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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!
  • Check out our series of video montages. Hear what parishioners have to say about the ways Incarnation has been there for them this year.

Read the following letter from Jonathan Vaughan Senior Warden.

Dear Incarnation members,
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I am writing this on November 1st, 2020 at a time when the days are growing darker both literally and metaphorically. We cannot know what the next few weeks will bring. Will Covid retighten its grip on New York? Will we have a successful and uncontested election? Will an asteroid collide with the earth? Given the tumult and tragedy of 2020 so far, it is hard to believe that better times are coming. Yet at its core that is Christ’s message, that death and darkness are defeated by the love and light of Christ, that God’s power is unlimited, and God’s forgiveness and love for us is without measure. If we put our trust in God, then we know that we will not be forgotten or ignored, that each of us is a beloved child who will always be cared for, and that we in turn are called to care for our neighbors as ourselves.
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As we think about what that means, and consider how to respond to these troubling times, one of the most powerful tools we have is our ability to act. It is by taking positive action that we respond, both to the challenges of our time, and to the love God has shown for us. We cannot fight the pandemic or many of the other ills besetting the world today directly, but by taking action – observing social distancing, caring for our own and others’ health by wearing masks, voting in the election, and pledging to Incarnation – we can let belief and reason inform our actions and demonstrate the values that we hold dear.
By making a pledge to Incarnation, you not only affirm the value Incarnation has in your life, but also help provide the resources Incarnation needs in order to be a refuge and a channel of hope for our community. As we look to 2021, we can see that there are good reasons for hope. There has been extraordinary progress in vaccine trials, more people than ever have voted early and by mail, Covid treatments are steadily improving, and we are all learning how to work and worship remotely. As we work to preserve our Landmark building, enhance our online community, and prepare for an eventual return to in person worship, we give thanks to God for all the blessings of this life, and for all the new and marvelous things God is preparing for us.
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Yours Sincerely,
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Jonathan Vaughan
Senior Warden

Read the following 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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