Parish Letter September / October 2010

Dear Friends,
My sabbatical time in May, June, and August was wonderful. I completed several reviews
for a history journal and an op-ed piece that is going through the rounds, and I had time for some
other writing projects as well as for tennis, hiking, and swimming. A final piece of work was a
report to the Vestry called “Incarnation Plans;” copies are available in the parish house or I can
send you one via email.

In May, I spent a week in Santa Barbara visiting friends, and in August, I went to Paris for
a week. I was able to worship at the American Cathedral in Paris, where I was once Canon Pastor
and where I was pleased to be welcomed and remembered after thirty years.

As a gesture of thanks to the parish for giving me all this time, I would like to invite you to
a cocktail party at my home [209 Madison Avenue] on Tuesday, September 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. This
will also serve as a homecoming as we begin the new “school year” of ministry together. Call the
church number or email me and leave your name and a phone number to reserve for the party.

I suppose that all guest preachers should be “distinguished” in some way but the two who
will be occupying our pulpit this autumn fully deserve that description.

The Rev. Canon Keith Ward was the Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford until his
recent retirement. Occupants of this academic chair are appointed by the Queen of England
through the Prime Minister’s office; it is regarded as the highest post in the Anglican theological

Professor Ward will preach at 11 a.m. on Sunday, October 10. During the Coffee Hour, he
will speak at a Parish Forum on recent issues in science and religion—a topic on which he has
published many books and newspaper articles.

Also preaching this fall is another old friend of mine, the Rev. Carol Anderson, who
recently retired as rector of All Saints’ Church in Beverly Hills, California. Ms. Anderson was the
first woman priest ordained in the Diocese of New York and held positions at St. James’ and All
Angels’ churches in Manhattan before moving to California.

Appropriately, given the name of her last church, Carol Anderson will be our preacher at
11 o’clock on All Saints Sunday, November 7.

* * * * * *

Also preaching is Sandy Webb but as our recent seminarian he is hardly a “guest.” Sandy
will be ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Saturday, September
25, at 10:30 a.m.; all are invited to attend that majestic service. Then Sandy will celebrate his first
Eucharist at Incarnation at 11 a.m. and he will offer the sermon then as well.

At the Coffee Hour following, we will honor Sandy and hear of his first months of
ministry in Virginia.

The first letter describing this year’s Stewardship Program is enclosed. Please note that the
annual Parish Dinner will be on Friday, October 22, at 6:30 p.m.; All Saints / Commitment
Sunday is November 7; and all pledges should be in by November 15.

A recent gift from the estate of Lawrence “Larry” Murphy, a beloved member of our
church who died earlier this year, will be used for special music needs, including a memorial
within the next year.

Larry’s touching remembrance of Incarnation in his will reminds us that the future of our
ministry depends in part on special gifts beyond regular pledges.

Ann Churchill and I joined other members of the Incarnation Center Board of Directors
for a weekend in July on site in Ivoryton, Connecticut. Four different camps were in session
involving over 700 youngsters—a three-fold increase in campers from ten years ago. “Old style”
camp (no computers or cell-phones, lots of involvement with nature) seems to be back in demand.
An upcoming benefit featuring board member David Brooks will be held on October 20;
details are available at the back of our church or at the camp web site,

We are currently seeking someone to open, watch, and close the church for a few hours on
weekends as well as to help set-up the Sunday 5:00 p.m. Candlelight Communion. We are also
looking for someone who can help the Sacristan with church cleaning and maintenance for two,
six-hour days during the week. Please let me know if you have a prospective candidate for either
position, which might be combined.

Our trained tour guides highlight features of the church building and history on the first
Sunday of every month, following the eleven o’clock service. They are sometimes available at other
times; speak to the clergy if you would like a tour.

If you are knowledgeable about the latest social media programs—such as foursquare—
would you let me know? I think our parish can do more to connect with people in this way.

***Greta Witter graduated from the Hill School (Pottstown, Pa) in May and has just entered
Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va.

***Luke McDonald graduated from King’s College (in the Empire State Building) in May and is
now working in Virginia.

Congratulations to Greta and Luke!

Every year, our church honors St. Francis of Assisi and his great love for animals. On
Sunday, October 3, we will again pray for the welfare of animals, and we will bless pets that are
brought to us by parishioners and neighbors.

