Before we discuss our plans for Lent, I want to thank everyone who helped with the Christmas services. Attendance at the Lessons and Carols and Christmas Eve services was excellent and the crowd at the Christmas party was remarkable. The church was also full for the St. George’s Choral Society concert conducted by Dr. Lewis just before Christmas.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
***Uche Akwuba, Master of Ceremonies, Gemma Just, Altar Guild chairperson, and all the chalice bearers, readers, acolytes and ushers who helped with the Christmas services.
***The Women’s, Men’s, and 20’s/30’s Groups for decorating the church, and to everyone who gave so generously for the Christmas decorations and music and for the Christmas Fund.
***Everyone who contributed food to the Christmas Party and who helped with the set-up and cleanup.
***Ronald Bradford, for obtaining the new postcards featuring his photography.
***Mark Lulka and Robert Witter, for helping shovel snow during the holiday storm.
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You will see below the Associate Rector’s notice of our Shrove Tuesday supper, which will be held on March 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in the Assembly Hall. We have changed the time and format a bit and are calling the event a Mardi Gras Party: Pancakes Plus! The cost however remains the same: $10 for adults and $5 for children. No reservations are required and, of course, your friends and neighbors are welcome.
Ash Wednesday brings more visitors into our church than any other day of the year. The clergy will be in the Church to offer ashes throughout the day, March 9.
We will also have celebrations of the Eucharist at 8:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.; there will be hymns and other music during the 12:15 service.
As is customary on the Sundays during Lent, there will be discussions after the Coffee Hour accompanied by delicious homemade soups provided by volunteers and paid for by free-will offerings.
This year, I have chosen the theme, “Coping.” Amanda and I will be in charge of four of the discussions; one session will be led by the Rt. Rev. Herbert Donovan who is visiting us for confirmation on April 10. Here is the complete schedule:
Sunday, March 13: “The Minor Hassles of Everyday Life”—led by the Rector
Sunday, March 20: “Grief and Loss”—led by the Associate Rector
Sunday, March 27: “Loneliness”—led by the Rector
Sunday, April 3: “Suffering of Others”—led by the Associate Rector
Sunday, April 10: Led by Bishop Herbert Donovan; subject TBA.
All lectures run from 12:30 to 1:30; no reservations are required.
FROM THE ASSOCIATE RECTOR:
Volunteers needed: please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-689-6350) or the Rector if you are interested in helping (set up, decorate, flip pancakes, clean up) with the Mardi Gras Party: Pancakes Plus! scheduled for Tuesday, March 8, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
The Women’s Group will meet on Tuesday, March 22, at 7:00 pm in the Parish House. A simple supper will be served, and we will discuss issues of poverty with a Lenten Study, “Where there is Despair, Hope,” issued by the Diocese of Southern Ohio. All women are welcome to attend. Also, please mark your calendars: Women’s Holy Saturday Retreat, April 23, at 4:00 pm in the church. This gathering is intended to reflect the witness of the women disciples who kept vigil outside of Christ’s tomb as they waited to anoint his body for burial. More details will be announced in upcoming Sunday leaflets and the next newsletter.
The next Drinks & Discussion for the Twenties and Thirties is scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, at 7:30 pm. Meet at the Parish House and we will walk to a local bar to discuss the consequences of the “explosion of Internet Pornography,” as reported in the January 30th New York Magazine. As always, the first drink—be it a Coke or a beer—is on the church. April 2 at 6:30 pm, we are invited to compete in a 20s/30s Trivia Night at Saint James’ Church (Madison Avenue and 71 Street). Those of us who participated last year had a great time…but we lost; come help us win. It is for a good cause; all the money raised will go towards replacing a roof for a school in Haiti. The cost is $25 per person and includes dinner. It is a BYO event; I will provide drinks for our “contestants.” RSVP: email@example.com.
Saturday, April 2 is also a chance for any and all to participate in our Benedictine Work Day. This Lenten retreat day (10:00 am – 3:00 pm) follows the rule of life established by St. Benedict, “Ora et Labora” (Pray and Work). Along with manageable projects to beautify our historic landmark buildings chosen by the Building Committee, the day includes time spent in reflection and prayer and concludes with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Morning coffee is provided. Please bring a bagged lunch.
Another opportunity for service: Saturday, April 16, we will participate in a New York Cares’ day of service. During “Hands On New York” Day, volunteers will make New York City’s parks and gardens cleaner, greener, and ready for summer recreation. Email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information and instructions to register online.
