November-December 2014

PARISH LETTER

NOVEMBER—DECEMBER 2014

 

Dear Friends,

Before we get to news of the Christmas services and events, here is an important announcement from our Assistant Minister:

Dear Friends,

As many of you are aware, after consultation with the Rector, I have accepted a position as Associate at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ross, California, (about 15 miles north of San Francisco). My last Sunday at Incarnation will be January 25, 2015.

I am looking forward to the opportunity for new experiences and increased responsibility. But the thought of leaving Incarnation makes me very sad. I am so thankful for my three and a half years here with you.

Thank you for supporting me even in the most difficult moments. I have learned so much about patience, kindness, and faith from you. Thank you for being patient with me, and for helping me to learn and grow as a priest.

I am glad to two more months to serve with you and hope to make the transition to the next stage of things as smooth as possible.

With thanks,

Ginger

On January 25, we will have a potluck luncheon to honor the Rev. Ginger Strickland and her rich and energetic ministry at Incarnation. While we congratulate her on her new appointment, we will all be sad to see her go, and we wish her Godspeed.

 

FROM THE DIRECTOR OF MUSIC:

Sunday, December 7 at 5:00 PM: Annual Service of Christmas Lessons and Carols

Incarnation Choir, with strings, oboe and organ, including the Concerto in D, by Benedetto Marcello. One of the most beautiful pieces in the Baroque repertoire, this stunning work will be played by oboist, Keisuke Ikuma. Also on the program are works by Britten, Holst, Saint-Saëns and Poulenc, along with traditional carols sung by all.

This service is one of the most popular events at Incarnation – a great occasion to bring friends!

Christmas Eve – Wednesday, December 24

10:30 PM – Preparatory Service of Music, featuring the Incarnation Choir

11:00 PM – Festival Eucharist. Choral music of Bach and Mendelssohn, with carols arranged by Willcocks and Rutter. Traditional carols sung by all. Organ music of Dupré, Vierne and Widor.

Christmas Day – Thursday, December 25

11:00 AM – Family Eucharist, with a soloist from the choir. Organ music of Dupré and Bach.

Matthew Lewis

* * * * * *

Our Parish Christmas Party will follow the Service of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 7. Dr. Lewis and singers from the choir will lead us in caroling during the party. The uniquely Anglican blend of traditional Scripture and special music, followed by the warm celebration, provides an ideal occasion to introduce your friends and neighbors to Incarnation.

The Eucharist at eleven o’clock on Christmas Day features a Visit to the Crèche for the children present.

* * * * * *

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 who have children that the Nursery is open every 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.

And note that for the first time in many years, we plan a Christmas Pageant! Further details are below, in Ginger’s contribution.

 

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS, MUSIC AND FUND FOR THOSE IN NEED

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. Vestry members are also making cookies for shut-ins; if you would like to donate cookies, you can call Janet Loengard at 908 766-1412.

2015 VESTRY NOMINATIONS

The Nominating Committee for the 2015 Vestry has been appointed: Janet Loengard, Gretchen Morgenson, and Elizabeth Westcott-Pitt from the Vestry and Susan Adams, Uche Akwuba II, Stephen Ju, and Robert Torretti from the parish at large. Please give any suggestions you might have for Vestry candidates to a member of the committee before they meet on December 14.

 

 

 

FROM THE ASSISTANT MINISTER:

Reaching Out

 

This year, Incarnation will continue its work with “Operation Santa,” a personal way to give to a specific child or family in need at Christmas. On Sunday, December 14 after the 11 AM service, we will gather in the Parish House. The event will last from 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM. The Post Office collects letters from families in need and we will have a selection of letters available. You can participate by joining us on the 14th to shop, wrap, and mail packages; by picking up a letter on the 14th and answering a letter on your own time; by making a donation for gifts or postage; or by joining us at 4:00 PM on the 15th to help us get the boxes to the Post Office. All are welcome to participate – this is a great opportunity to introduce friends to Incarnation. Questions? Please contact Anna Holmgren at 212-473-5166.

 

Some exciting news regarding Senior Resource Day, Incarnation’s outreach program offering tech help to seniors: National Corporation Research, a local business, will be donating food for the hot meal that we serve during the event. In addition, Incarnation is working on a partnership with the Stein Senior Center to receive a grant from the Department of Aging focusing on getting information out about how to prevent elder abuse. Thanks to Incarnation volunteers for building such an effective program! The next Senior Day will be Sunday, January 18, from 1-3 PM.

