March-April 2013






Dear Friends,

Holy Week is almost here, and I would like to highlight some of the events and services.

Palms are distributed at all three services on Palm Sunday, March 24. We begin the eleven o’clock service with a long procession; the service also includes a dramatic reading of the Passion Gospel, special music and a silent recessional in darkness. Those in attendance receive palms to take home and keep until Ash Wednesday 2014.

The Eucharist is celebrated Monday to Thursday in Holy Week at 12:15 p.m. On Maundy Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m., we will hold a service we began last year, “Tenebrae;” Dr. Matthew Lewis describes the liturgy below. Those who attended last year found Tenebrae a moving experience, indeed.

On Good Friday, beginning at noon, there will be readings chosen by members of the staff, music, and traditional prayers, followed by the Good Friday Liturgy and communion. The church will remain open until 3:00 p.m. for prayer and meditation. The clergy will offer prayers at fifteen-minute intervals.

The Easter Eve Vigil and Eucharist begins at 7:00 p.m. with the lighting of the “new fire” and the procession of the lighted Pascal Candle into a darkened church. Readings and music unique to this night follow and the service will conclude with the first Communion service of Easter. A reception with champagne and soft drinks follows.

The principal service of Easter Day at 11:00 a.m. presents music and scripture to celebrate the resurrection life of Christ in which we all share. Childcare is available and the service is followed by an Easter Egg Hunt, the Coffee Hour, and the Easter Brunch, all of which are described in detail below. There will also be a special reception following the 5:00 p.m. Candlelight Communion.

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Please post the enclosed flyer listing all the Holy Week and Easter services in your building or pass it along to friends. And if you know any neighborhood children who might enjoy the Easter Egg Hunt after the 11:00 a.m. service on Easter Day, please invite them.

Dr. Lewis will now discuss the music he is preparing for us.


Looking ahead at an early Holy Week and Easter, I would like to draw your attention to some of the musical events happening here at Incarnation.

Sunday, March 24: Palm Sunday Liturgy at 11:00 AM

Music for choir and organ. This service features our Palm Sunday procession, and includes some of the most stunning choral works in the repertoire:

Weelkes: Hosanna to the Son of David

Poulenc: Timor et tremor

Victoria: O vos omnes


Thursday, March 28: 7:00 PM Service of Tenebrae

This service of reflection, darkness and candles is one of the most poignant of the church year. Music for men’s voices includes plainsong, along with works of Martini, Schütz and Asola.


Friday. March 29: Good Friday liturgy at noon

This service includes hymns and music for women’s voices, including excerpts from Pergolesi’s dramatic setting of the Stabat Mater text.


Saturday, March 30: Easter Vigil at 7:00 PM

This traditional Easter service includes the singing of the Exsultet, sung by the Seminarian, and a soloist from the choir.


Sunday, March 31: Easter Day – Festival Eucharist at 11:00 AM

Music for strings, choir and organ. The service includes music of Mozart, Haydn and Vaughan Williams. The mass setting is Schubert’s sparkling Mass in C. A great occasion to being friends to church!


It is always my great pleasure to plan and prepare music at Incarnation. I look forward to seeing you at our Sunday services, and those during Holy Week.

–Dr. Matthew Lewis


The Parish Easter Brunch will once again be held at the Galway Restaurant, just a few steps from the church at 7 East 36 Street. The buffet menu includes a choice of brunch items as well as a selection of drinks within the price.

To make a reservation, send your check (adults: $22, children: $11) to the Parish Office or give it to Thomas Southworth on your way to the Coffee Hour on Sunday. Family and friends are welcome.


Enclosed is a form for those who wish to make donations for Easter flowers or music, either in thanksgiving, or in memory of loved ones. Please return the form and donation to the Parish Office as soon as possible so that we know how much money we have to spend.

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Although they were not members of Incarnation, I want to note the recent deaths of Alexander Harris and Diana Lanier Smith. Alex was the beloved husband of Incarnation member, Judith McDaniel. Although he was himself Jewish, Alex enjoyed participating in supper groups, the Men’s Group, and other activities at Incarnation and he had many friends here. Our condolences and prayers go out to Judith.

Diana Smith was the daughter of Incarnation members, Reginald and Helen Lanier. The Laniers owned the large townhouse on 35th Street until the 1980’s; the family had an historic connection with J. P. Morgan and his various enterprises.

May they rest in peace, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon them.


Reaching Out

A group of Incarnation parishioners has been meeting to discuss ways in which Incarnation can reach out to the community in love and service. We are seeking to build a faithful and effective outreach program that would be a good fit for Incarnation. We have decided to move forward on two projects to meet the needs of the Incarnation and Murray Hill Communities.

