October 2016

Dear Friends,

As the autumn season begins, I am pleased to give you some details of all that is happening in and around the parish.

The choir has returned and Sunday School and the Adult Forum have resumed. By the time you receive this, we should have completed our first retreat at Incarnation Center in many years.

We will observe our annual fall Homecoming Sunday with a bagel brunch on October 2, following the 11 o’clock service. The luncheon will be simpler this year because we will also soon be offering a catered luncheon for Consecration Sunday, November 13. Since that luncheon will be free, we will ask for modest donations to cover the cost of the October 2 luncheon.

As it happens, I will miss the Homecoming festivities this year. Dana and I will be in Rome, Italy, to visit the Anglican Centre. The Centre is celebrating its 50th Anniversary on October 5. Clergy and laypeople from all over the world will be joining with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis to honor this outreach ministry that promotes Christian unity. My trip is being paid for by a generous foundation grant, which I received through the auspices of an old friend.

You’ll be hearing more about our new stewardship program, “Consecration Sunday” in the weeks ahead. Right now, mark November 13 on your calendars and plan on enjoying a good lunch and hearing a fine young preacher, the Rev. Sandy Keyof Christ Church, Rye, New York. I’m really excited about this program, and I think you will all want to participate.

You might also want to put Sunday, December 4, on your calendar. On that day, we will have, in place of the sermon, an address by the novelist and screenwriter, Andrew Klavan. He is also a leading writer of young adult fiction and his daily podcast is popular with many listeners. After the service, Andrew will sign copies of his new memoir, The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ. Incarnation is prominently mentioned in the memoir because Mr. Klavan was baptized in our church in 2004. In the interests of full disclosure, I will also note that he was the best man at my wedding in 2013!

The programs that the Rev. Adrian Dannhauser oversees have been particularly successful lately, as you will see from her report below.

Mission and Outreach

Mission and service is still going strong with a few new developments to highlight as we enter the fall. Incarnation’s anti-trafficking group continues to reach out to hotels in the neighborhood about the importance of training their staff to identify signs of child sex trafficking on hotel premises. The Murray Hill Neighborhood Association recently learned of this advocacy ministry and ran an article about it in the fall issue of Murray Hill Life (available in print and online – see page 19).

In an effort to continue to raise awareness in the parish and surrounding community, we will host a screening of the documentary Very Young Girls in the Assembly Hall on Tuesday, October 25, at 7:00 p.m. The film follows underage youth as they seek to exit the commercial sex industry and includes startling footage shot by pimps themselves, giving a rare glimpse into how the cycle of exploitation begins for many women. Very Young Girls is co-produced by the founder of GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Services), a Harlem based non-profit that serves girls and young women who have been trafficked for sex. A speaker from GEMS will join us for Q&A following the film. Cost of admission is $5 for GEMS or an item from their “wish list” on amazon.com.

Incarnation has expanded its homeless ministries with a newly created service project — making toiletry kits for homeless clients at the Mainchance Drop-In Center in Murray Hill. The anti-trafficking group has been forming many connections with hotels, one of which gave us a large donation of travel toiletries for this project. At our last FamilyFriday event, held on September 9, children assembled 50 toiletry kits that were delivered to Mainchance. We plan to continue this child friendly service project at future Family Fridays.

Twenties and Thirties

Earlier this month, the 20s/30s Group hosted 30 young adults from parishes around Manhattan with a special worship service at Incarnation followed by a social hour at The Crooked Knife. The Group will gather again Saturday, October 22, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for Central Park Communion. We’ll tour a few scenic favorites and secret gems in Central Park, followed by an outdoor “Hearty Eucharist” with bread, wine, olives, cheese, and a few more first-century staples. RSVP to me so we know just how hearty to make this Eucharist! We’ll meet at the 72nd Street entrance to the Park off 5th Avenue. A $5 donation is suggested but not required.

Children and Families

Our Sunday School program, Godly Play, is back for children ages 3-10. We’re introducing some new lessons about Saints this year and look forward to helping our children grow into their own sainthood as part of the body of Christ. Children will also receive “Good Deed and Bible Memory Verse Cards” – do six good deeds, recite the Bible verse on the back of the card from memory, and get a prize.

Our acolytes have also returned to assist in the Sunday liturgy. On Sunday, October 9, we’ll have acolyte “pizza and practice” immediately following the 11:00 a.m. service. We’ll gather in my apartment for a pizza lunch and then move to the sanctuary to review and reflect on the ministry of acolyting. All youth and children over 10 are invited to participate.

Women’s Group

The next meeting of the Women’s Group will be Tuesday, October 4, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Parish House. Guest speaker Retta Blaney will discuss the 10 elements of the universal spiritual life – Faith, In the Moment, Listening, Silence, Prayer, Self-Knowledge, Community, Hospitality, Ritual and Transformation – and their importance for Christians. Retta is an Episcopalian, journalist, writing professor and author of Working on the Inside: the Spiritual Life through the Eyes of Actors. Refreshments will be served.

