Lifetimes: January 2019

Camp Sunday is February 3!

By Kristin Bloxham

Summers around Incarnation are busy and full of life changing opportunities for children, youth, and families of all shapes and sizes. For me, summer is a chance to connect with people in a different way and a time to re-charge my “spiritual battery”.

For the past 25 years I have had the privilege of spending a week (or more) at Camp Wapo in Amery, WI. I started attending camp when I was in elementary school, continued through middle school and was proud to be a TIM (Teens In Ministry) Teamer during my high school years. Camp dramatically shaped my faith during my formative years. When it came time to choose a summer job after high school, I knew that working at camp was the only job I wanted.

That first summer turned into five more life changing summers working with young people from all walks of life. My faith was shaped and changed by campers, peers, and the leaders I worked with. I am forever grateful for the summers that I have spent, and will continue to spend at Camp Wapo.

Last summer a group of high school students had the privilege to serve the people of Wanblee, SD. Take a look at the exciting work that we did and the impact that it had on some of the students who traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation.

On Sunday, February 3 stop by the Children, Youth and Family table in the Atrium and Gathering Space following all morning worship services to pick up information about the many ministry opportunities that are being offered this summer for children four years of age through high school and families. Please note that we have a few new opportunities that include: a youth and family mission trip to Haiti, Intergenerational & Family Wilderness Canoe Base, and a Creative Journaling camp for 4th – 6th graders.


Generosity Changes Lives

By Pastor Janet Karvonen-Montgomery

If you were given money to give away any way you choose, what would you do? Recently, the St. Paul Area Synod gave a group of new pastors $300 to give away at the Love Let(s) Go Stewardship Retreat. This gift has sparked my interest about the ways generosity changes lives. How could it be used to make an impact in someone’s life? is where I landed. Have you heard of it? It is a microlending charity with a mission “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” It has a 96.7% repayment rate!

Knowing that women in the world have much less access to fair and affordable credit for their businesses or basic needs, I was drawn to Kiva’s connections to help women. Coming from a family of small business owners, I have an appreciation for people with an entrepreneurial spirit. When I was in my 20s, I wanted to start a business, but I could not secure a bank loan because I had no credit history. My parents gave me a loan to start a business of public speaking and a summer basketball camp that is now in its 32nd year.

I was excited to tell our kids about the gift that would help others through Kiva. My son, Dave, said, “That’s great, Mom, I’ve been investing in Kiva for several years. My goal is to loan money to people in all 80 countries.” Then my daughter, Sophie, said, “I love giving money to girls who want to go to school.” So much for my desire to tell them something they didn’t already know!

After a couple of months, I received an email from Kiva. The subject line read: “You have 10 repayments.” My small loans of only $25 each were combined with others for: Everlyne in Kenya, a single parent establishing a farm; Gladys in Bolivia, starting a bakery; Binh in Vietnam, installing a toilet in her home, Violette in Lebanon, a widow, supporting two children in school; Myriam in Columbia, a widow, buying supplies and repairing the ceiling in her preschool; Ani in Georgia, attending a university; and more.

After receiving this good news, I decided to reinvest the loan repayments. The next email I received read: “Thanks, Janet, you’re changing lives.”

As these loans are repaid and reinvested in more hopes and dreams, this gift really will keep on giving. It feels great to partner with others to create opportunities and to help others around the world. Thanks be to God!

An Update from Your Call Committee

God’s peace and blessings to you and a happy new year.

The Call Committee is still busy working, reviewing, and contemplating in the search for our next senior pastor. Understandably, our candidates have been very busy through the holidays so this process will ramp up now that the new year has begun.

In the meantime, we have something to ask of you. During the Town Hall Meeting and in all the small groups, we mentioned that we would like to hold a series of welcoming events for the new senior pastor and their family. I would ask you to think and pray about if this is something you would be interested in helping with. There will be details and contact information in future communications and a coordinator will organize all the activities to make the flow of events logistically realistic and welcoming.

