Parish Newsletter November – December 2015

Dear Friends,
As the holidays approach, you may be interested in the enclosed flyer, which lists 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.
Now our Organist discusses the music we’ll hear this season.
FROM THE DIRECTOR OF MUSIC:
Last month I participated in the East Texas Pipe Organ Festival. It was an honor for me to be there with so many colleagues, and to play a recital on a very fine Aeolian-Skinner organ in Longview.
You may have noticed a new sound from the Incarnation choir. I am very pleased with the high level of singers we have, including a countertenor for an alto – a first at Incarnation.
With Christmas right around the corner, I’d like to draw your attention to some upcoming events:
Sunday, December 13: Lessons and Carols at 5:00 PM
This annual event is an Incarnation favorite, with strings and choir.
Handel: Organ Concerto in g minor, opus 7
Respighi: Preludio for Strings and Organ
Choral music of Warlock, Praetorius/Vulpius, Billings, Saint- Saëns and Britten, with traditional carols sung by all.
This year we have a cocktail pianist for the Christmas party in the Assembly Hall – great fun, and a good occasion to bring friends to church!
Thursday, December 24: Christmas Eve “Midnight Mass” at 11:00 PM
With prelude music starting at 10:30. Music for strings, choir and organ of Bach, Pasquini, Clérambault and Mozart, as well as the Haydn Kleine Orgelmesse and Victoria O magnum mysterium.
Wishing you all a wonderful Advent and Christmas season, I look forward to seeing you at our services.
Yours,
Matthew Lewis
As Dr. Lewis notes, our Parish Christmas Party follows the Service of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 13. 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.
CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS, MUSIC AND OFFERINGS 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 more recent custom at Incarnation is Operation Santa, our annual Christmas service project led by parishioner Anna Holmgren. Operation Santa involves purchasing, wrapping, and mailing gifts to children and families in need. This year, Operation Santa will be held on Sunday, December 20, after morning services and throughout the afternoon. Donations to Operation Santa help cover the costs of gifts and postage. Read more about this service opportunity in the Associate Rector’s report below.
You can use the enclosed form to make gifts to Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Operation Santa, and the Christmas Fund–as well as Stewardship pledges to underwrite the 2016 operating budget. If you have any questions, speak to me or the Treasurer, Michael Linburn.
FROM THE ASSOCIATE RECTOR:
Mission and Outreach
Incarnation will once again hold it’s annual Christmas service project, Operation Santa, on Sunday, December 20, from 12:30 to 5:00 p.m. Immediately after coffee hour, we will gather in the Parish Dining Room to respond to letters written to “Santa” by children/families in need. These letters are collected by the Post Office and then made available to Incarnation. You can participate by joining us on the 20th to shop, wrap, and package gifts, all in one afternoon.
If you can’t join us for the whole experience, you are welcome to take a letter to fulfill on your own. There will also be an opportunity to wrap some pre-purchased gifts at the start of Operation Santa, and children of any age can make Christmas cards! You can also help us take the gifts to the Farley Post Office (421 8th Ave.) the following day.
Go to our Outreach page to access a copy of the Operation Santa flyer, which you are welcome to circulate to friends. The more volunteers, the merrier! This is a great opportunity to introduce others to Incarnation and an important aspect of our shared life of faith. Not only are we being “Santa” to someone in need; we are being Christ, manifesting his presence in the world and in the lives of those we serve.
20s/30s Group
To continue an Incarnation 20s/30s tradition, Group member Breandan Ward has invited the 20s/30s to his home in Midtown for a Caroling Party on Tuesday, December 15. It’s time to warm up your vocal cords with some mulled wine or apple cider and belt our some Christmas favorites! We’ll also get a jump on Operation Santa, going through letters and divvying up Christmas lists written by children and families in need. It’s a party, hymn sing, and mission opportunity rolled into one! Please email me for details and to RSVP.
20s/30s are also invited to join in “Greening the Church” on Friday, December 11. 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.
Women’s Group
The Women’s Group is likewise invited to “Green the Church” on Friday, December 11.
Members of the Women’s Group are also invited to participate in a new “Spiritual Conversations” program. Each month, Group members are paired to meet over coffee/lunch for an intentional spiritual conversation based on a selection of discussion prompts. The pairs change each month, and Group members can opt in or out at any time. Email me to sign up!
Children and Families
Children ages 3 to 10 are invited to participate in a short Christmas Pageant during the 11:00 a.m. service on Sunday, December 20. Acolytes and kids 11 and older are invited to help. There will be one rehearsal from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 19 in the church. Please let me know if your child would like to take part so that we can have enough costumes and parts for all.
Following the Pageant, we will have special coffee hour treats and hot chocolate for all Pageant participants and helpers! Families are also encouraged to stay and participate in Operation Santa, a great hands-on mission opportunity for kids.
This year we are introducing a new Children’s Eucharist at 4:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. This brief and informal service for families will include a children’s homily, a simple Eucharistic prayer, and a few favorite Christmas hymns. The homily will involve a flock of stuffed sheep, so please bring any that you have to the service. The bigger the flock the better!
Finally, our Christmas Day service at 11:00 a.m. features a special telling of the Christmas story for children. We hope families can join us for that as well.
The Rev. Adrian Dannhauser

