10. Clergy from the Church Pension Group will be assisting at the noon service and 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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I’m very pleased to announce that our former Assistant Minister, the Rev. Ginger Strickland will be visiting New York City for the first time since she moved to California last January. Ginger has agreed to preach here at the 11 o’clock service onSunday, February 14. I know you will want to welcome the Associate Rector of St. John’s Church, Ross, California, back to Incarnation.

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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 ahealthcare 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 apartment and accessible to your heirs. Our Treasurer, Michael Linburn has written a clear and concise guide to making these decisions. The booklet is available from the parish office.
Every year, we also remember with gratitude those who have recently made bequests to Incarnation. This year, Legacy Sundaywill be observed on March 13. We will also be holding an information session on end-of-life documents at 12:30 p.m. on that day.
The next meeting of the Men’s Group will be on Monday, February 1. One of our members, Curtis Vance, will introduce a discussion of the new sustainability goals recently adopted by the United Nations.
We meet from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
***Uche Akwuba, Master of Ceremonies, Padmini Abeywickrama, Altar Guild chairperson, Jacquelyn Carson, Head Usher, 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. More details of this success in the next newsletter.
***Laurie Mygatt and everyone else who worked so hard on the Christmas Fair. Thanks to the many donors and workers—especially Monica Quinn Culoso, who chaired the Silent Auction. We realized nearly $9,000 to support parish work in the year ahead—the best result ever!
Mission and Outreach
I am pleased to report an exciting development with Mission and Outreach. In the past, we have partnered with Moravian Open Door, which provides transitional housing and supportive services for homeless individuals. We have rekindled our relationship with Moravian Open Door and are exploring new ways of supporting their work. The first small step is writing birthday cards to the 40 women and men who live there. The 20s/30s Group will be cooking and serving dinner at Moravian Open Door this month, and we hope to soon schedule a service project for our acolytes and youth as well.
During Lent, we will build on our awareness raising efforts around human trafficking begun last fall. I hope you can join me for “Unbind and Let Go,” a Christian education series developed by the Task Force Against Human Trafficking for the Episcopal Diocese of New York. We will gather in the Assembly Hall on Sunday, February 14 and Sunday, February 21 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Please be in touch with any questions.
Twenties and Thirties
As described above, the 20s/30s Group will be preparing a meal for the residents of Moravian Open Door. On Thursday, January 28, we’ll meet in the Parish House to cook a big pot of chili. We’ll have some drinks, snacks, and discussion about food and faith while minding the stove. On Friday, January 29, we’ll transport the food to Moravian Open Door at 5:00 p.m. and serve dinner at 6:30 p.m. Let me know if you can join in for all or part of this service opportunity!
We’ll meet again on Friday, February 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for “Sushi Friday.” Fridays in Lent (year round in fact) are traditionally days set aside for prayer and fasting, or abstaining from meat. The Incarnation 20s/30s Group will host SushiFridayand invite young adults from other Episcopal parishes as well. We will gather in the Assembly Hall for dinner and close with Compline in the Chapel of the Nativity. Cost is $10 per person, and bring your own beverage. Please RSVP to me.
Women’s Group
The next meeting of the Women’s Group will be Tuesday, February 16 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Parish House. Group member Nicole Grant will speak about her book on the influence of food, faith, and pop culture on juvenile crime. She will also screen a short video she directed on the subject. Refreshments will be served.
Christian Parenting
Last fall, I gathered with some parishioners to discuss ways of applying our faith to our parenting, drawing strength and inspiration from biblical principles and God’s unconditional love. I will be leading a Christian Parenting series in Lent for all who are interested. We will look at excerpts from various resources, including The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel and Elyse Fitzpatrick’s Give Them Grace. Please let me know if you are interested in meeting, and we will find a time that works for most.
The Rev. Adrian Dannhauser

***The Episcopal New Yorker issue for Winter 2015 included an article on one of our outreach programs. The article is entitled, “Resources for Seniors at the Church of the Incarnation.” Copies are available in the church and Parish House.

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I would remind you that the Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held on Sunday, January 31, at 12:30 p.m. Candidates for the election include Jonathan Vaughan for Senior Warden, Stephen Ju for Junior Warden, and Jacquelyn Carson, Susan Ridgeway, and David Wardrop for the Vestry. Parish leaders should submit one-paragraph annual reports to the Rector before the meeting.

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As the 2016 Stewardship Campaign draws to a close, I would remind those intending to pledge who haven’t to get their pledge cards in or pledge online via the website.

Also, you can make a one-time or a monthly donation to Incarnation directly from our website through PayPal. No PayPal account is required in order to give. The online form includes a “special instructions” section—please specify here whether you would like your donation to go toward your regular stewardship pledge or your spire pledge; you can also make one time donations for items like altar flowers.

R.I.P.Dyane Wood Kellogg died on December 6, 2015, following a brief illness, at the age of 97. Dyane joined Incarnation in 1989; she spent most of her time in South Carolina but maintained an apartment on Park Avenue. Her funeral was held at Incarnation onDecember 11. Her husband, Frederick will be entering a nursing home in South Carolina. Please remember both Dyane and Fred in your prayers.

Former member, Steve Cobb died in recently—also at the age of 97. Steve’s funeral and burial were in Connecticut. Our condolences go to his widow, Fran Dorsey Cobb; Fran and Steve met at the Incarnation Coffee hour in the 1970’s.

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

After very successful exchange visits in both directions a few years ago, our next eastbound trip will be May 6-10. The program will include worship, visits to church and City sites with “inside” guides, and warm fellowship. Transatlantic flights (around $800), most meals, and incidentals will be at your expense, but accommodations will be provided by host families in London. Many friendships have grown from this link to a London parish that, like our own, has a fascinating past and a vibrant present. For details, there is a flyer in the Parish House, or contact Ann or Ted Rast, trast@nyc.rr.com, 212 363-0422.

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I have been addressing the recent Anglican communion events on the blog and in a sermon, both accessible from the website. Anyone who has questions or needs a print copy of these comments can contact me. In the meantime, our link New York-London diocesan link program is intact and flourishing. I would encourage any of you who are able to join the May tour.

The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley, Rector
Enclosure: questionnaire, envelope


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