November-December 2013




Dear Friends,

Our Organist has served with great distinction Incarnation for 20 years—quite a long time for a Manhattan organist. At the same time, he has taught at Juilliard and Westminster Choir College and rejuvenated the St. George’s Choral Society, where he is Artistic Director.

Our first recognition of Matthew Lewis’s anniversary will be on November 24. Dr. Lewis will play a ten-minute mini-recital instead of a postlude at the conclusion of the 11 a.m. service. Then we will all go over to the Parish House for a special coffee hour to honor his ministry at Incarnation.

Here is a preview of what Dr. Lewis has in store for us between now and the end of the year.


This has been an interesting and challenging season for me so far, as we have been exploring music by contemporary composers for the Sunday morning services. The choir recently sang the Berliner Messe of Arvo Pärt, and we sang two pieces by Charles Ives that were new to us and very challenging. The choir has enjoyed this new “uncharted territory,” and I have found it an interesting addition to our worship here. Watch for more in the coming months!

As I prepare for what I am told is the first of many observances of my 20 years here, I have planned an energetic program for the morning of November 24, for Christ the King. We will have two works of Rossini: the stirring “Inflamatus” from his Stabat Mater, and the Sanctus from his delightful Petite Messe solennelle. I hope to see you at the coffee hour reception following church that morning.

Our annual Service of Christmas Lessons and Carols will be on Sunday, December 15 at 5:00 PM, featuring music for strings, percussion, choir and organ. Included in the program this year is a captivating and energetic piece by composer Philip Glass: Music in Fifths. This is a “must hear!” It will be played by a string ensemble, with organ and percussion, and I am certain it won’t be heard elsewhere this season. A great opportunity for you to invite friends that may not normally attend church, this program should have something for everyone.

Other works featured in the Lessons and Carols service are choral works by Praetorius, Hassler and Vaughan Williams, along with Renaissance music, and a spiritual with percussion. Of course, a prominent feature of this service is the singing of familiar Christmas carols – one of the great joys of the season. The service concludes with Respighi’s Preludio for organ and strings. I am looking forward to this afternoon of Christmas music!

Our Christmas Eve service is another one of my favorites. An extended music prelude starts at 10:30 PM, featuring our soloists and choir in a variety of Christmas pieces, and a Festival Eucharist begins at 11:00 PM.

On another topic, I have found some interesting bits of information on the organ here at Incarnation. Some of you may know that I teach at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. Housed in the library there are the archives of the Organ Historical Society. And, the archivist is Bynum Petty, a retired organ builder who rebuilt the Incarnation organ console in 200, and installed new reed stops in 2009.

Bynum recently discovered a sort of scrap book of an organ enthusiast from the late 19th century. This scrapbook includes recital programs, news clippings and articles, along with other documents related to organs and organ building. Included in this binder are two recital programs from Incarnation. One is from 1883, when Frederick Archer (an English organist) dedicated the new Roosevelt organ. The other program is from 1897, when French organist Alexandre Guilmant dedicated the new Votey organ.

I’ve made copies of both recital programs. They will be on display in the Parish House display case for the next few weeks, along with other interesting organ-related documents. Be sure to have a look!

All the best for a wonderful holiday season,

—Dr. Matthew Lewis

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Our Parish Christmas Party will follow the 5:00 p.m. Service of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 15. Dr. Lewis and a singer from the choir will lead us in caroling during the party.

The uniquely Anglican blend of traditional Scripture and fine music, followed by the warm celebration provides an ideal occasion to introduce your friends and neighbors to Incarnation. This year, the music by Philip Glass will be a special treat.

Following the 11:00 p.m. Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, there is a Eucharist at eleven o’clock on Christmas Day that features a Visit to the Crèche for the children present.

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We have enclosed a flyer listing the principal services of the season. If you can, please post the flyer in your building or pass it along to a friend. You might also tell friends you know who have children that the Nursery is open each Sunday of the year, staffed by a professional attendant, and the Sunday School welcomes drop-ins and visitors.

