Summer 2013



Dear Friends,


I am very pleased to announce that, with the permission of the Bishop of New York and the consent of the Incarnation Vestry, I have appointed the Rev. Canon George Brandt to be our Honorary Assistant.


I have known George since he was an attorney and a member of the first parish I served in the 1970’s. After he was ordained, he held many distinguished positions in the United States and Africa. He moved to Murray Hill after retiring as Rector of St. Michael’s Church on the Upper West Side.


Most of you have already met George either when he preached for us or at parish events. We are very fortunate indeed that he has decided to join in the ministry of Incarnation.


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In the relatively relaxed weeks of July, Ginger and I are presenting a class on basic Christianity. In four sessions, we will be discussing the intellectual underpinnings and the spirituality of lived faith. This is intended for those who are new to religion as well as for those who might like a fresh over-view.


The course is entitled “How Christianity Makes Life Harder and Happier—a short class exploring Christian Faith and Life.” We will meet on Tuesdays: July 9, 16, 23, and 30, from 7 to 8:00 p.m. Sandwiches and fruit will be available before the class for $5; let us know if you would like one. No need to reserve for the class itself.



“Christmas in July,” when we make crafts, jam and other items for our December Christmas Fair, will take place on Wednesday, July 17, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Please join us—whether you are crafty or not—for all or any part of this evening. Dinner will be provided for volunteers!




As in past summers, we will be going every month to a local restaurant for a Dutch treat brunch after the Sunday coffee hour. This year, since we’ll be going on the last Sunday of each month, the next brunches will be on July 28 and August 25.



June was a busy month at Incarnation! The American Guild of Organists offers professional certification exams every other year, at the local chapter level. These exams are at varying levels, from basic organ skills through ones that require very advanced skills. Part of my duties serving on the Executive Committee for the NYC Chapter of the AGO is that of Competition and Exams Coordinator. This year, 5 applicants from the area applied to take the highest-level exams. I was pleased that we were able to host the exams at Incarnation. This intense week started on June 3, and ended on Friday, June 7.

I’m pleased to say that all went well from the coordinator’s point of view! A special thanks to Doug and Ginger for tiptoeing around during this time, and a BIG thank you to Rico and his crew for doing so much to accommodate everything. Last night at the NYC AGO Executive Committee meeting, I was able to give a positive report on how smoothly everything went, and was thanked by everyone.

By now, you have heard much about the replacement of the organ keyboards, and I’m pleased to say that work is underway. We will have new keyboards by the beginning of September. I am looking forward to the completion of this project! I will express my gratitude in a number of musical ways – watch for announcements.

Larry Trupiano, our organ curator, was able to work some final magic on the keyboards to get us through the AGO exams, but the old ones are definitely on their last mission. I know they will make it through the summer, but it will be great to have nice, new keyboards to play on.

And, St. George’s Choral Society had its first-ever Summer Choral Festival at Incarnation during the first two weeks of June. This culminated in a performance on the 15th, which featured the music of Haydn with orchestra. The major work on the program was the Missa in Angustiis – Lord Nelson Mass. The choir, orchestra and soloists were all excellent. I expect this to be the first of many Summer Choral Festivals here. I hope you will look for announcements for concerts in the 2013-2014 season – this is a very good choir!

Having started at Incarnation in September of 1993, it is really hard to believe how fast the years have passed. My first year here was as Jon Gillock’s (my predecessor) interim organist, and I was hired to stay on permanently in the spring of 1994. There have been so many wonderful events here, and I’ve enjoyed my time more that I can say. The issue of “keeping it fresh” gives me lots to think about, and I constantly try to mix things up: old and new, familiar and unexplored.

With that in mind, I plan to observe my 20 years here by introducing a contemporary component to the music next season. No, not “pop” music, but rather, modern influences that have not really been explored here. There is a wealth of material from around the world that is in this category, including composers such as Panderecki, Schoenberg, and Taverner, along with American greats such as Ives and Copland. And, even more fitting, there are New York composers of sacred music, like Larry King and Calvin Hampton.

I think this will be an exciting addition to the sacred repertoire we already do. By offering plenty of standards and favorites alongside, I believe the coming season will be a great one, offering things that will challenge, invigorate and promote a wonderful worship experience at Incarnation.

Wishing you all a wonderful summer, I look forward to many another year of making music at Incarnation.

Dr. Matthew Lewis



***Conor Devlin is graduating this Spring from Fordham Preparatory School. He will attend St. Olaf’s College in the Fall. We are thankful for his faithful service as an acolyte, and we wish him grace and peace in this exciting new stage in his life.




***Gabriella Taylor and Sven Eenmaa, and their daughters Chloe and Phoebe. Gaby was active in stewardship, career support, and other Incarnation programs.


***Sarah and Don Sung and their son, Jackson. Sarah chaired the Silent Auction and Don was a member of the Vestry and the Personnel Committee, among other activities at the church.

Coincidentally, both couples were married at Incarnation, their children were baptized here, and both families have relocated to the Bay area. They will all be much missed.


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Postcards from vacation spots and leaflets from churches you visit are always welcome. We post the postcards and read the leaflets for new ideas.



Families with Children

The Sunday School year ended on June 9 and will resume in mid-September. We are so thankful to our wonderful team of Godly Play teachers for their ministry with the children and families of Incarnation

We are looking for new storytellers and other adult volunteers for the autumn. We will provide training and ongoing support as you learn the Godly Play method. Many people are surprised by how much their own sense of creativity and spirituality grow through participation. Please contact me if you might be interested. The time commitment is approximately one Sunday morning per month.