Animals will be blessed on the steps in front of the church from 4:00 until 5:00 p.m. Then
the 5:00 p.m. Candlelight Communion service will be devoted especially to remembering St.
Francis. Please tell your neighbors about both of these events. Treats will be available for man and

On July 28, Patricia “Dusty” Pierce died at the age of 86. A longtime member of our
parish, Dusty was mostly confined to her apartment in recent years. But she enjoyed seeing her
friends at Incarnation when she was able to get to church and she loved to hear news of our parish

Dusty will be remembered during the 12:15 p.m. Eucharist on Friday, October 15. Pictures
from her illustrious Broadway career are now on display in the Gill memorial cabinet.
At sometime during the month of August, Dorothy Thornton died in her apartment at
245 E. 35th Street. City officials and her godson are currently attempting to locate her surviving
relatives. Dorothy was a member of Incarnation but had not attended in some years. I have spoken
with the Medical Examiner’s Office in order to arrange for a funeral for Dorothy and her burial.
Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them. Amen.

***the Suffragan Bishop of Connecticut, the Rt. Rev. Lauren Ahrens, conducted a wedding at
Incarnation in September. Among those assisting was the Rev. Canon Marilyn McCord Adams,
who succeeded Keith Ward as Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford.
***the Very Rev. Donald McPhail preached at a wedding I conducted in September.
***Lord and Lady Blair, who were in New York for a benefit for St. Paul’s Cathedral Trust hosted
by friends of mine, attended the 11:00 a.m. service last Sunday. Lord Blair was formerly the
Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London.

***Cristy and Lance Eckel, upon the birth of their son, Nathan, and Dierdre and Hamish
Norton, on the birth of their son, Henry.

Candlelight Communion has resumed, Sundays at 5:00 p.m. We need ushers for this
worship service; if you would be willing to be an usher, even for a single occasion, please let
me know. Everyone should experience this contemplative worship service; the candlelight,
Gregorian chant, and intimate fellowship, all offer Communion with God and one

Adult Forum / Bible Study will meet Sunday, September 26, at 10:00 a.m. in the Parish
House Dining Room. Coffee and tea are provided. From now until Advent, we will be
discussing “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years,” by Diarmaid MacCulloch. This
bestselling history of the church was first produced as a televised series on the BBC that we
will view in half-hour segments and discuss. You need not own nor read the book in order
to participate, but copies are available for $36, twenty percent off the list price.

The Fall Term of Sunday School will also commence on September 26, during the 11:00
a.m. service. We are excited to continue with a second year of Godly Play, a Montessoribased
method of Biblical storytelling that encourages children to engage in creative
responses to the stories of the people of God. A Godly Play flyer is enclosed in this mailing
and can be passed along or posted where it might attract newcomers. Registration forms
can be found at the back of the church.

The Women’s Group will gather on Tuesday, September 21, at 7:00 p.m., in the Parish
House. The Rector will be our guest to lead us in a discussion of “Possible New Evidence
for Life after Death.” This topic, based on the recent study of a cardiologist as well as other
reading the Rector has done, was just discussed by the Men’s Group. All women are
welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served. The Women’s Group will meet again on
Tuesday, October 12.

Twenties and Thirties’ Drinks & Discussion will meet on Tuesday, September 28. Attend the
Rector’s cocktail party between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. Afterwards, we will migrate to a local
bar to discuss Park 51 (alternatively known as the “Ground Zero Mosque”). First post-party
drink—be it a Coke or a beer—is on the church. In October, Twenties and Thirties is
invited to brunch (dutch treat) following Professor Ward’s sermon and talk on the 10th,
and Drinks & Discussion will meet on Tuesday, October 19. RSVP for these events:
email Amanda.

The entire parish is invited to participate in another New York Cares day of service on
Saturday, October 23. New York Cares is the city’s leading volunteer organization; their
October day of service is aimed at revitalizing New York City public schools. I expect to
receive our site assignment any day now; please contact me to register for this event.

Finally, this is our fourth year of a five-year commitment to the Carpenter’s Kids program, an
outreach effort of the Episcopal Diocese of New York in partnership with the Anglican
Diocese of Central Tanganyika. Our parish contributes $2,500 to pay for the educational
and living expenses of the 50 kids we sponsor in our link parish of Mpalanga. Checks for
$50 can be made payable to the “Church of the Incarnation;” memo: “Carpenter’s Kids,”
and mailed to 209 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016, or placed in the offering
plates on a Sunday. Thank you for your continued support of this program.
–the Rev. Amanda Kucik

* * * * * *

Our web site, is undergoing extensive revisions in order
to make it more attractive, accessible and informative. Jonathan Vaughan and his committee have
worked very hard with web designers and consultants and you should be able to view the results
soon after this letter is published. Thanks also to Ronald Bradford for many hours of volunteer
photographic help.