It often happens that people randomly attend a Christmas worship service and find themselves beginning unexpected journeys toward spiritual renewal. Even if you yourself are 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.


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. Begun some years ago by Victoria Wood Nagle and members of her family, the Fund helps people within the Incarnation parish family who have financial needs; grants are made in confidence through the Rector’s Discretionary Fund.

A form is enclosed which you can fill out to direct your gifts to any or all of these three purposes.


The Chair of Operation Santa—which was supported by 30 people last year and mailed 100 presents—describes the program for this year:

Incarnation is continuing its work with “Operation Santa,” a personal way to give to a specific child or family in need at Christmas. On Sunday, December 15, after the 11am service, we will gather in the Parish House. The event will last from 12:30 PM to 5:00 PM. (You can come by any time during the day and stay as long or as short as works for you). We will have a selection of letters from children and families that have been collected by The Post Office. We choose letters requesting items such as winter clothing, school supplies or small gifts.


You can participate (1) by joining us on the 15th to shop, wrap, and mail packages; (2) by picking up a letter on the 15th and answering the letter on your own time; (3) by making a donation for gifts or postage; or (4) by joining us to wrap gifts purchased by others; or (5) helping us to get the boxes to the Post Office on the 15th . All are welcome to join us – this is a great opportunity to introduce friends to Incarnation. Wrapping paper, snacks, and Christmas music provided. Questions? Please contact me at 212-473-5166.

–Anna Holmgren


At the suggestion of some Vestry members, we are planning on having a small tree in the Parish House. Each member of the parish is invited to bring an ornament to put on the tree during the coffee hour on Sunday, December 22. The ornaments will be saved and displayed on a larger tree next year. We’ll have special refreshments for the occasion.


The Nominating Committee for the 2014 Vestry has been appointed: Jonathan Vaughan, Stephen Ju, and Elizabeth Westcott-Pitt from the Vestry and Susan Adams, Uche Akwuba II, Anna Holmgren, and Jaye Shorter from the parish. Please give any suggestions you might have for Vestry candidates to a member of the committee before they meet on December 8.


Outreach: Incarnation’s next Senior Resource Day will be Sunday, January 27, from 1-3pm. This new Outreach program at Incarnation is drawing big crowds – volunteers are needed to offer computer help, serve meals, and welcome visitors.

The Incarnation Twenties and Thirties are invited to the home of Breandan Ward, one of our members, for an old-fashioned Carol Party with mulled wine, snacks, and song sheets on Tuesday, December 3. Details will be sent out to the 20s/30s email list. To join this list, please contact me.

20s/30s are also invited to join the Men’s and Women’s Groups in “Greening the Church” on Friday, December 13. The decorating will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will continue until every wreath is hung and bow is tied. The Rector will host a holiday reception in his apartment afterwards. The next Drinks and Discussion will be on Tuesday, January 14, at 7:00 p.m. Our topic will be “Faith in the Workplace.” Drinks and a light dinner will be available for a free-will donation. The group will meet in the Parish House. Please RSVP by calling the church office at 212-689-6350 or emailing

Women’s Group. Women of the parish are also invited to “Green the Church” on Friday, December 13, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and at the reception in the Rector’s apartment. On Tuesday, January 21, the Women’s Group will meet at the Parish House at 7:00 p.m. A light supper will be provided. Our topic for the evening will be “Was Jesus married and does it matter?” – we’ll consider new scholarship on Jesus’ marital status and what is at stake in the debate. You may RSVP to me for this event.

Adult Forum. For Advent, we’ll be discussing British theologian and mystery writer, Dorothy L. Sayers. There will be no meetings on December 22 and 29, but, in the New Year, we’ll be discussing topics from the lectionary text of the week to the newspaper headlines. Please join us!

the Rev. Ginger Strickland


Members of the Men’s Group and other men in the congregation are also invited to help decorate the church on Friday, December 13, beginning at 6 p.m.; come later if you need to. After the church is decorated, I hope you’ll come to my party as well.

