September 2013





Dear Friends,


We have received a lot of media attention since our last Parish Letter. In the late spring, I was interviewed by WNYC radio regarding the proposed rezoning of East Midtown. While Incarnation is outside the area of this zoning, we are penalized financially by having to follow the restrictions of the New York City Landmarks code. It might be helpful, for example, if at some time in the future if we were allowed to sell our development rights to a property not contiguous to ours.


More recently, Ginger and I were interviewed by NY1 local news, both live and taped–as well as by a reporter for the free paper, New York Metro. Also interviewed were the students from Hostos College in the Bronx who participated in our contest to design a poster covering for the sidewalk shed beneath our tower.

While on the subject of the media, I would mention that more than 350 people have downloaded Incarnation’s App for iPhone. If you don’t have it, you can get it for free from the Apple Store. It makes it easier to get up to date information on church activities, to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and to read my blog and responses to comments.


I also encourage you to read the Eminder and note the little spiritual links that the Assistant Minister provides each week. Password protection now is provided by the way to get access to all past newsletters and eminders. To get the Eminder or the password, contact Ginger or me.


I hope you all had a wonderful summer! September is always a month filled with energy and excitement for the coming season. Here are a few dates when there will be special music for the Sunday morning service:

September 15 – Choir returns

October 6 – Music for St. Michael and All Angels

November 3 – The Sunday after All Saints’ Day

As promised, this season will feature contemporary music. Watch the leaflet in the coming weeks for details. Looking ahead, we will have our annual Service of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 15 at 5:00 PM, featuring music for choir, organ and chamber orchestra. This is a great occasion to bring friends to church!

The new organ keyboards are installed, and are beautiful. If anyone would like to see them, please feel free to come to the organ any Sunday after the organ postlude. To celebrate the new keyboards, I plan to do an organ program sometime in the early part of 2014. Watch for an announcement.

St. George’s Choral Society will also hold its season of concerts at Incarnation. Here are details:

Sunday, November 10 at 3:00 PM. Music for choir, organ and chamber ensemble: Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs, Britten: Choral Dances from Gloriana, Vaughan Williams: Toward the Unknown Region

Sunday, May 4 at 3:00 PM. Mozart: Great Mass in C minor, with orchestra

As always, I look forward to another year of music making at Incarnation!

–Dr. Matthew Lewis

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For a very detailed history of the organs at Incarnation, see the following, by Lawrence Trupiano, who provided the new organ keyboard this summer:



As we begin the fall season, it’s worth noting that all men in the parish are welcome to meetings of the Men’s Group. There are no dues and there is no need to make a commitment to attend every meeting. Come to those that are convenient and interest you.

Usually we gather on the first Monday evening of the month. Due to holidays and other events in September and October, however, our first meeting will be on Monday, September 23, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Parish House. Beer, wine, and soft drinks will be on offer.

Our Seminarian Assistant, the Rev. William Ogburn, will give us his observations about the Church of England, based on his summer internship in two rural parishes and other church visits.

Our next meeting will be on November 4, and our December meeting will be on the 13th, coinciding with the decoration of the church and our Christmas party. Reservations are not needed for Men’s Group events.


It’s hard to believe that September marks the end of my second full year at Incarnation. I am grateful every day to be serving with you in this place and very thankful for your support and care.

The Adult Forum will meet on Sundays at 10 AM, beginning September 15. This fall, we will consider some of the lectionary texts as well as some of the writings of British mystery writer and essayist Dorothy Sayers. In the month of November, the Rev. Canon George Brandt, Incarnation’s Honorary Assistant, will lead the forums. Tea and coffee are available, and all are invited to join us.

The Women’s Group will meet at 7 PM, on Tuesday, September 17, in the Parish House. We will be discussing a particularly strange and violent text from the Old Testament, and considering how we can read difficult texts in redemptive ways. Drinks and a light dinner will be served in return for a free will donation.

The Twenties’ and Thirties’ Group will meet at 7 PM in the Assistant Minister’s apartment on Tuesday, September 24. Drinks and a light dinner will be available for a free will donation, and we’ll be discussing the question of relevance: Is Christianity relevant to modern life? Is the Church? Should we even by trying to be relevant? Please join us!


This year’s Vacation Bible School in early August was a great success. Twenty-five children attended and had a wonderful time exploring Bible Stories, music, and art. All of the participating families have been invited to our Godly Play kickoff on September 15.

Godly Play, our Sunday School program for children aged 3-10, will begin again on September 15, with a special lesson – all families are invited to attend and learn more about our program. We are glad to have several new volunteers, including some “junior teachers” who have graduated from Incarnation’s Sunday School. In response to requests from parents, one week per month will be focused on exploring the basics of the Anglican tradition such as the Lord’s Prayer and the sacraments.