The Call Committee would also like to acknowledge and thank you for all the prayers offered up for support and clarity.

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.

Shared Blessings from Caring in Community

Meg Gerlach

The change from being a person who gives care to others to a person who receives care from others can happen in a flash. For Meg Gerlach, a birthday celebration suddenly turned into an unexpected fall, broken bones, a lengthy surgery and an extended recovery. Even simple tasks, those often taken for granted, became impossible for Meg in the days and weeks following surgery.

Into this unfortunate circumstance came the blessings of the Care Team and the Incarnation community. After a visit and suggestion by Visitation Pastor Rich Omland, the Care Team stepped in to assist Meg with transportation to appointments, help carrying groceries, stops at the pharmacy and more. Adding to the Care Team, Meg’s small group prepared meals, while others lifted prayers for healing and knit a prayer shawl. “The prayer shawl was like the Lord and the congregation wrapping their arms around me,” Meg said.

Beyond the day-to-day tasks, the Care Team and others always brought an upbeat greeting, encouragement and an uplifting conversation. This chance to connect with others was life-giving for Meg, reminding her that she is surrounded by a community of faith. The healing and recovery process often prevents someone from being able to get out and be with others. For Meg, the Care Team, offered that vital link to others, including the chance to come to worship with a Care Team member where she could “hear the word of the Lord, take communion, and see the community.”

The Incarnation Care Team is a ministry that responds, free-of-charge, to the non-medical “quality-of-life” needs of someone in a difficult time, serving in a way similar to an extended family member. People of all ages connect with the Care Team from a mother on bed rest to a young person recovering from surgery to an elder who needs a ride to an appointment. Coordinated by Julie Omland and Dianne Timmer, Care Team members offer care in a variety of ways based on their availability, gifts and interests from transportation, preparing meals to visits for conversation. Dianne Timmer says: “This is just one more person to enrich someone’s life.” Care Team volunteers have been supported over time by Lyngblomsten, a ministry partner of Incarnation.

As Meg discovered, there are blessings in both offering care and in receiving care. As the recipient, you also give a gift to the person serving. They are able to join and serve as part of a community. They are able to meet other people and make a difference for others. They are able to live out Jesus’ words to love your neighbor.

Meg would like to express her appreciation to all who offered prayers and care. If you’d like to know more about the Incarnation Care Team, contact Amy Martell in the Incarnation Office at 651-484-7213. If you’d like to be on the prayer concerns list or request a visit from the Visitation Pastor, again, contact the Incarnation Office at 651-484-7213.

Welcome, Danette Griffith

Danette Griffith

Incarnation’s new administrator has arrived! A team, made up of Council President Don Martin, Council Secretary Sally Lawless, former Council President Dave Bernlohr, and Interim Senior Pastor Chris Smith, spent many hours in October and November conducting the hiring process. They are delighted that Danette is on board.

Danette comes to Incarnation from Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, where she served as Senior Director for Church Management. Prior to that position, she served other congregations in similar management roles. Danette also has considerable experience as a communications professional in various church and college organizations.

Danette comes to Minnesota with her husband, Steve, who is now retired from serving as an academic dean. They are happy to return to Minnesota to connect with family who live in this area.

As you have the opportunity, please welcome Danette. The staff and Incarnation Council are pleased that she is on board as Incarnation’s administrator and look forward to partnering with her in the ministry we share.

Among the Congregation

Hospitalized: David Guenzel; Carol Hawkins.

Sympathy to: Dennis Paulson and family on the death of his mother; the family of Marty Overby on his death; Barb Fischer and family on the death of her father; Debbie Nelson and family on the death of her father.

Recently Baptized: Alexander, son of Alison Lim & Jess Graba; Levi Lampert, son of Jacqueline and Eric.

Recently Married: Brent Carlson & Natalie Sindt.


Preschool Registration for the 2019-20 School Year

Preschool registration for the coming school year starts in January. Visit the Preschool pages of the Incarnation website for details. Registration packets for the 2019-20 school year are available for pick-up at the Preschool or Incarnation Office. Call Kirsten Barie at 651-766-0723 for more information, to schedule a tour, or to have a packet mailed to you.

Camp Wapo and Ox Lake Registration Kicks Off January 15!

Come be a part of the many camps offered at Camp Wapogasset Lutheran Bible Camp (Camp Wapo, Ox Lake, and Wilderness Canoe Base). Registration starts on January 15.  Camp is a place where faith and friendships are strengthened and lasting memories are made! Registrations fill fast for these camps so we strongly encourage you to sign up early to ensure a spot. Register for Wapo and Ox Lake here.

Donations Welcomed for Incarnation Preschool Silent Auction and Carnival

Donations will be accepted through February 15.

Preparations for the Preschool’s 22nd Annual Silent Auction and Carnival are underway!  Donations of hand crafted items, event tickets, gift certificates, and more are welcomed and greatly appreciated to support this event. If you would like to donate any items personally or as a promotion for your business, contact Kirsten Barie, Preschool Director at 651-766-0723 or  Donations will be accepted through February 15. The event will be held February 24 in Grace Hall. The Silent Auction runs from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and the Carnival from 1 – 3:00 p.m.

Food in Action Adult Vision Trip to the Dominican Republic

August 5 – 10; register by January 21.

Experience God’s creation and meet the people of the Dominican Republic who receive Feed My Starving Children food! This trip is part learning, part service, part retreat/camp as you connect with and serve the recipients of FMSC food, while also building relationships with others from Incarnation. A total of eight travelers can be on this trip. A $250 non-refundable deposit holds your spot. Total cost: $1,905 per person. Contact Becky Benson with questions. Click here to learn more about FMSC.

Congregational Annual Meeting

Sunday, January 27 at 12:15 p.m.

There will be a congregational meeting on Sunday, January 27 at 12:15 p.m. in the Sanctuary. The meeting will be preceded by lunch in Grace Hall at 11:30 a.m. All confirmed youth and adult voting members are invited and encouraged to attend this meeting. Printed copies of the annual report will be available from the Incarnation Office beginning on January 20. If you have questions prior to the annual meeting, please contact Pastor Chris Smith or Danette Griffith at the Incarnation Office.

“Wall O’ Money” Fundraiser – Support Children, Youth and Families participating in Summer Opportunities

February 10, February 17, and February 24.

Children, youth, and families participating in summer ministry opportunities will be “selling” envelopes off the “Wall O’ Money” in the Atrium and Gathering Space on February 10, February 17, and February 24 to raise money for summer camps and mission trips. How it works: Choose an envelope ranging from $1 to $150, place the dollar amount equal to the amount on the outside of the envelope in the envelope, and return the envelope to the table in the Atrium or Gathering Space or to the Incarnation Office by Monday, March 4. Envelopes range from $1 to $150. More than one envelope can be purchased at a time.

Healing Service

Thursday, February, 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Incarnation in the Sanctuary.

This worship service is a time to pray, hear messages of comfort and hope, light a prayer candle, and receive a blessing. For those who wish, there will be an opportunity to be anointed with oil and prayed for individually. The Healing Service is open to the entire community. Invite your friends, family, neighbors, and others you know who long for healing. More information is available at the Information Center and in the Gathering Space. Registrations are not needed and there is no cost.

Solid Ground Welcome Baskets – Thank You!

Thank you to those Incarnation community who graciously donated items for the Solid Ground Welcome Baskets! An overwhelming response resulted in 898 household items donated, such as mops and cleaning items, enough to fill 29 baskets. The generosity of many will help make 2019 a bit less stressful for the families moving into Solid Ground. It seemed a simple to task to add the items needed to one’s grocery or Target list but will make a huge impact on those receiving the baskets. Thank you for your generosity!