MEN’S GROUP DECORATION AND PARTY
The Men’s Group is also invited to help decorate the church on Friday, December 11, beginning at 6:30 p.m. After the decorating is completed, all are welcome at a reception in my apartment. No need to RSVP and friends are invited.
As winter sets in, I want again to thank Brian Lamb, Andrew Roberts, and the rest of the Garden Committee. The fine weather led to our best season ever.
THANKS ALSO TO:
***Julie Noll and Christopher Stromee and their team of cooks and donors and other workers for organizing and preparing the Annual Dinner. It was a joyous and fulfilling evening in every way.
***All the volunteers who made this fall’s Senior Resource Day another meaningful experience for neighborhood seniors seeking to increase their tech savvy. A special thanks to my son, John Ousley, for handling the many RSVPs and to Todd Edelsonfor his presentation on preventing falls.
OTHER HAPPENINGS AROUND INCARNATION:
***My other son Andrew Ousley’s company, Unison Media recently filmed a music video of pianist/composer Conrad Tao in our Assembly Hall. Go to Conrad’s Facebook page, where the church is tagged and you can see the video.
***The Swedish Lutheran community of New York City will hold three Santa Lucia services at Incarnation this month.
***The veteran New Yorker writer Adam Gopnick spoke to the Trollope Society here on October 15; he told of his admiration for the Victorian British author, Anthony Trollope.
***For the first time in many years, Incarnation will hold a weekend retreat at our Incarnation Center in Ivoryton, CT. The retreat is scheduled for September 23-25, 2016; mark your calendar and look for further information next year.
WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST PARISHIONERS:
***Julianna and Jedd Katrancha report the birth on September 28 of Tully Michael Edward Katrancha.
***Cindy and Ronald Bradford report the birth of Flynn Parker Bradford on November 23.
***Shiny and Ali Jabbari report the birth of Aria Faith Jabbari on November 28.
Congratulations to all!
INCARNATION IN THE NEWS:
***A scholarly web site devoted to John LaFarge’s stained glass has recently appeared which refers to our windows and murals. These works are also referenced in an exhibit of John LaFarge’s works in the Boston College Art Museum.

From an email from a recent visitor that I received after the weekend of the Paris attacks:

“I wanted to thank you and the entire congregation for being so welcoming on my first visit to worship this morning. After speaking with members of the congregation and hearing such a wonderful sermon I greatly look forward to attending again. Thank you again for being such a great beacon of hope.”

2016 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 January 27. 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 Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, will be the confirming bishop this year. Bishop Sauls is the administrator at the Episcopal Church headquarters on Second Avenue. He is the former Bishop of Lexington, Kentucky and will be making his first visit to Incarnation on March 6.
2016 ANNUAL MEETING
The Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held on Sunday, January 31, 2016, at 12:30 p.m, in the Assembly Hall. Leaders of parish organizations are reminded that annual reports of their activities during 2015 should 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.
LONDON PARISH LINK
The Rector emeritus of our London link parish of St. Vedast-Alias-Fosters, the Rev. Dr. Alan McCormack recently began serving as the Chaplain to the Lord Mayor of the City of London. The Mayor, the Rt. Hon. Lord Mountevans is a member of St. Vedast. His wife, Lady Mountevans participated in our last parishioner exchange.
Speaking of which, one of the Wardens of our sister parish, Elizabeth Batchelor and I discussed a new exchange for 2016 when I was in London in September. A group of 8-12 persons from Incarnation would travel to the UK for a long weekend after Easter. Incarnation would then host a similar group from St. Vedast in the autumn of 2016.
Ann and Ted Rast were in London for the installation of the Lord Mayor; they have agreed to act as coordinators of the visit. If you think you might be interested, let them or me know.
* * * * * *
On behalf of the Wardens, Vestry, and Staff, I thank you for your generous support, and I wish you a joyous Christmas and a rewarding and hopeful New Year.
Yours,
The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley, Rector
Enclosures:
Donation form and Christmas flyer
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