Lifetimes: February 2021

Lent 2021: Relational Resilience

By Pastor Kai Nilsen

In Ephesians 3, the Apostle Paul prays that you “may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.”

Inner strength. Rooted and grounded in love. Christ and his Spirit dwelling within.

For Jesus’ people, those are the ingredients of resilience—our ability to stay grounded in chaotic times and to overcome when we feel overwhelmed.

Our Lenten series, Relational Resilience, is an invitation into a wholistic conversation about resilience and an opportunity to learn simple spiritual exercises that build our personal and relational resilience.

The Sundays in Lent will focus on the assigned gospel texts, highlighting the core calling Jesus had on his life and what that means for us today. A resilient life, for followers of Jesus, is a life immersed in Jesus’ story.

Sunday Texts and Themes
February 21: Mark 1:9-15—Jesus’ identity and calling
February 28: Mark 8:31-38—A calling to lose life in order to find it
March 7: John 2:13-22—Jesus is the new temple, the place where God is present.
March 14: John 3:14-21—Eternal Life—what is it?
March 21: John 12:20-33—Life through death: For Jesus. For us.
March 28: Palm Sunday

Wednesdays in Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday, February 17, we will focus on specific aspects of building a resilient life. Following the Ash Wednesday online service, each of the subsequent Wednesday webinar worship will be on Zoom so that everyone can participate safely from your home. The services will include music, prayers and practices, and a teaching on one component of building a more resilient life.

Wednesday Themes: Resilient Relationships
February 24: Our Relationship with God: How does God see us?
Pastor Juanita Rasmus from Houston, Texas, a friend of Pastor Nilsen through the Renovare’ community, will be our teacher. Juanita’s recent book, Learning to Be, chronicles her personal journey from her “crash” (as she calls it) to a more thriving life.

March 3 and 10: Our Relationship with Ourselves: Part 1—Resilience and Stress: Managing our Thoughts and Feelings, Part 2—Grief/Conflict/Forgiveness/Gratitude
Incarnation member Pat Nyman, for many years a facilitator of resilience groups, will be our guide as we do a deep dive into how we deal with our daily lives—the routine and extreme stresses that shape us.

March 17: Our Relationship with the World—Living with Purpose
Incarnation members, Jim Meinen and Bill Reichwald, have designed a simple and meaningful way to help you discover the intersection between what the world needs and the gifts and passions you have.

March 24: Our Relationship with Others—Loving the “Other”
Resilient Jesus communities push beyond the walls of those they are most comfortable with and engage the world that Jesus loves. Donte Curtis, a frequent presenter throughout the synod on the Jesus narrative and the call to justice, will lead the conversation.

Inner strength. Rooted and grounded in love. Christ and his Spirit dwelling within.

2020 Alternative Giving Season and Ministry Partner Generosity Throughout the Year

Like so much in 2020, the Alternative Giving Fair and season had to be adjusted to accommodate our physically distanced world and a building that was unavailable for in-person worship and other ministriesall in order to ensure everyone’s safety. But in true Incarnation form, you stepped up to the challenge of leaning into new ways and were mighty generous throughout the season and really, throughout the year! Here are the details of your generous Alternative Giving that took place through Incarnation from November 22 – December 31, as well as over the entire year: 

  • ELCA World Hunger Good Gifts – $7,525, plus over $2,000 made directly to the ELCA Good Gifts site. Total 2020 financial giving: $8,482. Note another $1,775 was donated to ELCA Disaster Relief. 
  • LifeHaven – $445 plus a number of physical gifts and gift cards purchased for the LifeHaven Holiday Gift Drive. Total 2020 financial giving: $13,950. 
  • Solid Ground – $475 plus Christmas trees for all Solid Ground households requesting them and many welcome basket items. Total 2020 financial giving: $10,550.
  • Feed My Starving Children – $7,710. Total 2020 financial giving: $49,776. 
  • Ralph Reeder Food Shelf – $ 5,660. Total 2020 financial giving: $85,739. 
  • Tanzania Education – $1,368. Total 2020 financial giving: $19,610. 

Further, we know that even more giving took place directly to these organizations into which Incarnation doesn’t have visibility. Regardless, these are extraordinary numbers for a total of over $23,000 during the Alternative Giving Season in addition to physical items donated and a total of nearly $190k over the course of the year. Thank you for your amazing generosity during a very unusual and challenging Alternative Giving Season and 2020!  