–the Rev. Amanda Kucik
MORNING PRAYER AND COFFEE
Last Lent, Amanda and I began to offer Morning Prayer in the Chapel of the Nativity on each Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. This proved so popular that we continued the service after Easter. Those wishing a special devotion for Lent are welcome to join us; coffee and pastry follow a twenty-minute prayer service and everyone is on the way to work before 9:00 a.m. Enter by the side door at 25 East 35th Street.
NEW PARISH LEADERS
At the Annual Meeting on January 9, Mark Lulka was re-elected to another term as Junior Warden; John Chadwick, Stephen Ju, and John Ubieta won three-year terms as Vestry Members. Their biographies follow.
Junior Warden Mark Lulka has attended Incarnation since 2000, and been a member of the Vestry since 2002. He serves as an Usher and has taught Sunday school, and served on the building committee. Mark grew up on Long Island and graduated from the Cathedral School of Saint Paul (Garden City), and Columbia College, NY. He served 22 years with the US Air Force as a navigator, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2009. He currently manages projects for the US Army Corps of Engineers, including the deepening of cargo ship channels in New York Harbor, and the ecological restoration of degraded coastline, wetlands and marshes in Jamaica Bay. He, his wife Julie (an attorney) and son William (kindergarten) live in Murray Hill.
New Vestry member John B. Chadwick, Jr. is a native of Oklahoma City. John is the proprietor of his own firm, Interiors by John Chadwick, which specializes in the design of high-end residential properties as well as public spaces in commercial and residential buildings in the tri-state area. He has been a member of the Church of the Incarnation for eight years. John resides in Murray Hill and is an officer of the Board of Directors of The Seven Park Avenue Corporation. He is also the Chairman of The Patrons of Park Avenue, the governing board for the Park Avenue Malls which raises all of the funding for the planting and maintenance of those malls.
John Ubieta graduated in 1993 with a B.A. degree in Film Production and Art History. John has a passion for history, reading and watching spy thrillers. Has an interest in world affairs and intelligence-related matters.
Stephen Ju’s bio will appear in the next newsletter.
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Congratulations also to Charles Beardsley and Robert Torretti, who were selected to be delegates to the Diocesan Convention, and Susan Ridgeway, who was chosen to be an alternate delegate.
Former member Gladys Newbery died on February 15 at the age of 92. A long-time member of Incarnation and Murray Hill resident, Gladys moved to a seniors residence in New Jersey a number of years ago. She maintained her connections to our parish, however, and was an avid reader of the newsletter. She also kept in touch through Julie Nash and Ted Harrison. She was always encouraging to me, personally, and she remained cheerful despite very painful suffering in her last years.
Rest eternal grant to her, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon her. Amen.
NEWS OF FORMER PARISHIONERS:
***Jackie Johann has bought a house in Grosse Pointe, Michigan in order to be near her three grandchildren.
***Sharon Cardwell called to wish me Merry Christmas. She is still in a nursing home near her mother’s home in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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I should also note that my son, Andrew Ousley, is now a former, former member. His Australian employer failed to obtain a long-term work visa for him, so he was forced to leave Sydney just before Christmas. Fortunately, his prior employer, EMI Classical Records gave him a new position and he is settling into New York life.
On Monday, March 7, the Men’s Group will meet from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. I will begin a discussion on the topic, “The Church of England v. the Episcopal Church: What are the differences? Which church is doing better?” Refreshments will be served.
On Monday, April 4, we will meet for a discussion of a topic to be announced. Then On Monday, May 2, we will celebrate Easter with our first ever Beer Seminar, led by an expert who is one of our members.
FROM THE DIRECTOR OF MUSIC:
After a wonderful Christmas season behind us, we are looking forward to music for warmer weather!
Our Service of Lessons and Carols was a great success: our choir sang beautifully and we had an exceptional group of string players for Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. Also on the program was Quem pastores laudavere, a piece by James Bassi, who is one of our choir members. Dennis Keene and Voices of Ascension commissioned it. Published by Oxford University Press, it was recorded by the St. Thomas Choir on their Christmas album a few years ago. Among noted guests who attended this service was American composer David Del Tredici, who had many nice things to say about our music program. So, it was a great Christmas season at Incarnation!
