Summer 2014





Dear Friends,

Even though the dog days of summer are approaching, a lot is happening here at Incarnation.

A year and a half ago, a small stone fell off the top of our church tower. We immediately put up scaffolding to protect the public. Then, our Vestry needed to figure out what to do!

First, we commissioned our architects to prepare a study of the stonework. This report told us how we could repair the steeple. Then we called for bids from various companies to do the work. (By the way, the largest of the four bids we received was four times the size of the lowest bid! Happily, we could take the lowest bid—which was from a firm that had done good work for us in the past.)

With the bids before us, our Vestry had to decide how much of the needed repair we could afford to do right now. We first opted for a minimum project that would allow us to remove the scaffolding, but would require us to do more work in 5 or 10 years. Then as initial work and advanced fund-raising proceeded better than expected, we found we could raise our sights. I’m happy to announce that just recently, the Vestry decided to make all the necessary repairs. We hope everything will be finished by winter.

Now we have to pay for the work. To get us started, we have already received foundation gifts, legacies, and a gift from the Diocese of New York. The Vestry has already pledged $66,000 in advanced gifts.

A committee consisting of Janet Loengard, Senior Warden, Jonathan Vaughan, Junior Warden, and Chris Stromee, Vestry member, are leading the appeal for the remaining funds needed for the Spire Restoration Project. Full details of pledging for up to three years are found in the brochure that accompanies this Parish Letter.

If you are unable to pledge, you may be interested in the enclosed letter from Janet about sponsoring a stone. Pledges and gifts of either kind may be sent in the envelope also included with this letter. Many, many thanks to our Vestry for taking the lead in this project.


On Sunday, June 29, at the 11 o’clock service and coffee hour, we will honor our Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Uche Akwuba II. Uche has served Incarnation for many years and we hope that he will serve for many more. In the meantime, we want to thank him for all the times he has carried our processional cross and all the acolytes he has trained.

In addition, Uche has organized a Ship (troop) of Sea Scouts that meets on Wednesday nights in our Assembly Hall. The group has grown significantly after three years, and some of the Scouts will be present on June 29 to meet us and demonstrate their skills.


A couple of parishioners have wondered about a summer study program centered on basic issues in Christian theology and philosophy. We’ll probably meet on a Tuesday or Wednesday from 7-8, every other week or so. Please let me know if you’re interested.


Families with Children

The Sunday School year ended on June 15 and will resume in mid-September. 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 teachers are surprised by how much they learn about their own faith in the process of answering questions from very young children! 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 4, through Friday, August 8, 2014, and will run from 9:15 a.m. until 12:00 noon each day. Our focus this year will be on the heroes and heroines of the Old Testament. 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 snacks 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.

Twenties and Thirties

The 20s/30s group is making a new start – beginning in September, we’ll meet in the back room of the Galway, a pub on 36th St. between Madison and 5th Ave, for Drinks and Discussion.


Incarnation has been hosting Senior Resource Days for over a year now! We are so thankful to the Incarnation volunteers who have offered a warm welcome and one-on-one computer instruction to neighborhood residents.

Over the course of a year, we’ve seen steady growth in attendance and have refined the format of the event. Area agencies and professionals from MDs to tech experts have called to volunteer their services, a sign that the program is turning heads in Murray Hill. But the most important thing is that attendees enjoy the hospitality, conversation, and new skills in technology. Our next Senior Resource Day will be in September.

This summer, we will continue our tradition of 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 August 24th.

Finally, we hope you’ve taken a close look at the banners covering the temporary scaffolding outside the church. These banners were created by a team of graphic design students at Hostos Community College in the South Bronx as a part of a contest sponsored by Incarnation. The Rector and the winning team were interviewed by Metro newspaper and NY1 television.

—The Rev. Ginger Strickland



***Sandy Cecchini for many, many hours volunteering as Parish Administrator, and Ginny Bubaris, for filling in for Sandy this spring. Volunteers are needed in the office weekdays this summer and autumn. If you know anyone who might be interested, please ask them to contact me, and I’ll give them information on what is needed.

***Charles Trovato and Ppixel Printing for donating printed materials for the Spire Restoration Campaign.

***Incarnation volunteers, who greeted visitors during the Landmarks Conservancy Open House in May and reached out to neighbors at our booth at the Murray Hill Street Festival.

***Sandy Cecchini, for help with foundation grant applications.

***Our acolytes, who served so faithfully this year: Baird Johnson, Christopher and James Vincent, and Junior Acolyte Kendall Gardner.


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


***All who helped with Incarnation’s Senior Days. Thanks to all who volunteered, and particularly to Laurie Mygatt for providing the meal.


***Several parishioners and friends who have given money to buy a new green chasuble to commemorate marriage equality in the Diocese of New York.



