September-October 2014






Dear Friends,


The beautiful summer weather in Manhattan was enhanced by two unexpected blessings in Incarnation’s life.


The first was a visit from Wall Street Journal columnist, Ralph Gardner, who climbed to the top of our spire to inspect the intricate work of repair and reconstruction. Gardner then wrote a lively article which appeared in the Journal on July 17; copies are now available in the church.


The second was an impromptu class on “Christian Questions” that ran for four sessions in July and August. We organized this course in response to a few requests and were pleased at the turnout, which included numerous visitors, even on stormy nights. Equally pleasing were the questions raised and comments made by the participants. I’m hoping that we will be able to another short evening course after New Year’s; my working title for the course is, “Faith and the Emotions,” but I would be happy to receive your suggestions.




The spire repair continues. Because of a backlog at the fabricator of the replacement “gablets” (little gables built into the spire), the contractor is not expecting to be finished before the end of November. We are hoping that deadline will be reached the scaffolding will be taken down before Christmas. You may be interested to know that the Department of Buildings of the City of New York considers this work so delicate and important that they have designated one inspector to check on the work at least once a week.

One-to-three-year pledges continue to come in and donations have also been received to “buy” a stone. Details of the two options to support for the Spire Restoration are listed on the web site and in narthex. Cash gifts received now will be matched by a grant from the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

All donors will receive souvenir stones and have their names inscribed in the Book of Remembrance. At the moment, the firs pledgers have their names displayed in the Book, which is at the entrance to the church. Janet Loengard will be distributing the souvenir stones soon, as well.

I’m really pleased at the response of the Parish to this special appeal.



After a great summer, with extended time away, it certainly feels like home at Incarnation! I played my first service September 7 after being away since the end of June…very nice to be back.

To recap, I spent the first two weeks of July in Princeton, where I supervised the Summer Organ Institute for high school students at Westminster Choir College in Princeton. Following that, I spent weeks in Europe: first London, then Paris. It was a time of reconnecting with colleagues, meeting new ones, and getting my musical batteries charged. I heard and played so many wonderful instruments. Some of you know that I studied in Paris before coming to Incarnation, so it was really great to spend time there after so many years. And, many of you know that I have an affinity for French organ and choral repertoire. So, playing on historical and new organs in Paris was particularly rewarding for me. I have returned with new ideas and repertoire, for choir and organ, and look forward to seeing how this might fit into our program here at Incarnation.

The Incarnation choir returns September 21. I hope you all enjoyed the summer “solo” Sundays. I plan to continue programming contemporary music for our Sunday services, as we did last year, along with many of our traditional and favorite works.

Our annual service of Lessons and Carols will be on Sunday, December 7 at 5:00 (a week earlier than we normally schedule this). This is one of our most popular events of the year, with music for choir, organ and chamber orchestra. A great opportunity to bring friends.


This coming season, St. George’s Choral Society will present two concerts with orchestra at Incarnation:

Sunday, November 23 at 3:00 PM–All-Bach program: Cantata 140, “Wachet auf” and Magnificat in D, BWV 243 (with Christmas interpolations)

Sunday, April 26 at 3:00 PM–Honegger: King David A masterpiece of the 20th century, Honegger’s colorful oratorio incorporates a wide variety of musical styles to tell the story of King David’s life

Wishing you all a wonderful fall season, and with gratitude for my years at Incarnation, I look forward to seeing you all in church.

–Dr. Matthew Lewis


On Monday, September 22, as the November elections draw near, we will look at conflicting views on foreign and domestic policy within the Democratic Party. Men of all political persuasions are welcome to join the discussion, which will look especially at the Obama and Clinton factions.

We will meet from 7:00 to 8:30 pm., and refreshments will be served.



It’s hard to believe that September marks the end of my third full year at Incarnation. I am grateful every day to serve with you in this wonderful place.

The Adult Forum will meet on Sundays at 10 AM, beginning September 21. This fall, we will start off with the topic “Do the Creeds Matter?” Other topics for the fall include the lectionary texts, poet Christian Wiman, and the Virgin Birth. Tea and coffee are available, and all are invited to join us.