At the annual meeting in January, I discussed the need to replace the keyboards on the organ. When we did the console renovation a number of years ago, we replaced the pedal board, but the keyboards are still from the original Aeolian-Skinner organ. The keyboards are considerably worn after years of normal wear and tear, and are badly in need of replacement. This is a project that has been on our radar for some time. I’ll keep you informed as we decide how to proceed.
I’m sure many of you have visited the church’s spiffy new website. I hope you’ve listened to our choir while you’re there! They are truly one of our assets, and I’m proud to make music with them here every week. In the following Newsletter I will send details of Holy Week and Easter music.
–Dr. Matthew Lewis
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The website will also give you many of the sermons preached at Incarnation as well as my blog, which discusses political and social issues in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion.
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If you are looking for Lenten reading, and you have never read the fine history of Incarnation that the Vestry commissioned for our 150th anniversary in 2002, you can obtain a copy from the Parish Office. Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook’s By Grace Came Incarnation is available for a donation of $10, which will benefit the Building Fund.
INCARNATION IN THE ART WORLD:
***Some of you may remember mention in a previous Parish Letter of the visit last year of a group of European stained glass restorers. The visit was part of a conference organized by conservators from the Metropolitan Museum of Art who have often drawn attention to the extraordinary value of our windows. A number of scholarly papers were prepared for the conference and I was recently sent a copy of a splendid book of these papers entitled, The Art of Collaboration: Stained-Glass Conservation in the Twenty-first Century. Our church is given credit in the acknowledgments and some of our windows are mentioned in the text of the book.
Now is the time to think about enrolling your youngsters, nieces and nephews or grandchildren in the Incarnation Summer Camp program. Situated on 700 acres with its own spring-fed private lake, Incarnation has been providing the classic summer camp experience for diocesan young people since 1886. It is the oldest church camp in America and one of the largest.
Our church is the founding parish, and our Vestry constitutes the Incorporators of Incarnation Center, the umbrella organization for the children’s camp, a day camp, seniors and adult programs and facilities and a nature center.
The main incarnation center web site is www.incarnationcenter.org. From there, you can find the appropriate summer program. Scholarships are available for children from sponsoring parishes and also from our parish. Early signup is recommended because the most popular sessions fill quickly.
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Every Lent, I remind members of Incarnation of the duty of every Christian to make plans for our eventual passing from this world. These plans should include filling out a healthcare proxy and a living will so that your designated relative or friend can make medical decisions for you if necessary. Also be sure that you have an up-to-date will for your material estate. Your will and other last wishes should be kept in a location outside of your apartment and accessible to your heirs.
Every year, we also remember with gratitude those who have recently made bequests to Incarnation. This year, Legacy Sunday will be March 20.
Since December, our church has been using the Revised Common Lectionary, which sets the lessons for all Episcopal services. You will notice some differences from the former lectionary that appears in the Book of Common Prayer such as a wider choice of lessons and more readings on topics of contemporary interest such as women in the Bible.
The most noticeable difference, however, is the length of the lessons that must be read. I would not disagree strongly with those who find that the new readings challenge the average attention span, including my own. But I guess getting more of the Bible in Church isn’t the worst change we could suffer in our worship.
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Please let the clergy know if at any time you have a problem hearing the service; we often need to adjust or fix the sound system. Headphones are also available for the hard-of-hearing.
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This year also marks the 400th Anniversary of the completion of the King James Version of the Bible. When I was in London, I greeted the Lord Mayor of the City of London at a special celebration to mark the date. Some of our readers choose this translation and we often use it for such services as Lessons and Carols.
During my London stay, I also discussed with the wardens of St. Vedast the possibility of a parishioner group exchange. If tickets could be found for cheap long-weekend flights (leaving NYC on Wednesday night, for example, and returning from London on the following Monday), a group of Incarnation members could be hosted by members of St. Vedast.
Weekend events would of course include worship at our link parish and tours of the neighborhood around St. Vedast as well as free time to enjoy London. Costs would be minimal beyond the airfare and Incarnation members would return the hospitality by putting up members of St. Vedast arriving on a subsequent weekend. Please let me know if you think you would be interested. Fr. Alan McCormack and I would like to arrange these trips for this autumn.
Meanwhile, I have been reporting on my own trip in sermons and will continue to share details with you on future occasions. I had a wonderful time and am very grateful to the Wardens, staff, and parishioners of St. Vedast-alias-Foster, as well as to the members of Fr. McCormack’s other parish, St. Botolph’s-Bishopsgate.
The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley