Parish Newsletter

December 2018 – January 2019

Dear Friends,
As the holidays approach, the enclosed flyer lists our principal services of the season. You may also want to post the flyer in your building or pass it along to a friend. Please tell friends who have children about the Pageant and the Family Service. You might also let them know that the church Nursery is open every Sunday of the year, staffed by a professional attendant, and that the Sunday School always welcomes drop-ins and visitors.
It often happens that people randomly attend a Christmas worship service and find themselves beginning an unexpected spiritual journey. Even if you yourself plan to be out of town, let your non-churchgoing neighbors know about the services at Incarnation. One day, they may be grateful that you thought of them.
Lessons and Carols on December 9 at 5 PM is one of our most popular services of the year—featuring traditional carols sung by both choir and congregation. The music also features stringed instruments. There is a party in the Assembly Hall following the Lessons and Carols. Invite your friends and neighbors to that event as well, and of course be sure to attend yourself!
Special music is also featured at the “Midnight Mass” on Christmas Eve, which actually begins at 10 PM, with a musical prelude at 9:30 PM, to make transport easier. (By the way, the service doesn’t last until midnight—you’ll be out by 11:15 PM.)
The Eucharist at eleven o’clock on Christmas Day features a Visit to the Crèche for the children present. We are also happy to offer a Children’s Eucharist on Christmas Eve at 5 PM. This brief, informal service will include a children’s homily, a simple Eucharistic prayer, and a few favorite Christmas hymns. We hope families will join us for one or both of these services.
Many people like to make gifts for Christmas decorations and/or music in memory of a loved one or in thanksgiving. Please mail your donations to the Church Office by December 16th, along with any names you would like to be listed in the Christmas leaflets. The funds for the decorations and the supplemental choral and instrumental music are provided by this appeal.
Another holiday custom at Incarnation is the Christmas Fund. The Fund helps people within the Incarnation parish family who have financial needs; grants from the Fund are made in confidence through the Rector’s Discretionary Fund.
You can use the enclosed form and return envelope to make gifts to Christmas decorations, Christmas music, and the Christmas Fund. You can also request offering envelopes if you have not pledged yet; those who pledge receive envelopes automatically.
Mission and Outreach
Operation Santa returns! Each year during the Christmas season, parishioners are invited to select a letter written to “Santa” by a child in need and purchase gifts for that child. This year we are shopping for homeless children currently housed at the New York Manhattan Hotel located near the church at 6 West 32nd Street.
Letters are currently available in the Parish House. You can pick one up on Sunday, December 9, at Coffee Hour or that evening at the Parish Christmas Party following Lessons and Carols. Or contact me if you would like to arrange to pick up a letter during the week; I can also send you one by email.
You are welcome to let the church wrap the presents you purchase. Just bring them by the Parish House in time for our wrapping party on Monday, December 17, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. All are invited to help wrap presents, and children of any age can make Christmas cards.
20s/30s Group
The 20s/30s Group will come together with other Episcopal young adult groups in Manhattan on Saturday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m. for a St. Nicholas Party at St. Thomas Church (5th Avenue at 53rd Street). The event will feature live jazz and a buffet dinner. Charitable donations will be accepted at the door. RSVPs are required, and there will be a guest list. Please let me know if you can come!
Women’s Group
The Women’s Group continues an annual tradition of taking in a show by the Fellowship of the Performing Arts, whose mission is to produce theater from a Christian worldview. This year we are seeing an adaptation of The Screwtape Lettersby C.S. Lewis on Tuesday, December 18, at 7:00 p.m. at the Acorn Theatre (410 W. 42nd Street). While the normal ticket price is $75, I have a limited number of tickets available for $37 each. Please let me know if you would like to purchase a ticket.
Children and Families
Children of all ages are invited to participate in a short Christmas Pageant during the 11:00 a.m. service on Sunday, December 16. Teens are invited to help as stage managers. There will be one rehearsal from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 15 in the church. Please let me know if your child would like to participate so that we can have enough costumes and parts for all. I will also give you a Pageant hymn booklet.
Following the Pageant, we will have special Coffee Hour treats and hot chocolate for all Pageant participants and helpers! Children will also make Christmas cards for Operation Santa – a great hands-on mission opportunity for kids.
The Youth Group will meet on December 16, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., in the Parish House. Dinner will be served.
—The Rev. Adrian Dannhauser