Incarnation’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) will be held Monday, August 5, through Friday, August 9, 2012, and will run from 9:15 a.m. until 12:00 noon each day. Our focus this year will be on exploring Biblical Story through art. The cost is $50 per child. To register children ages 3-10, please call the church office, 212-689-6350. Tell your friends and neighbors about this program, and consider volunteering your time and talent to make the week a success. We need volunteers to lead games, crafts, music, and storytelling; to help with snack and registration; and to be in charge of groups of five or six children. There are plenty of “behind the scenes” tasks as well. You can volunteer for all, one, or a few of the days.

Women’s Group

After a fun combined meeting with the Men’s and 20s/30s groups, the Women’s Group will take a summer break and begin monthly meetings again in September. In the meantime, the Women’s Group is planning a visit to the Morgan Library on Friday, August 2 for an exhibit called “Illuminated Faith : the Eucharist in Medieval Life and Art.” We will meet at the Parish House at 6:45 pm and head over to the Library at 7 pm. The Library is free and offers live music from 7-9 pm on Friday evenings. No need to RSVP.

Twenties and Thirties

On Wednesday, July 31, at 7 PM, the Rector will host the Twenties’ and Thirties’ for a BBQ and theological discussion on his rooftop terrace at the Parish House. Please join us! Please also mark your calendars for a light dinner and discussion on “Laziness: Vice or Spiritual Virtue “at the Parish House at 7 PM on Wednesday, August 28.


May’s computer help session for seniors attracted a strong showing from Incarnation volunteers who offered a warm welcome and one-on-one computer instruction to a very pleased group of neighborhood residents. One 80-year-old was delighted to learn how to tweet. We are looking forward to another session from 2-4 pm on Sunday, September 22. We hope to include some neighborhood doctors who are willing to provide free health screenings to seniors. Please mark your calendars and prepare to volunteer!

This summer, we will be collecting toiletries for The Open Door, which provides transitional housing and other help to homeless seniors. New travel– or full-sized toiletries—soap, toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, deodorant etc.—can be dropped off in the box in the Parish House between now and the end of July.

Finally, members of Incarnation are collaborating with a class of graphic arts students at Hostos Community College in the South Bronx to put together a series of banners for the scaffolding outside the church. Students participating in the project will get to experience working with a “client”, develop and pitch ideas, and make a final presentation. Members of the parish involved in PR and the arts will offer feedback and professional guidance throughout the process and the students who have the winning idea will win a small scholarship that can be used for books or fees. Please let one of the clergy know if you have experience in graphic art, PR, or related work and would like to participate

–The Rev. Ginger Strickland



***Alex Wimbush writes: “We recently moved to Copenhagen and are now in the land of herring, Lego, and Vikings. Ally’s company offered her a great new position here and we jumped at the opportunity to live in yet another country. Ally and I have found an Anglican church – St. Alban’s – and are trying to make seem like home, but still, nothing compares to Incarnation.”


***Arthur Johansen died on April 21, at age of 77. Art left Incarnation in 1994 when he and his family moved to New Jersey; he eventually settled in Virginia where his wife, Anne still lives. His daughter, Kathryn lives in DC where she works for the Washington Post. Anne and Kathryn held a memorial service at Incarnation on June 8. Art was a terrific as well as an exemplary member of the Incarnation vestry. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.




***Our Tour Guides, who greeted visitors during the Landmarks Conservancy Open House in May


***All who helped with the computer class. Thanks to all who volunteered, and particularly to Laurie Mygatt for providing the meal.


***Our acolytes, who served so faithfully this year: Ford Diehl, Nathaniel Jameson, Baird Johnson, Eugenie Pron, and Christopher and James Vincent.

***Our Sunday School teachers: Monica Culoso, Pippa Loengard, Mark Lulka, Kim Neufeld, and Emmy Wardrop—and our substitute teachers: Liz Westcott-Pitt and Janet Loengard.

***Helen Vaughan and all who helped with joint meeting of Women’s, Men’s, and 20s/30s Groups—excellent attendance from all three groups!


***Laurie Mygatt and the others who put on the splendid reception following William Ogburn’s ordination to the diaconate. It was great to see an old friend, the Rt. Rev. Dorsey McConnell, who is now the Bishop of Pittsburgh and who has graciously assigned William to Incarnation for his diaconal training while he completes his final year of seminary.


***The Michael R. and Kathleen B. Linburn Foundation for a gift that establishes a fund for repair of the church spire. A gift from the estate of former parishioner, Gladys Newbery is being added to that fund.


The legacy from Gladys is also financing an extensive redecoration of the public areas of the Parish House and the Assembly Hall, under the supervision of John Chadwick and the Buillding Committee. In fact, thanks to the work of Sacristan Enrico Shillingford and his crew, the Assembly Hall already looks better than it has in decades.


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If you are looking for summer reading, you might visit our lending library on the ground floor of the parish house. Bring a book, leave a book.



We pay a small monthly fee to be listed on this site, and Ginger and I were wondering if anyone has ever come to Incarnation because they read about us on Faith Street?

If you have been guided by this site, or if you simply like it, please let us know.

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As the Vestry continues to consider ways to remedy our stonework problems, you may be interested in the comment that I recently posted the following on the parish blog:

The English have word for churches that no longer function as worship sites; they call them, “disused.” In the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, where I vacationed recently, there are many such buildings in little hamlets and towns that have suffered population decline over the years. Near my cottage, churches have become, respectively, an art school, a law office, a town office, and a residence.

This process can’t help but seem sad to Christians, though it is hardly new. When Incarnation was built in 1864, there were four other Episcopal churches within a couple of blocks. One relocated uptown; the others (including an oddly named Zion Episcopal Church, of which I own an engraving) have all disappeared.

All the more reason to be grateful that our building is still here–and still, day in and day out, used for prayer to our God.



The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley

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