Youth Survey

As part of the interim process with High School Ministry, the Transition Task Force is asking everyone ages 6th grade and up to complete a brief survey. YOUR feedback is essential, regardless of your level of involvement in the program right now, or whether or not you have kids. We need to hear from the WHOLE congregation. The focus of this survey is your perceptions of Children, Youth and Family Ministry at Incarnation, and your feedback will help inform the Transition Task Force and Search Team in the following ways; 

  1. Your involvement helps asses current Children, Youth and Family Ministry’s success in aligning with Incarnation’s mission and values. 
  2. Your feedback assists in dreaming and strategizing for the future. 
  3. Your responses shape and determine staffing and job description decisions being made in the spring. 

The surveys will remain open through February 14. Please note that there is a separate survey link if you are a youth grades 6th-12th. 

For Youth (grade 6-12):
For Adults: 

2020 Year End Giving Statements 

2020 Year End Giving Statements were emailed on January 18. If you have not received your statement, check your SPAM/Junk folder in your email system in case it was flagged as SPAM. If you still need a reprint of your statement, log into Realm (See instructions below) and select the 2020 Giving Statement button to reprint it. You will find the button when you are in GIVING. It is located just above your giving number. Note: We are currently experiencing a high volume of inquiries, so please consider this self-serve approach for faster service. If you still have questions, contact Amy Faymoville, Financial Secretary via email.

Setting up your account in Realm: Everyone at Incarnation has a unique profile that contains your contact information, personal information, groups you are a part of and a link to others in your family. If you have already registered your account, please see instructions about accessing your account. 

Step 1: To activate the account we have for you, please go to:
Step 2: Enter an email address and create a password. Please write down this password somewhere safe that you can access if you don’t remember.
Step 3: After you press the register button, you will be prompted to check your email to activate your account
Step 4: Open your Email Verification message and select the link to verify your email address
Step 5: Verify your birthday and/or phone number. 

If you have problems with activating your account, it may be because we don’t have complete information in your profile. Please contact Amy Martell, Office Manager via email for assistance. 

Accessing your account in Realm: After you have completed the set-up process above, you are now able to access Realm by going 

Apostles Library Book Review

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins 

American Dirt has been on the best seller list in the past two years as well as one the Oprah’s book club reads. It has also generated a bit of controversy because it is the powerful story of immigrants but not written by an immigrant. I’d suggest you read it and make your own decision about that.  

This is the story of Lydia and her son Luca (8 years old) who are forced to flee Acapulco because of the drug cartels–and her husband’s journalism about them. Lydia and Luca travel with countless others to reach “the North”. This is not an easy read but an honest and important one as immigration policies are again a matter of importance to the U.S. as are the lives of each and every immigrant and refugee, all children of God.

Click here for memorials.


Congregational Meeting
Reminder! The Annual Meeting is this Sunday, February 7 at 12:00 p.m. Attend to learn more about what Incarnation has planned for the upcoming year.

Zoom invite for the meeting:
Meeting ID: 885 1015 7727
Passcode: 829836
+1 312 626 6799 US Find your local #:

New Member Zooms
Join others over Zoom to learn about Incarnation membership and ways to more deeply engage in the life of the community. Those who attend will be received into membership during these gathering. There are two times to attend: Monday, February 8 from 7 – 8:00 p.m. OR Sunday, February 14 from 1 – 2:00 p.m.  To learn more or to register for either gathering, click here.

Twin Cities PBS: Celebrating Black History Month
A number of programming opportunities are available in February through Twin Cities PBS “Celebrating Black History Month”. Among them are the following. Check out the link above for a complete listing:

  • Minnesota Experience: Jim Crow of the North (TPT 2 Monday, February 8, 8:00 p.m. and TPT Life Thursday, February 11, 9:00 p.m.)
  • Panel discussion with local Black church leaders, preview of series The Black Church (Wednesday, February 10, 6:00 p.m.)
  • The Black Church: This is our Story. This is our Song. (Parts 1 & 2 – TPT 2, Tuesday, February 16 & 238:00 p.m.)
  • TPT’s Black History Month Passport Racism Unveiled 

Lenten Kits and Ash Wednesday Drive Thru
Pick up a Lenten Kit for Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent inside Door #1 during the times mentioned below. Kits include: a wooden cross made by the Incarnation Wood Workers, a blessing and ashes. There will also be a drive thru on Wednesday, February 17 where you can receive a kit and a blessing from a pastor. Pastors will not be putting ashes on people’s foreheads this year, but you are invited to put the sign of the cross on your own forehead as they say the blessing.

Pick Up Times:
Sunday, February 14: 12 – 1:00 p.m.
Monday, February 15: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 16: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 17: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Drive  Thru Times on Wednesday, February 17:
7 – 8:00 a.m.
12 – 1:00 p.m.
5 – 6:00 p.m.