Levente Medveczky is still recovering from cancer surgery. David Ralph, who has frequently been a guest organist at Incarnation, will now serve as Interim Director of Music, at least until the end of February, 2019.
Lance Eckel has been elected by the Vestry to be the new Parish Treasurer. David Wardrop will take his place as Assistant Treasurer.
Incarnation Camp Chaplain the Rev. Dana Stivers was ordained priest on November 17, in Westbrook, CT, by the Bishop of Connecticut. Mark Lulka and I were able to attend to represent our parish.
Our Honorary Associate, the Rev. Canon George Brandt has returned to full-time ministry. He is now serving as Interim Priest at St. Mark’s Church in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. We thank him for his service to Incarnation over the past few years and wish him well in his new position.
***Monica Culoso, and all those who helped with the Homecoming Bagel Brunch.
***Our many office volunteers: Ginny Bubaris, Cynthia Drayton, Edward Gaweda, Mihail Georgescu, Rodica Georgescu, Thomas Grischkowsky, Glenn Reinhardt, and Chris Sortino. We owe them all a debt of gratitude. They offer a warm welcome to visitors and callers, and they perform many tasks necessary for the smooth functioning of our parish.
***Julie Noll and her team of volunteers for organizing the fine Annual Parish Luncheon.
***All who volunteered for our October Senior Resource Day.
***All who participated in our November service project for Moravian Open Door, including the Sunday School children who made homemade granola bars.
***Julianna Katrancha for her talk in our series, “Christianity in the Workplace”
***Alex Nelson and John Chadwick for their help in completing the complicated project of repairing and restoring stonework on the façade of the church this summer and fall. It is truly a blessing to have the scaffold removed. Thanks also to all the donors to this project; nearly $15,000 was raised in sponsoring the Associate Rector’s participation in the New York Marathon. (26.2 miles in 5 ½ hours—amazing!)
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Some of you have asked about the sidewalk bridge in front of our Parish House. That was erected years ago by our neighboring building, Morgan Court. This work, which has been much delayed, seems finally to be beginning; it is supposed to be completed in eight months. In the meantime, there is nothing we can do about the sidewalk shed.
The Annual Meeting of the Parish will be held on Sunday, January 13, 2019, at 12:30 PM, in the Assembly Hall. Leaders of parish organizations are reminded that annual reports of their activities during 2018 should be mailed or emailed to me; the reports will be printed and distributed to those who attend the Annual Meeting. The meeting is open to everyone; if you are 18 years of age or older, a member of the parish, and a recorded contributor, you are also entitled to vote.
If you haven’t yet made a commitment, please join with those who have. You can fill out the Commitment Card in the pews and either put it in the collection plate or mail it to the church, attention: The Rector. You may also submit your pledge online through the church website or by emailing me at
The next meeting of the Incarnation Book Club will be on Monday, January 7, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. We are reading Tana French’s Faithful Place.
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I would be interested in any comments you might have on the Incarnation Book Challenge. We will be discussing The Purpose Driven Life on Sunday, February 3 after the Coffee Hour.
We normally hold a class in the winter or spring for those who are interested in the Episcopal Church’s understanding of the Christian faith. The six sessions prepare for church membership those who are from Protestant denominations, people with no religious background who wish to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church, Roman Catholics who wish to be received into our Church, and Episcopalians who wish to renew their baptismal commitment as adolescents or as adults. Some people who just want to learn more about the Episcopal Church also attend, and long-term members of Incarnation come for a refresher course on the Bible, church history, theology, liturgy, ethics, and prayer in the Anglican tradition.
Classes this year begin on Wednesday, February 20. They are held in the Parish House from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. Confirmation will be on Sunday, March 31, at 11 AM. Our visiting bishop this year will be the Rt. Rev. Andrew M. L. Dietsche, the Bishop of New York.
Please let me know if you think you would like to be part of this class or if you have any questions about it.
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Looking further ahead, we are planning a parish trip to our sister congregation of St. Vedast in the City of London. This will take place May 10-12, on Mother’s Day weekend. Mark the date in your calendar if you think you might like to attend; some accommodations will be available in London in the homes of St. Vedast parishioners.
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On behalf of the Wardens, Vestry, and Staff, I want to thank you for your generous support, and I wish you a joyous Christmas and a rewarding and hopeful New Year.
The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley

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