Lifetimes: December 2018

Christmas Eve Worship: Monday, December 24

1:00 & 3:00 p.m. The theme will be “Christmas Tails”. These services are designed with young children in mind and will include a petting zoo and a retelling of the Christmas story from  the animals’ perspective, with Scripture readings and Christmas Carols. These services will last about 40 minutes.

5:00 p.m. Candles and Christmas lights illuminate the worship space and set the tone for the story of Jesus’ birth. The music will be traditional Christmas Carols led by the Worship Band. Pastor Chris Smith will preach at this hour long service and Communion will be served. This service is the only service with the nursery available. It is also the largest service so you’ll want to come early to avoid sitting in the Atrium.

7:00 p.m. This hour long service has the same content as the 5:00 p.m. service and is a great choice if you like this style of worship but want to avoid the crowds. Even though there isn’t nursery available, there is enough happening in worship to engage young children and special resources available to engage little ones during the service if needed.

9:00 & 11:00 p.m. Candles and Christmas lights create a beautiful setting in the Sanctuary during these worship services. The music will be traditional Christmas Carols led by the organ and special music provided by the choirs. Pastor Chris Smith will preach at these hour long services and Communion will be served.

Christmas Day Worship: Tuesday, December 25

10:00 a.m. Lessons and Carols with Communion. This service is held in the Sanctuary. This service tells the larger story of God’s love for all people and the gift of our Savior Jesus through Scripture readings, Christmas Carols, and Holy Communion. Though the nursery is not available during this service, special resources are available to engage young children during the service if needed.

From the Staff

Becky Benson, Director of Serve and Inviting Ministries

I remember distinctly the Christmas following my mother’s death. I had little interest in decorating, gift-buying, and general “Christmasing”. It was the first time I realized how difficult Christmas and the entire year of firsts can be after a big, sad event. Our daughters, Natalie and Audrey were little girls at the time, so of course (thanks, in part to my sister’s pep talk) I pulled it together (sort of), and in the end, our family did have a nice celebration. However, it was doubly challenging since “doing Christmas” for her family, was one of my mom’s greatest joys.

Since then, I’ve been more aware of the ebb and flow of emotions that often comes with various times of the year – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Holy Week, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries – for those who’ve experienced loss. The death of a beloved family member or friend, marriages that have ended or are in trouble, illnesses, job losses, and a host of other difficult life interruptions can make celebrating less than fun or actually painful.

So, what do you do to care for yourself and your tender heart during these challenging times? While I’m no expert, I’ve found the below actions to be helpful when entering what should be a celebratory season while also grieving loss or change:

  • Spend some quiet time with God; for me, this is super important. Whether it’s early in the morning, midday or evening (remember Advent worship, too), being still and spending quiet time with God can breathe some peace and hope into your being.
  • As Pastor Jeanne urged in her sermon recently, lighten up on expectations of yourself and others, whether it be in how you gift, entertain, attend gatherings, or whatever. Simply be ok with doing less.
  • Do it up differently. Even a change of scenery can make things feel a little easier. Gather at someone else’s house. Go out for a meal. Be in service to someone else who is struggling.
  • Talk to a trusted friend or family member or a professional listener, about how things are feeling hard this season. Family and friends might not realize our losses are still affecting us and those closest to us will likely want to provide support. Likewise, those who are trained professional listeners often provide invaluable support during these darker seasons.

A wise friend of mine said to me recently that while Advent is the season of waiting and sometimes we’re often waiting for something unpleasant to pass, he tries hard not to focus too hard on waiting and the future. He instead tries to live fully present, taking stock in the blessings of the day, right now and give God thanks for those daily blessings. This was sort of a new twist on Advent for me, but something I, too, am working to put into practice more deliberately this season.

Voices for Unity and Peace

Chris Smith, Interim Senior Pastor

For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us; authority rests upon
his shoulders; and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

I began writing this on the day when the first funerals were taking place in Pittsburgh in the aftermath of the tragic shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue. I do not know what further violence will take place between the composing of these words and the time you read them. I pray there is none. Honestly, though, I’m not counting on it. From my first typing of these words till your reading of them will be about 40 days. A look back shows me that there have not been 40 continuous days in 2018 when some act of terrible violence in our nation didn’t make the news. We are living in a time of great division and terrible violence. As I listen to reactions, I hear people asking questions. “What is going on? Who will lead us out of this? What can we do?” Read more.