The Women’s Group will meet at 7 PM, on Tuesday, September 16, in the Parish House. Our topic: “Mindfulness and Meditation.” We’ll discuss the increasing popularity of yoga, meditation, and similar practices and how they connect or conflict with the Christian tradition. Drinks and a light dinner will be served in return for a free will donation.

Incarnation Young Professionals, our new 20s/30s group, will host its first meeting on Wednesday, October 1. Our new group hopes to draw new young professionals to Incarnation by offering the chance to connect with others through a warm welcome and fun social activities. We also hope to help young professionals who are already a part of Incarnation to feel more connected to the parish and give them opportunities for leadership. Thanks to John Ousley, Mary Taliaferro, and Meredith Hudak for all their help in planning.

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 enjoyed an end-of-week party in the Parish House, and were invited to join us for Godly Play this year.

Godly Play, our Sunday School program for children aged 3-10, will begin again on September 21. Children attend the 11am service with their families; after a few minutes, they meet their teacher at the back of the church after the Gospel is read (don’t worry – it’s all marked in the leaflet). They return to church in time for communion. This year, our curriculum has been refreshed; we will have new stories and a new emphasis on learning the basics of faith.


A reminder: our professional nursery attendant is available in the parish house to care for young children during the service and for all children under 9 during the coffee hour – so that parents can enjoy a cup of coffee in peace!


​Children aged 10 and older are invited to serve as acolytes, assisting in the service. Any child 7 or older is welcome to consider being ​a junior acolyte. Just contact me or the Rector if you might be interested.


As part of our Outreach Program, Incarnation will host a Computer Help Session for Seniors from 2-4 pm on Sunday, October 19. 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 for this well-loved program.

the Rev. Ginger Strickland


For many years, we have welcomed pet owners from the neighborhood to bring their animals to the church steps for a blessing on the Sunday nearest St. Francis Day. It’s always a wonderful chance to get to know our neighbors better.

This year, we hope to build on the spirit of welcome and openness that comes with St. Francis Day by hosting a “Neighborhood Day” in conjunction with the pet blessings. We will keep the church open all afternoon, offering coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and baked treats to our neighbors. There will be free tours of the church and special activities for children.

We would appreciate your help in creating a fun and welcoming afternoon at Incarnation. We need parishioners to invite friends, volunteer, drop by to visit, or bring baked goods.

St. Francis Day is Sunday, October 5, and the church will be open from 1pm until the 5pm service.

* * * * * *

On October 12, former Senior Warden and Wall Street Journal editor, Ned Crabb will sign copies of his second novel, “Lightning Strikes: Death on Willow Pond.” Ned is also a chalice bearer at Incarnation. Copies of the book will be on sale for $16.95. where and when?


***Janet Loengard for organizing 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, particularly lead volunteer Maureen Edelson.

***Helen and Jonathan Vaughan for creating an excellent database for Incarnation. Helen and Jonathan will also make the program they created available for free to other churches. Thanks also to Ann Churchill for helping upgrade our financial recording and accounting systems.

***John Chadwick for selecting the new coffee table and end tables in the living room—gifts of the Elgar Fund.

***Thanks to Allen Cohen for making the contact with the Wall Street Journal and for many suggestions for web site enhancement.


You can now make a one-time or a monthly donation to Incarnation directly from our website through PayPal. No PayPal account is required in order to give. The online form includes a “special instructions” section—please specify here whether you would like your donation to go toward your regular stewardship pledge or your spire pledge; you can also make one time donations for items like altar flowers or Christmas music. Those currently giving through ParishPay may continue to give this way until the end of the year, when we will assist you with the easy transition to PayPal. We’re glad to be moving to PayPal, which is less expensive to administer and known for its outstanding security.




Stewardship for 2015

A Note from the Stewardship Chair

We support our Church of the Incarnation in many ways. Volunteers who share their time and talents assisting with worship services and hospitality, for example, are essential. The annual fall Stewardship Campaign focuses on the third component of giving, “treasure”. Gifts of money are also critical for Incarnation’s operations.