As part of its Outreach Program, Incarnation will host a Computer Help Session for Seniors from 2-4 PM on Sunday, October 13. We will be offering free computer help and snacks to area seniors. In addition, a neighborhood audiologist will be offering free hearing screenings. Please let me know if you’d like to volunteer!

the Rev. Ginger Strickland






***The Rev. Sandy Webb has been appointed Priest-in-Charge of the Church of the Holy Communion in Memphis, Tennessee. He writes, “I am grateful for the grounding that Incarnation offered to my ordained ministry. I shall never forget the chance that you and the Vestry took on me, or the graciousness with which you supported me.”


***The Rev. Michael Foley is deacon-in-charge of the French-speaking church, L’Eglise du Saint Esprit, in Manhattan, from August 16 to December 1.




***Janet Loengard for spearheading the project this summer to collect toiletries for Open Door, the halfway house for formerly homeless persons. The response was excellent.

***The twenty volunteers who helped with the Vacation Bible School.

***Allen Cohen for facilitating the Hostos College contest, and Nina Kaminer, CEO of Nike Communications, for the original idea of the project.

***Helen Vaughan and Sandra Cecchini, for their work in setting up the new database.

***Dr. Uche Akwuba II and his ship of Sea Scouts (who meet every Wednesday evening in the Assembly Hall when they are not sailing), for moving dozens of boxes of goods for the Fair to the basement.

***John Chadwick, for supervising the renovation of the Parish House public rooms and the Assembly Hall, and Sexton Enrico Shillingford and his team, to carrying out the work. More on this in a later newsletter.

***Mark Lulka, for preparing options for the Vestry to address the stonework deterioration in the church spire.

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Former parishioner, Anne Perkins, sent a nice note from Albuquerque. She is living in a seniors’ residence that is located a mile from her niece’s house. Anne reports that she is content but misses Murray Hill. She sends greetings to all.




Mission and Means: Fall Stewardship Campaign

A Note from the Stewardship Chair

Parishioners at Church of the Incarnation support the parish in many ways. Volunteers who assist with worship services and hospitality, for example, are essential. This sharing of time and talent is a crucial form of stewardship. Our annual fall Stewardship Campaign concentrates on the third component, financial gifts. The Campaign brings into focus the financial underpinnings of all that Incarnation’s has to offer.


Of necessity, the Campaign stresses pledged gifts – gifts that are committed in advance to be paid over the next calendar year. Contributed funds make up almost a third of the parish income, and most contributions are, in fact, pledged. At a practical level, the pledge total for 2014 will be the single most critical element for planning next year’s parish budget. At a personal level, the decision to commit to a pledge is a way of expressing the importance to the donor of this particular church and parish community.


Of course, all gifts to Incarnation are most welcome and may be given with a spirit of generosity and gratitude equal to any pledge. However, the way we ask for parish support is also part of being good stewards. That is why we put the spotlight on pledging during the Stewardship Campaign, with the belief that a gift commitment is a thoughtful personal commitment.


Shortly, every parishioner will receive a letter describing how the Stewardship Campaign fits into the overall framework of our life together as a parish. Enclosed with the letter will be a pledge card and reply envelope. These items also will be found in the pew racks and in the Parish House.


For budgeting purposes, it would be very helpful to the Vestry if all pledge cards are returned to the parish office or in the offering plate before Thanksgiving Week. Individual pledged amounts are confidential and are known only to the Rector and book-keeping staff.


Watch for Stewardship Campaign updates over the months ahead. Thank you in advance for all pledges and gifts for calendar 2014 at Incarnation!


Christopher Stromee

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I would note that more ten per cent of our pledges now come via Parish Pay or standing orders from people’s bank accounts. You can sign up for Parish Pay or learn more about it at or by leaving word for our Assistant Treasurer, Ann Churchill, at the Church Office..


CHRISTMAS FAIR: It’s still September, but it’s time to think about the Christmas Fair Silent Auction. We need good things like restaurant meals to offer, and we need help putting the 2013 Auction together. If you can offer any time and effort this Fall, or on the days of the Fair (December 6-7) please let us know. You can tell us on Sunday morning or email Laurie Mygatt ( Many thanks!


***Kathy and David Glass, who are now attending a parish near where they live in Riverdale. Among their many activities at Incarnation, Kathy chaired the Hospitality Committee for many years, and David was Head Usher. Their leadership and support will be much missed.

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I hope that you all had a good summer. I was fortunate to be asked to perform three weddings in various places outside the church. I also journeyed to Shelter Island to preach at former Incarnation Deacon Robert Zito’s summer parish, and I was invited to go on patrol one afternoon with officers from the 17th Precinct of NYPD, whom I serve as Clergy Liaison.

Now, along with all of you, I look forward to the pleasures and challenges of our autumn program. And, as always, I am happy to hear new ideas.




The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley



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