–The Rev. Adrian Dannhauser


Circle Saturday, December 3rd on your calendar. That’s the date of our Incarnation Christmas Fair. Coming up sooner than you think. Please volunteer. And donate saleable items. If you bring them in now, I can sort them and price them at a leisurely pace. Also think about special donations for our silent auction. We can use nice wines, unique “antiques” and housewares, and especially donated meals at local restaurants. Plan to volunteer to help sell things as well from 10 until 6. Many thanks.

–Laurie Mygatt


After a restful summer, I am eager to get back to work as another season of church music is upon us. I am grateful to our soloists for their beautiful singing over the summer, and to Cynthia Weinrich, who played the organ. Cynthia’s father, Carl Weinrich, was a very famous organist in the first part of the 20th century. He was particularly known for his many recordings of Bach, and was a leader in the revival of Baroque organ music during the 1930s. He was director of music at the Princeton University Chapel, and taught at Westminster Choir College.

Our wonderful choir is back! I look forward to another year of making music for ourSunday services. Our choir makes this possible every week – such a pleasure!

I plan to do more “after-church talks,” as I did last season. These included talking about hymns and service music: how choices are made, the history of service music (plainchant and Anglican chant, communion settings. etc), and even a description of the history and mechanics of the pipe organ. These informal gatherings proved to be fun and interesting, so watch for announcements.

Looking ahead, please put our Service of Christmas Lessons and Carols in your calendar: Sunday, December 11 at 5:00 PM. This service features music for choir, instruments and organ. It’s a great occasion to bring friends who enjoy Christmas music. Watch for details.

–Matthew Lewis


NY Times columnist David Brooks will be discussing the upcoming elections at anOctober 13 benefit for Incarnation Camp. The event will begin at 6:30 pm and includes drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the Princeton Club. Tickets start at $125; call the Camp at860 767-0848 for further information.


Since Incarnation has been located on the legendary street of advertisers since 1852, we naturally think in terms of how we as a church are perceived by potential “customers.” What does the Episcopal Church brand say to people who pass by our churches? In the eyes of the average American, what do we stand for? How does our organization differ in values and purpose from, say, the Girl Scouts or the YMCA? And what can we as individuals do to promote our brand?

I have no easy answers to these questions. But I do think that promoting the brand has to begin at the top. In the Church of England, there are many new initiatives intended to promote the growth of parishes: Fresh Expressions, Messy Church, and leadership training, for example.

Granted, the C of E is much more centrally governed than the Episcopal Church. Still, it would be nice to see some new programs from the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council that put our name out to the public and make people want to come through our doors.


***A recording Dr. Lewis made a few years ago here at Incarnation was featured on the radio program, Pipedreams. (I recommend the program as well as Matthew’s fine recording.)

***The most recent issue of the Episcopal New Yorker has two articles by our Associate Rector concerning the problem of human trafficking. Copies are posted and available if you didn’t get a copy in the mail. If you are a member of Incarnation, you are entitled to receive ENY; if you don’t get it, please let me know and I’ll see that you receive a free subscription.


A number of us would like to start a book club. Right now, we are leaning toward fiction, but we might include non-fiction as well. We would read an assigned book every month or so and then meet in an evening to discuss it. The books would not generally be religious, and the group would be open to persons who aren’t members of Incarnation. The first meeting will probably be after New Year’s. Let the Rector know if you are interested or have ideas.


***Brian Lamb, Andy Roberts and the Garden Committee for all their work on the garden and flower boxes this summer. The flowers and plants brought cheer to countless people.

***The employees of our neighbor, the Church Pension Group who painted our fence as a service project.

***Dr. Susan Regisford, for her talk in our “Christianity in the Workplace” series.

***All who gave gifts in memory of Ann Churchill. The gifts will provide a scholarship for a child to attend Incarnation Camp next summer.

***All who participated in our summer service to Moravian Open Door by cooking breakfast, rolling coins, and contributing to our “Make a Joyful Noise!” campaign. We raised a grand total of $1,120.86 in loose change for Moravian Open Door’s breakfast program, which provides a nutritious daily breakfast to their homeless clients.


Dear Doug,

You have all been in my thoughts, and those of the St Vedast congregation in the past few days, when news of the bombs reached us. We hope that no-one from the Incarnation congregation was in any way affected by the explosions.

As you know, we in London are well used to these situations, but that doesn’t make it any easier to go about our daily routine, but we do. If we don’t then the evil people who do these things win, and that must never be allowed. Please be assured that we stand with you.

You are all in our prayers.

Best wishes, Elizabeth

* * * * * *

By the time you receive this, the Christmas Fair will be only a couple of months away. Bring your items to the Parish House, and start asking your favorite local restaurants and businesses if they will donate meals or goods to our Silent Auction — a big money maker for us.

With a new stewardship program, many guest speakers, and a new evangelism and spiritual growth program coming after the holidays, we at Incarnation have much to look forward to, by God’s grace.



The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley

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