Office Hours
Starting February 15, the Incarnation Office will be open Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. To help limit contact, a table is placed outside the office with a basket for items to be received by office staff. Please remember, wearing a mask and social distancing is required to be inside the building.  

Fundraising for Children, Youth and Family Summer Camps
Help a child or youth grow in their faith and support the summer camps and programs for 2021! The Children, Youth and Family staff have created a digital Wall O’ Money that will make it easy to give a predetermined amount of a donation, or you can choose how much you’d like to give as you please. Click here to check out the Wall O’ Money.

Summer Camps and Programming for Children and Youth
Start planning for fun this summer with the camps and programs being offered this year! There’s a variety of things to do for children and youth and there are volunteer opportunities too. Check out the 2021 summer camps page here.

Small Groups: Caring for One Another, Caring for Yourself
It has been a challenging time–probably in your life and in the lives of people you love. How do we care for one another in difficult times? How do we live out God’s love in practical and meaningful ways? While these are not new questions, they have taken on more significance in the pandemic. Lent small groups will explore these questions using the faith study, Caring for One Another, written at Incarnation. Groups will meet for just 75-90 minutes, once a week, for a guided conversation. Click here for more information.

Brewed Theology for Young Adults
Brewed Theology is for Young Adults to connect with others who are around the same age and stage in life. Gather over Zoom on Sunday mornings between 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. We’ll use the podcast Finding Fred, a podcast about Mister Rogers, as a springboard for our conversations. Bring your own brunch and a story to share. For more information or to receive the Zoom link, contact Eliza Hartley and Laura Hemstad. The next meeting is on Sunday, February 21 – see you there!

February 22: Violence in the Bible
Many people struggle with the amount of violence they sense in the Bible. Some even reject the Bible as a result. What is the truth about violence? Is there really too much or do we exaggerate or misunderstand that issue? Presented by the Rev. Gary Anderson, a retired senior pastor of Incarnation. Click here to register for reminder emails.

March 8: Living Out a Mission of Accompaniment
From August of 2018 through July 2019, Maddie Lindahl participated in the Young Adults in Global Mission program. As a YAGM, she lived in Senegal, West Africa for a year of intentional learning, service and humility. The program intends to form young adults to be global citizens living and leading within the ELCA. Maddie will discuss her formation during her year as a missionary, and the larger calling she is unearthing as she reflects on her time and relationships in Senegal. Though this story is from her perspective, it speaks to how the wider church is being called to participate in God’s mission and learn from what God is already doing through our siblings across the world. Click here to register for reminder emails.

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 826 9291 8315
Passcode: Kairos

Congregational Care and Connections Leader
Incarnation Lutheran Church is seeking a part-time Congregational Care and Connections Leader to begin immediately. This position is for 20 hours a week and offers prorated vacation and sick time. This person will lead a responsive and compassionate ministry of care by developing systems that respond to immediate care needs and ongoing connection needs for people who are more isolated or alone. This is the frontline face of the caring ministry at Incarnation. An associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is required along with at least 1-2 years of related paid or volunteer experience in a church setting. To apply, please send a cover email and resume to Danette Griffith, Administrator by March 1, 2021.

Vacation Bible School: Spotlight Writers
If you are a writer or have an interest in writing and would like to learn from one of the best, Greta Grosch will be working with a team to develop scripts for Opening, Closing and more for Vacation Bible School this summer. Contact Rebecca Christiansen for more details.

Vacation Bible School: Spotlight Actors
If you are an actor, tech, or director or you have an interest in various areas of theatre, you can work alongside Greta Grosch to learn more about acting, editing processes of videos and all that goes into putting together an online production. Contact Rebecca Christiansen  for more details.

Saturday Morning Guided Retreat: Love
You are invited to participate in a Saturday morning guided retreat on March 13 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Zoom. This retreat will guide participants to deeply experience God’s love for each of us as well as helping us understand how to love others as we love ourselves. The time will include two guided meditations, silence, visionary meditations and short teachings from noted Christian authors. All are welcome! Led by Anne Cremons and Chris Lepoutre. For more information or to register, contact Anne Cremons.

A Note of Gratitude from the Hunger Awareness and Advocacy Group
Thank you to all in the Incarnation community who contributed during the recent holiday season to ELCA World Hunger Good Gifts. Incarnation donated $7,525 from contributions received while other people may have contributed directly to ELCA. While this did not reach our goal of $9,000, we know that every dollar will be put to good use and valued by those who receive them. We look forward to Advent 2021 when we can again make use of the Good Gifts ornaments on our giving trees and then reach our monetary goal. Thanks once more for your shared gifts.