 

Twenties and Thirties

Group member Breandan Ward has invited the Incarnation Twenties and Thirties to his home for a Carol Party on Tuesday, December 9. Those who attended last year will remember that it was a highlight of the season. For details, please join our 20s/30s email list by contacting me. 20s/30s are also invited to join the Men’s and Women’s Groups in “Greening the Church” on Friday, December 12. The decorating will begin at 6:30 PM. and will continue until every wreath is hung and bow is tied. The Rector will host a holiday reception in his apartment afterwards.

Women’s Group

The Women’s Group is also invited to “Green the Church” on Friday, December 12, beginning at 6:30 PM. After the decorating is completed, all are welcome at a reception in the Rector’s apartment.

Youth and Families

Families with children are invited to have their pictures taken with Santa at Incarnation’s Christmas Fair on Saturday, December 6 from 11 AM-6 PM. Children can enjoy Santa and the playroom while parents get a chance to check out all the Fair goodies and maybe even enjoy some refreshments at our café.

In addition, children are invited to participate in a short Christmas Pageant during the 11 AM service on Sunday, December 14. There will be one rehearsal from 10-11 AM, on Saturday, December 13 in the church. All children from ages 3-10 are invited, and are welcome to bring friends. Please let me know if you plan to come so that we can have enough costumes and parts for all. Acolytes and kids over 11 are invited to help. Thanks to Tory Nagle for directing this year’s pageant. Please contact the Assistant Minister if you’d like to participate. Families are invited to stay for lunch and Operation Santa after the service.

the Rev. Ginger Strickland

 

MEN’S GROUP/PARTY

The Men’s Group is also invited to help decorate the church on Friday, December 12, beginning at 6:30 PM. After the decorating is completed, all are welcome at a reception in my apartment. No need to RSVP and friends are welcome.

INCARNATION 2020

 

The Incarnation 2020 Committee met for the first time on September 30.

Father Andrew Mullins, consultant to Church of the Incarnation, discussed membership and attendance trends, demographics data for 10016 zip code, and implications for growth of the parish.

 

The increase in membership at Incarnation in the past five years runs contrary to national and diocesan trends, which are declining membership and attendance. Father Mullins has performed an analysis of the demographic features of our zip code. The demographic data show that our zip code is young (average age 41 years), affluent, well-educated, and mostly single. While most aren’t very interested in religion, those who are prefer an historic Christian tradition.

 

Understanding the demographics of the 10016 zip code, we can develop ideas for reaching out to our true target audience. Incarnation is a church that is growing and can grow more. In subsequent meetings, the Committee has been developing plans and programs to reach the target audience. Ideas from the parish are welcomed and encouraged. The final meeting of the Committee will be a joint meeting with the Vestry on January 21.

Juliana Attwood

CHRISTMAS FAIR AND SILENT AUCTION

The Christmas Fair will be on Saturday only this year: December 6, from 11 AM to 6 PM. There will be many new features, including the presence of Santa Claus and an expanded Silent Auction.

Also, this year the Silent Auction will be online! Photos and descriptions of silent auction items will be found at www.incnyc.org (look for the link in the bottom left corner) beginning at 11 AM on November 29 – and bids will be accepted by email (ginger@churchoftheincarnation.org) until the Fair begins at 11AM on December 6. Bidding for the Auction will close after Lessons and Carols on December 7

WINTER CLASS

Following the success of our summer class on “Christian Questions,” I propose a winter class of three Tuesday sessions of one hour each. My tentative topic is, “Faith and the Emotions.” More information will follow.

SOUNDS

We continue to work to improve the audio in our church. Please let me know if you ever have trouble hearing readings or sermon or other parts of the liturgy.

THANKS TO:

***Robert Galloway, for getting the Church of the Incarnation listed on the Roosevelt Map that listed sits of special interest to those who watched the PBS series about the Roosevelts.

***Many volunteers this busy fall, especially office workers Ginny Bubaris, Rodica and Mihail Georgescu, and Sandra Cecchini. Tom Southworth has also served many hours, but he is currently in rehab, recovering from a fall.