An Update from the Call Committee

Peace and blessings to you.

A big thank you to all of those that participated in the town hall meeting or in one of the small group discussions providing some very rich conversations around the new senior pastor position. The call committee has taken all of the feedback and incorporated it into themes and needs as we form our approach in interviewing candidates. Speaking of interviews, we plan to be interviewing over the next couple of months. However, with the holidays, understandably our candidates will likely be pretty busy!

Again we thank you for your faithful contributions and prayerful support as we all journey forward. God’s peace and happy holidays.

Prayerfully submitted on behalf of the Call Committee,
Dave Katzke

Members of the Call Committee: Amy Johnson, Anne Cremons, Brenda Roloff, Dave Katzke, Emily Schwieters, George Aram, Heather Trettel, Jim Fruehling, and Mike Styba.

Gathering Financial Commitments for 2019

Janet Karvonen-Montgomery, Pastor for Wellness and Generosity

The Share the Grace stewardship campaign is underway! During worship on Commitment Sunday, November 11, those in worship submitted financial commitment toward the 2019 operating budget and ongoing mortgage expenses.

For those unable to be in worship, the green bags of the Neighborhood Route system are circulating in neighborhoods in order to gather financial commitments. For others residing outside of the immediate church area, stewardship materials have been mailed.

Please prayerfully consider increasing your generosity to the mission of feeding the hungry in heart, body, mind, and spirit. As the leadership of Incarnation makes decisions and plans for ministry together in the coming year, every gift matters. Thank you for participating in Share the Grace!

2018 Solid Ground Coat Drive Success

by Claire Gilbert, co-chair of the Solid Ground Coat Drive

This year’s Coat Drive for Solid Ground was a resounding success and we are pleased to say that more than 100 residents are now outfitted for the approaching cold weather. During the months of September and October our congregation generously donated over 750 items including coats for people of all ages and sizes, snow pants, hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, and boots. On Mondays the faithful volunteers would show up hoping for an overflowing donation box and Incarnation’s amazing congregation never disappointed. A special thanks to the volunteer crew who gave many hours of sorting, labeling, storing and distributing the collected items.

On October 15 we loaded up six cars with bags and bags of outerwear. We arrived at Solid Ground and set up with an hour to spare. The families arrived for their 15 minute appointments with several families “shopping” at the same time. It was touching to witness the reunion of a resident with an Incarnation member who had helped her obtain her GED, then they worked together to outfit her family with warm clothes. Volunteers were holding babies while families shopped. One mom, with the help of her younger sons, found outerwear for the family, including boots for her! Her beautiful, warm smile made my day. Another mom found a lovely wool coat that she said will be so nice to wear to her new job. There are many stories like these and each one touched hearts.

Thank you so very much and thank you for future efforts. Know that the coats you save, buy, donate and help process are sorely needed and appreciated. This is an annual event that is not only a good thing to do but a necessary thing for Solid Ground. They count on us and we will continue to come through every fall. I am so proud to be part of this loving, giving church.

2019 Preschool Registration

Registration packets for 2019-20 school year will be available for pick up at the Preschool or Incarnation Office by mid-December. Forms may also be downloaded here. Forms will be date stamped when received and held for processing following the registration timeline below. Call Kirsten Barie at 651-766-0723 for more information, to schedule a tour or to have a packet mailed to you.

Thursday, January 3 – Thursday, January 17
Open enrollment period for currently enrolled children. Confirmation of placement will be sent home in school bag.

Friday, January 18
Processing begins for forms received from returning/previously enrolled families and NEW children from Incarnation families.

 Tuesday, January 22
Processing begins for enrollment forms received from NEW families for both age groups.

Forms and fee submitted by the above dates will be processed in the order received. Forms/fees may be submitted early but will be held for processing on the appropriate date. Confirmation of enrollment status will be mailed within two days of processing.