With only a few weeks to go before I enjoy some time off, I am busy getting things organized in the music office here at Incarnation. I will be on an extended vacation/study leave from June 25 through September 5, in celebration of my 20 years here. And yes, I am very much looking forward to this! I will be visiting friends and family here in the US, coordinating and teaching at a 2-week summer program in Princeton, then spending most of July and August in Europe, mainly London and Paris. I plan to visit European colleagues, hear and play some of the organs I observed as a student in Paris, and enjoy a break from my usual busy schedule here in New York. Thanks to the Rector, Vestry and people of Incarnation, for giving me extra time off, and a generous gift which is making this possible. I am so grateful!

Meanwhile, I am busy getting things set up for when I am away: scheduling soloists, meeting with my organ substitutes, and doing service leaflets for the summer. I am comfortable being away, especially knowing that you are in good hands with organists Jon Tyillian and Adrienne Pavur. And, of course, that the soloists from our own choir will be singing for the Sunday services.

Looking ahead, the Incarnation choir returns in mid-September. Until then, I hope you all enjoy the summer “solo” Sundays. Also this coming season, St. George’s Choral Society will present two concerts: a fall concert featuring the music of J. S. Bach, and Honegger’s “King David” in the spring.

Wishing you all a wonderful summer, and with gratitude for my years at Incarnation, I look forward to seeing you all in September!

Matthew Lewis

  1. I. P.

Former Assistant Bishop Don Taylor died on May 24. Bishop Taylor often visited Incarnation and he confirmed a number of our people. May he rest in peace.


Christmas in July will be held this year on Wednesday, July 16, from 6:30 to 9:00 pm in the Parish House. There will be a light supper on hand. You don’t have to be there the whole time. We’ll make a few items for the Christmas Fair, our annual fund-raiser in December. As we chat and work, I hope we will also come up with lots of new ideas to ramp up the fair. Come with suggestions–they are especially needed to find ways to publicize the event and to increase participation, sales and revenues from our Silent Auction. The more people we can get to come the more bids will be made. As to tried and true auction offerings, the most popular have been meals at local restaurants, wines and spirits, and posh performances like the Philharmonic. But why stop there? Do you have a contact at the local pet store? Or a specialty store? Or a bakery? Do you know how to get tickets to T.V. shows or backstage tours? Or friends to host a walking tour in Paris? Or what would you like to buy at our auction? I look forward to hearing your great suggestions. I look forward to folks who will volunteer to go after new ideas. Join us then or corner me at coffee hour. Thank you.

–Laurie Mygatt

This year the Christmas Fair will be held on one extended day, Friday, December 5, from 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Saturday, only the Silent Auction will be open to visitors; Saturday will also be the take-down day.

Another new idea: a parishioner in the jewelry business will take unsellable gold jewelry (like single earrings) to the Diamond Exchange and donate the proceeds to the church.


***Ford Deihl is going to New York University.

***Nathaniel Jameson will be attending Columbia College.

***Miles Messenger will be attending Bard College.

***Eugenie Pron is going to Tulane University.

Isn’t it wonderful that all four of our graduating acolytes are bound for fine schools? Congratulations to all.


***Alex and Alyson Wimbush are celebrating the birth of their first child, Eva Amy-Claire.


As many of you know, Incarnation has long been a Teaching Parish for General Theological Seminary in Chelsea.

I am pleased to announce that our new seminarian assistant will be Austin McGehee. Austin is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and a candidate for holy orders from the Diocese of Atlanta, Austin’s first Sunday at Incarnation will be on Sunday, August 31.

This Spring, former seminarian assistant, the Rev. Michael Foley was ordained priest and installed as rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Pittsburgh. And on June 1, the Rev. William Ogburn began a new ministry as curate of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Wickford, Rhode Island; William will be ordained to the priesthood on June 21—also at the Church of the Redeemer.

In a difficult job market, we can be especially pleased that our last two seminarians were called to excellent positions, and we can be grateful that another gifted seminarian has felt called to do his field work at Incarnation.


A church of course is much more than its buildings. In addition to spending much time and effort and money on our church and parish house over the past year, we have been thinking a lot about steps we might take to renew various aspects of our ministry.

Following a number of discussions with staff and Vestry, we have engaged a consultant, the Rev. Canon Andrew Mullins. Father Mullins will help us picture where we are as a parish and where God might be calling us to go. Let me know if you would like to be involved in what we are calling, “Vision 2020.”

* * * * * *

One immediate result of this project: Father Mullins strongly recommended better voice reproduction in the church, so we have just purchased new lanyard microphones for the clergy. Please tell me what you think.

Also, Father Mullins has asked what free magazines are distributed in the apartment buildings in Murray Hill. It would be helpful if you could advise us what publications are available in your building, so that we can plan our evangelism accurately.

* * * * * *

Enough of the new—best wishes for an old-fashioned, lazy but re-creative summer!



The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley


Enclosures: Brochure, pledge card, Stone Sponsor letter, return envelope

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