The Stewardship Campaign stresses pledged gifts – gifts that are committed in advance to be paid over the calendar year. Most contributions are in fact pledged and contributed funds make up almost a third of parish revenues. At a practical level, the 2015 pledge total 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 expresses the importance to the parishioner of this particular church and parish community.


All gifts to Incarnation are welcome and most are given with a spirit of generosity and gratitude equal to any pledge. However, during the Campaign we put the spotlight on pledging and on the idea that a pledged gift represents a thoughtful personal commitment.


Parishioners will soon receive a letter asking for their consideration of a pledge to support the parish in the year ahead. As is customary, a pledge card and reply envelope will be enclosed with each letter. It would be very helpful to the Vestry, who plan the budget, if completed pledge cards are returned to the parish office or in the offering plate by Thanksgiving Week. Of course, pledge amounts are confidential and are known only to the Rector and book-keeping staff.


Watch for Stewardship Campaign updates this fall. In addition, the sermon on All Saints Sunday and daily meditations for the rest of that week will touch on the fundamental stewardship theme of gratitude.


Thank you in advance for the pledges and gifts to be received for calendar 2015 at Church of the Incarnation.

Christopher Stromee



New York Times columnist and Incarnation Camp alumnus, David Brooks is speaking at the Princeton Club on October 28. Mr Brooks will speak about “The American Dream” and also offer his wise and witty remarks on the upcoming elections. There is a reception at 6:00 pm followed by the talk at 7 pm.

Tickets for this benefit ($125) may be purchased through the Incarnation Center website, Because the costs of the benefit are underwritten, all donations directly benefit our camp.

* * * * * *

The Rector of our London link parish of St. Vedast-Alias-Fosters, the Rev. Dr. Alan McCormack will be with us again on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 23. If you’re in town, come to hear Fr. McCormack preach at the 11 o’clock service, and then plan to go out for a Dutch-treat lunch with him at a nearby restaurant.


We have a new format and focus for our annual Christmas Fair at Incarnation. The date will be the first Friday in December, December 5, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Note that this is a little longer day, and that it will be the only day of the fair. This way our friends can stop by after work for a snack and a shopping spree. Saturday the 6th will be a clean up day and a chance to bid up Silent Auction items. We will close the Silent Auction bids on Sunday, Dec. 7.

We’ve made these changes in order to respond to the wishes of our volunteer workers and to the light traffic we’ve had on Saturday through the years. So this year getting people here is going to involve a new publicity push. If you have any thoughts on how to help do this please speak up. (I always send out fair fliers to my Christmas card list friends; can you send me your local mailing list?) We are making an effort now to cull the junque from our offerings. Of course the café and baskets and books will be here as always. (With the higher quality white elephants those are the spots that we’ve had the most traffic. And profit.) Joelle and I have already priced a lot of NICE costume jewelry.

We are planning to lay out the Silent Auction items so that it will be easier to see them and bid away. This also means that we are looking for tempting donations to have featured in the auction. Tried and true favorites are gift certificates from local restaurants and hotels and posh performances. Wine and spirits are always welcome too. But why stop there? Do you have a contact at a local pet store or specialty shop? Use your imagination: what would you like to buy at our auction? Backstage tours, Godiva’s galore or squash or tennis? I look forward to your suggestions and contributions.

Laurie Mygatt


Incarnation 2020 continues its work of planning for the future of the parish. Our consultant, the Rev. Canon Andrew Mullins met with some members of the parish this summer and will now work with a committee to develop new initiatives for evangelism and programs. Committee members include Matthew. Lewis, Ginger Strickland, Juliana Attwood, Garrett Dangler, Debra Taylor, and me.

We have already followed up on some of Fr. Mullins suggestions. We have a new sound system in the church which, after a number of glitches seems to have improved audio in the church. We continue to modify the web site to keep it fresh and to encourage comments on parish events, sermons, and my blog. I would also encourage you to follow Incarnation on Twitter and Facebook.


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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