Worship Arts: Advent Banners

The banners hanging in the Sanctuary and Incarnation Hall are interpretations of candles in an Advent wreath. Candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His son. The first candle represents the Hope we have in Christ, the second is a reminder that Christ came to bring Peace, the third candle represents the Joy of Christ’s coming, and the fourth candle represents God’s Love through Christ.

The four candles are also known as the Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherd, and Angel candles. The Prophecy candle opens up the period of waiting and recalls the prophets: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). The Bethlehem candle represents the manger: “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12). The Shepherd candle represents the shepherds who received the message of joy from the angel: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10), and the Angel candle represents God’s messenger who announced the birth of Jesus.

The colors of Advent candles vary with different traditions among churches. Incarnation uses white candles in its wreaths. Other churches use three purple or blue candles with one candle being rose, to represent joy. Some wreaths have a large white candle placed in the center. It is called the Christ candle and is lit on Christmas Eve. The color white represents purity.

The banner in the Sanctuary has three purple candles, a rose candle and a white Christ candle. Purple historically was the primary color of Advent; purple symbolizes royalty and preparation for the King. The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday (from the Latin meaning rejoice) from Philippians 4:4: “Gaudete in Domino semper, Rejoice in the Lord always.” It marks a shift from the more solemn tone of the first two Sundays of Advent that focus on preparation to a more joyous atmosphere of anticipation. The candle for that Sunday is rose, a liturgical color that signifies joy. The banner in Incarnation Hall features four candles. Three candles are blue; the third candle is rose. Blue is the liturgical color of the season of Advent and signifies hope. It is the color of the background panel of both the sanctuary banner and the banner in Incarnation Hall.

Among the Congregation

Hospitalized: Dave Bahr; Joe Doncits

Sympathy to: Lance Redlinger and family on the death of his mother; the family of Douglas Madison on his death; the family and friends of Wilma Jorgenson on her death; Sharon Johnson and family on the death of her mother.

Recently Baptized: Joseph Sherlock, son of Kara and Michael Helm.


2018 Contribution Deadline
Checks and cash that are placed in the offering plates or delivered to the Incarnation Office on or before Monday, December 31, will be credited to your 2018 giving statement and may be claimed as a charitable contribution deduction for 2018. Online gifts are subject to business hours processing and must be processed before December 31 and rarely happen the same day. Mailed gifts must be postmarked on or before December 31. Thank you for your support!

Amy Faymoville, Financial & Small Group Secretary

Stock Gifts to Incarnation
If you want to donate a gift of stock, please take action as soon as possible to ensure the transfer is complete before year-end. Please contact Amy Faymoville to let her know of your stock transfer so she knows who is donating it, as well as the number of shares and the name of the stock. Incarnation is working with a new brokerage firm, Fidelity Investments, so please contact Amy Faymoville at for more information on how to make a stock donation.

Taking an IRA Distribution This Year?
If you’re 70½ or older, you may find tax advantages to roll over part of your IRAs required minimum distribution (RMD) to Incarnation. While you don’t receive a tax deduction on your gift, you also don’t pay taxes on any distributions made to Incarnation. Contact your IRA administrator and let Amy Faymoville at know your plans as soon as possible to allow for processing time.

December donations to the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf
If you regularly donate to Ralph Reeder, consider purchasing these items in December: green beans, corn, sugar, flour, vegetable oil, chocolate chips or grocery store gift cards. If you are interested in making a financial donation, there is $25,000 matching money available before December 15. Checks can be made to Incarnation with Ralph Reeder in the memo.

Memory Loss Caregiver Support Groups
Support groups for those who are caring for someone with memory loss are available in Roseville and White Bear Lake, coordinated by Lyngblomsten (a ministry partner of Incarnation).  Find out more at:

Looking Ahead: Reading Richard Rohr small groups
Read and talk about Richard Rohr’s book, The Naked Now, while connecting with others in a small group setting. This book explores how to be present to each moment and to God, by drawing on the Christian contemplative traditions, the Gospels and Paul. Leader: Anne Cremons. Suggested contribution: $10. Register:
When: Once/week on Thurs. from 9:15-10:45 a.m. OR Tues. from 5:30-7:00 p.m., March-April