The first project will take place on Sunday, May 5 from 2:00-4:00 pm in the Parish Assembly Hall. Incarnation volunteers will offer one-on-one computer help and refreshments to neighborhood seniors. Our purpose is to help seniors with computer issues so that they can feel confident and connected, as well as to counter isolation with a chance to connect to our community. We are looking for volunteers both on the day of the event and for publicity and planning in advance.

The second project will take place on Sunday, June 9 from 2:00-4:00 pm in the Parish Assembly Hall. Incarnation will offer a short cooking demonstration by a local farmer using fresh, local food followed by a community meal. Our purpose is to invite reflection on questions of Christian stewardship around land and food and to reach out to our neighbors and invite them in to the church. Volunteers are needed!

If you are interested in learning more about either of these projects, or in volunteering with us, please contact me or John Ousley ( We’re thankful to John for his excellent leadership in these projects!

Families with Children

The children of the Parish (and their friends!) are invited to participate in a special way in the Palm Sunday Celebration on Sunday, March 24. They will lead the procession into the church, waving palms and then head to the Godly Play room for a special Palm Sunday story and feast. If your child would like to participate, please arrive at 10:45 am sharp.

Please also join us at our annual Easter Egg Hunt after the March 31st 11:00 am service. There will be baskets available, but your child is also welcome to bring his/her own. Children are also welcome at our Parish Brunch on Easter Sunday.

Looking ahead, please mark your calendars for Vacation Bible School this summer: Monday, August 5, through Friday, August 9, 2013. The program is open for children ages 3-10 and will run from 9:15 a.m. until 12:00 noon each day. Our focus this year will be on exploring Biblical Story through the visual arts.

Women’s Group

Please 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 7:00 pm. Please enter the church at 25 East 35th Street, and try to arrive promptly by 4:00 pm.

The Women’s Group will alsomeet at 7:00 PM on April 23 for a light dinner and a discussion on Portrayals of Jesus of Nazareth in film.

Twenties and Thirties

Our next meeting on Tuesday, March 19 at 7:00 PM. Drinks and a light dinner will be available for a free-will donation. The group will meet at the Assistant Minister’s apartment, which is located in the Parish House. Our topic will be the book The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness.

Adult Forum

The Adult Forum/Bible Study will resume on Sunday, April 7. On that day, we’ll discuss the life and work of St. Patrick. We meet at 10:00 am in the Parish House Dining Room. Coffee and tea are provided. All are welcome.

the Rev. Ginger Strickland


***Christopher Stromee has attended Church of the Incarnation since 2006. He has served on the Membership and Stewardship Committees, Usher Corps and Christmas Fair team. He also coordinates Incarnation’s church tours, a program he revived. He is an officer on the Board of The Church Club of New York, the Episcopal lay organization.

Chris moved to New York City in 1981 from Pittsburgh and lives on the Upper West Side with his partner. After a thirty-year career raising contributed funds at cultural organizations including the Brooklyn Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, Union Theological Seminary and the YMCA/NYC, he left the profession to pursue non-career interests. He volunteers at The International Center, helping foreign-born newcomers improve their conversational English, and regularly reviews architecture and mid-century photography shows for the web-based New York Photo Review. Chris holds a B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.A. in Arts Administration from New York University.

***Robert Galloway has attended services at the Church of the Incarnation since 1984 and was confirmed in 2006. He is honored to continue to serve on the Vestry.


***Alan Charnock and all who worked on the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper.

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The sidewalk bridge erected around the base of the church tower heralds needed repair of stonework–especially on the spire of the church, which hasn’t been restored for over fifty years. Scheduling of the project will depend on the scope of the work and the possible need for fund-raising. I should have more news in the next Parish Letter.

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I am pleased two recent re-enlistments: Ginger Strickland’s contract with Incarnation has been extended and she will be with us at least until September, 2014. Coincidentally, our Seminarian Assistant, William Ogburn has received permission from his bishop and General Seminary to do a second year of field work at Incarnation. William will therefore be with us until he graduates in May, 2014.

At a time when many parishes consider themselves lucky to have any staff under 50-years-old, we are blessed with two young and extremely able assistants. We should be especially grateful that God has called them to serve our parish.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the Holy Week services and at the various receptions, coffee hours, and the brunch. A joyous Easter to you and those you love.



The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley

P.S.: Don’t forget Confirmation on Sunday, March 17, at 11 a.m. with the Rt. Rev. Herbert A. Donovan, Jr. A special reception will follow the service to honor the Bishop and Confirmands.



List of Holy Week and Easter services

Donation form for Easter flowers and music


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