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Stewardship

Sacred Trust: Opening Our Hearts to God

The title of our 2021 Stewardship Campaign is based on this verse of Scripture: “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8).

During tumultuous times especially, God is our refuge and the church seeks to be a refuge too. In confidence that Christ walks with us, we pour out our hearts in trust that God will protect and provide. And because trust is all about relationship, we give open-heartedly as a way of strengthening our relationship with Christ and strengthening his Body, the church.

Click here for a letter from the Rev. Adrian Dannhauser about where Incarnation has been and where we’re headed because of our congregation’s faithful generosity.

Watch “The Big Twenty” — a stewardship skit!

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A letter from 2021 Stewardship Chair, Susan Ridgeway

Dear Fellow Parishioners,
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The last stewardship letter I wrote was in 1997, just four years after joining Incarnation. Incarnation had already proved itself to be a port in the storm. Two years earlier, I had survived a life-threatening cranial blood clot that went undiagnosed and then misdiagnosed for a number of weeks.  In fact, the night before I finally went to the ER at NYU, my doctor, whom I’d been seeing for weeks at a different hospital, determined my issue was purely psychological. The next morning, friends from church took me to the ER where, within two hours, a neurologist diagnosed the thrombosis and admitted me immediately. I spent the next three weeks there getting excellent care. But it was friends from church who visited me every day and sometimes smuggled in treats from the outside. Father Ousley brought me Communion. And it was my church friend Sarah Early, who enthusiastically shouted my name, “SUSAN!” when I finally returned to Incarnation.
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In 1998, I found myself being bullied by my landlords, threatened with eviction, and in great distress over it.  Incarnation was, again, my place of prayer and hope. While attending Incarnation Camp for a parish retreat, my good friend Chica Hinkle told me she had a second bedroom and that I could come live with her if I ended up losing my apartment. Ed Curtin, another friend from church, who is also an attorney, aided me in my legal struggle with the landlords and saved my apartment.
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Little did I know 22 years ago, that those would be but a small part of life’s challenges. Since then, there has been the loss of both parents, helping a close family member through a difficult divorce, experiencing a job loss after 16 years with one firm, helping a loved one through drug addiction, the passing of a best friend from breast cancer, accompanying my only sister on her journey with breast cancer, and my own unexpected struggle with depression and anxiety.
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Through all of these things and so many others – September 11, the financial crisis, the outbreak of COVID-19 – the things that have been constant for me are God, my faith, and Incarnation.  I cannot imagine ‘going it alone’ in a secular world. God gave me the great gift of this parish; and the Incarnation family has truly been “a lamp unto my feet, and a light upon my path.” (Psalm 119:105).
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I share these very personal things because I think that when we get to know one another on a more personal level, we can better relate to and care for one another on a spiritual level – we realize we are not alone.
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Because of the grace of God and my Incarnation family, I have never felt alone. I have always been uplifted and supported. And so, it follows that I want to give back as much as I can to God and my community.  I believe every good thing we have comes from God.  I believe God wants us to have nothing but joy and abundant life. And I have learned that if I let go of my fears and put my trust in God, He does indeed provide abundantly, taking care of all my needs.
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I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has experienced such love and grace poured out from God through this parish family. As we think about our stewardship commitments this year, I share this piece of scripture:  “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8). May God and Incarnation always be a refuge for you.
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Faithfully,
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Susan Ridgeway
Stewardship Chair

Stewardship 2020

Read this letter from 2020 Stewardship Chair, Mona Antaramian.

Watch last year’s stewardship reflections:

What is stewardship?

Financial stewardship is a necessary part of a balanced spiritual life. Like any spiritual discipline, it is meant to knit us more closely to God, to turn our hearts, to change our lives, indeed to transform our very selves. When we pledge a portion of our income to the church, we are making a conscious choice about spending our money in ways that reflect our faith and values. Pledging is a matter of saying, “Yes Lord, I will do this.” Then it becomes a matter of following through. “Yes Lord, I do make this offering.” As each of us gives, we reap the benefits of generosity and faith. To put it simply, we grow closer to God.

From a practical standpoint, pledges are necessary for the church to prepare a budget. A pledge is not a moral or legal obligation. It is simply an estimate of giving; a statement of intent about how much money you plan to give to Incarnation over a specific calendar year. Receiving your pledge allows our Vestry to plan wisely for the use of our resources in support of the work God has called us to do. While open plate offerings and other sources of income are important to the parish, your pledge lets the Vestry plan more accurately for the ministry we can accomplish together.

When considering how much to pledge, it may be helpful to think of the many reasons people give:

  • I give because I am supposed to give. — a sense of duty
  • I give to pay my own way. — a sense of fairness
  • I give to return a portion of my blessings and express my love for God. — a sense of gratitude
  • I give to keep church ministries free and available to all. — a sense of generosity

Taken together, these visions of stewardship create a spectrum. There is no secret as to how you move along this progression. However, when you push yourself to another level, you will find your faithfulness expanding as well. No matter how big or small your pledge, please know that every pledge makes a difference – in the life of the giver and in the life of the church.

Make a Pledge for 2021

 



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