With Labor Day behind us, along with memories of the past summer, fall always seems to
bring a renewed sense of energy. But perhaps I speak for myself. As a musician and teacher
who functions largely on an academic calendar, I must admit that I don’t always look
forward to the end of summer. But I love fall, and all that goes with it. At Incarnation, it
means getting things organized for the choir season, looking ahead to Advent and
Christmas, and even thinking about Lent and Easter – all musical aspects of this job that I
enjoy and find challenging.

The choir returned for the Sunday morning services on Sunday, September 19. As I look
ahead at the calendar, I would like to mention a few dates of interest:
+++Sunday, October 3: Music for St. Francis Day, with music of Poulenc
+++Sunday, November 7: All Saints’ Sunday, with music of Fauré
+++Sunday, December 19 at 5:00 p.m.: Service of Lessons and Carols with
chamber orchestra

And this Christmas season, St. George’s Choral Society will present a Holiday Concert at
Incarnation on Sunday afternoon, December 5 at 3:00 p.m., with harp and organ.
Featured works are the Saint-Saëns Oratorio de Noël and Three Nativity Carols by Stephen
Paulus. Also on the program is the NY premiere of Magnificat by Nancy Galbraith.
Galbraith is a “post-modern, minimalist” composer, and her pieces have gained
international attention. This work is a thrilling setting of the traditional Latin text, scored
for large chorus and organ.

Wishing you all a refreshing and invigorating fall season,
–Dr. Matthew Lewis

***Brian Lamb and Andy Roberts, for their much-praised work on the church garden this
***Ann Churchill for filling in for our regular bookkeeper, Mannal Atwa, while Mannal was on
maternity leave.
***Susan Adams and Gloria Panico for performing the thankless task of organizing the books in
my office.
*** Vacation Bible School volunteers including: Joelle Anderson, Chuck Beardsley, Barbara
Clark, Melissa Gordon, Linda Gossett, Karen Kucik, Mark Lulka, Madeleine Pron, Robert
Witter, and Brittany Zaino.

The 68th annual Church of the Incarnation Christmas Fair will take place on Friday and
Saturday, December 3 and 4, 2010. The Fair offers Christmas decorations, gifts, books,
recordings, all kinds of handmade/homemade items, and the very important Silent

It’s not too early to start thinking about the Auction. Do you have a house at the
shore/lake/mountain that you could offer for a weekend or longer? A ticket for a sporting
event or concert that you’d be willing to donate? A piece of jewelry or silver that you no
longer want? Bottles of wine or spirits? Could you offer lessons – given by you or a pro in
golf or tennis, or bridge? Or the opportunity to play for an afternoon on a course or court?
Could you cater a small dinner party at someone’s apartment in Manhattan? Are you a
computer whiz who could teach a new user about Power Point or Excel or the ins and outs
of the Internet? And–equally important–could you ask a restaurant or a shop that you
know well for a gift certificate or merchandise? Any of these donations would be very

Donation forms will be available at coffee hour and from the parish office. One word of
caution: please speak with us before you approach anyone outside the parish – obviously we
don’t want more than one volunteer targeting a prospective donor! If you have any
questions or suggestions, please email or call Janet Loengard (; 908-
766-1412). Many thanks!

The next meeting of the Men’s Group will be held on Monday, October 4, from 7:00 to
8:30 p.m. We will discuss the Pope’s controversial visit to the United Kingdom and the current
relations between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.

Looking ahead, on Tuesday, November 2, we will hold our bi-annual election eve party. All
men of the parish and their friends are welcome to attend any of our meetings. Free refreshments
are provided.

***Friday, October 22: 6:30 p.m. Annual Parish Dinner.
***Wednesday, November 24: 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. Preparation and distribution of
Thanksgiving dinners for homebound elderly in Murray Hill, in conjunction with the H.O.N.E.Y.

* * * * * *

I would like to conclude with the closing words of my September 5 sermon:
“Perhaps the greatest gift of this sabbatical has been a renewed appreciation of how blessed
I am to have the work that I have. Not only do I have a salary and a roof over my head, but I have
exceptionally talented colleagues and lay leaders to work with, and an incomparable place to work
in, and an extraordinary congregation to serve.

“So, while I share the tinge of sadness most of us feel as summer draws to a close, I look
forward again to God’s call to once again ‘labor on.’ My hope and prayer is that you, too, will share
my enthusiasm and that you will join me in giving thanks to God for the work God is calling us to
do in our individual lives and in this parish.”

The Rev. J. Douglas Ousley
212 689-6350

Stewardship Letter
Godly Play flyer