Our first meeting in the New Year will be on Monday, January 6, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. In conjunction with the sermon series I’ll be giving, we’ll talk about “Christian Biography;” specifically, how we portray ourselves. On February 3, we will have a special guest, Donald V. Romanik, the President of the Episcopal Church Foundation.


Incarnation’s 71st Annual Christmas Fair is an important outreach to our friends and neighbors, a great fundraiser, and a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit. The Fair this year will take place on Friday, December 6 from 11am-4p and Saturday, December 7 from 11am-3pm. Volunteers are needed during the Fair. We also need your help in making up Christmas Baskets at our annual basket night from 6-9pm on Monday, December 1. Finally, we are in search of donations for our Christmas Fair Silent Auction. If you can offer any time and effort please let us know. You can tell us on Sunday morning or email Laurie Mygatt (


On October 6, John Hoaglund died of a heart attack in his home in Murray Hill at the age of 64. For years, John was a lay reader at the 8:30 service and participated in the Supper Group Program. A memorial service was held for him at Incarnation on October 29, and many of his friends from the fashion industry attended (including former Incarnation parishioner, Vincent Mignon.) He will be much missed by his twin sister, Joan and other family members as well as by his many friends in New York City.

May light perpetual shine upon him, and may he rest in peace. Amen.

Also planned for in the New Year:

1. IncarnationSocial. This will be a new version of our supper and brunch groups. Everyone interested in the program will be invited to an introductory meal in the Parish House in January or February, hosted by Ginger or by me. Then they can opt to join a group of 8-10 persons for three additional meals in each other’s homes or in the Parish House. Anyone who wants to be in a group can sign-up without going to the introductory meal.

2. Sermon Series. For January and February, I am planning a series called, “Christians.” The sermons will describe persons of faith I have know and give lessons from their lives.

3. Reachout Sunday Brunch. A couple of times a year, we plan Sunday brunches in my apartment or the Parish House for newcomers, allowing them to meet parish leaders.


Due a temporary shortage of diocesan staff, we were not able to schedule a visit from one of the bishops for Confirmation until the autumn of 2014. Anyone interested in confirmation instruction before then should contact me, as confirmations are also held occasionally at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.


The Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held on Sunday, January 12, at 12:30 pm, in the Assembly Hall. Leaders of parish organizations are reminded that annual reports of their activities during 2013 should now 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.


**Monica Culoso, Chris Stromee, and many others, for their work on the Parish Dinner.

***Basil Elliot, for the new pew cushions in the Church.


Our $210,000 stewardship goal from pledges is essential for support of this parishes’ mission for 2014. It will be very helpful in planning for next year’s budget if all pledges are received by Thanksgiving week. If you wish to make a pledge and have not received a pledge card, please call the parish office at 212-689-6350 or pick up pledge materials at the back of the church by the entrance or in the pews. You may also speak with me–I welcome questions about pledging!

Chris Stromee


Thank you to all those who have already pledged to Church of the Incarnation’s stewardship campaign. Offering envelopes will be available in church in December for those who need them.

And a very special word of thanks to John Chadwick. How lucky we are that the Assembly Hall and Parish House look so beautiful as the Feast of the Incarnation approaches. The Membership Committee encourages you to tell your friends and neighbors about our services, since many people want to visit churches during this season. On behalf of the Wardens, Vestry, and Staff, I wish you a joyous Christmas and rewarding New Year.



The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley, Rector


Donation form



Tuesday, December 3: 20s/30s Party

Friday, December 6: 11am-4pm Christmas Fair

Saturday, December 7: 11am-3pm Christmas Fair

Friday, December 13: 6 pm: Decoration of Church and Party in the Rectory

Sunday, December 15: 12:30 pm Operation Santa

5:00 pm Lessons and Carols, followed by Parish Christmas Party

Sunday, December 22: Decoration of Parish House Christmas tree during the coffee hour

Tuesday, December 24: 11:00 pm “Midnight Mass” [10:30 pm: Preparatory Music]

Wednesday, December 25: 11:00 am Christmas Eucharist with “Visit to the Creche” for children.



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