 

R.I.P.

On November 6, Aileen Vaughan died, following a long illness. Aileen attended Incarnation occasionally over the course of many years with her husband, Roger and her son, Jonathan. Our condolences to her family and friends. May Aileen rest in peace.

2015 CONFIRMATION/INQUIRERS CLASS

Every year, a class is held in the winter and spring for those who are interested in the Episcopal Church’s understanding of the Christian faith. The five sessions prepare for church membership those who are from Protestant denominations, people with no religious background who wish to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church, Roman Catholics who wish to be received into our Church, and Episcopalians who wish to renew their baptismal commitment as adolescents or as adults.

Some people who just want to learn more about the Episcopal Church also attend, and long-term members of Incarnation come for a refresher course on the Bible, church history, theology, liturgy, ethics, and prayer in the Anglican tradition. Classes are tentatively set to begin on February 4. Please let me know if you think you would like to be part of this class or if you have any questions about it.

I’m pleased to announce that the retired Bishop of Rhode Island, the Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, will be the confirming bishop this year. Bishop Wolf will be making her first visit to Incarnation. She is an engaging preacher, and I know you will want to welcome here when she arrives on Sunday, March 8.

2015 ANNUAL MEETING

The Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held on Sunday, January 11, 2015, at 12:30 pm, in the Assembly Hall. Leaders of parish organizations are reminded that annual reports of their activities during 2014 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.

* * * * * *

Enclosed with this Parish Letter, you will find a letter from our Junior Warden, Jonathan Vaughan. This is the time of the year when we customarily ask for donations for Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Operation Santa, and the Christmas Fund–as well as Stewardship pledges to underwrite the 2015 operating budget. A sixth request is special for this year: to close out the campaign to fund the three-quarter-million-dollar restoration of the stonework on the church spire. (Among recent gifts was a $20,000 donation from Bill and Weslie Janeway.)

I am well-aware that we are asking a lot. On the other hand, I just returned from a workshop on church growth; the leader claimed that Episcopalian leaders lose support because they have “low expectations” of their membership.

I admit to having had low expectations at the beginning of our Spire Campaign; those expectations were surpassed long ago by the remarkable generosity of Incarnation’s parishioners and friends. I now have confidence in your commitment to Incarnation’s ministry to the community and to those in need.

On behalf of the Wardens, Vestry, and Staff, I thank you for your support, and I wish you a joyous Christmas and a rewarding and hopeful New Year.

Yours,

 

The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley, Rector

Enclosures:

Vaughan Letter; Donation form; Christmas flyer

 

 

 

 

 

November 24, 2014

 

 

Dear Parishioner,

 

Over the last six months the Church of the Incarnation has undertaken a fundraising appeal, the Spire Fund Campaign, towards the cost of repair and restoration of our tower spire. More recently the parish received a generous promise to boost the spire project fundraising with a special foundation challenge grant.

 

The challenge grant will match every new or increased gift from parishioners to the Spire Fund, dollar for dollar. However, the funds will only be matched if every parishioner makes a gift. Even a gift of $5 will meet this stipulation. If you have not already done so, I especially ask you to participate. Again, all new and increased gifts will be matched by the grant.

 

Last winter small shards of brownstone from the tower spire began to peel off and fall to the street. These small chunks of falling stone are a serious danger to pedestrians and also could damage the roof leading to leaks into the sanctuary. Immediately after this discovery protective bridgework above the sidewalk was installed. Then scaffolding was erected around the tower so that the spire could be evaluated and repaired.

 

While the spire restoration itself is close to completion the fundraising campaign is not. Aside from the challenge grant opportunity, more contributions are indeed needed to pay for the project. Donors of gifts of $100 and above will receive a boxed small brownstone memento as a thank you reminder of the campaign’s purpose. Gifts or pledges of $1,000 and above are acknowledged in a Spire Fund donor book placed by the entrance to the sanctuary. All additional gifts will be greatly appreciated!

 

A Spire Fund pledge card and reply envelope are enclosed. For any questions about pledge payments or special types of gifts, such as gifts of stock, please contact the rector through the parish office.

 

Thank you for your consideration of a new or increased gift for the Spire Fund Campaign while meeting the challenge for parish-wide participation.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Jonathan Vaughan

Junior Warden

 

 


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