Lifetimes: January 2021

Goodbye Pastor Jeanne

Mark your calendars for January 17, Pastor Jeanne’s last day as an Incarnation clergy. Pastor Jeanne, Andrew and Tillie will be available outside Door 3 of the Incarnation building so that you may drive by and say goodbye from within your car from 10 – 11:00 a.m. Decorate your car to help make the event more festive! A receptacle for cards will also be available that day.

If you can’t make it on January 17, you’re invited to send her a card or note, wishing her the best as she enters a new chapter of her ministry. Mail your card to the Incarnation Office, attention Pastor Jeanne to 4880 Hodgson Road, Shoreview, MN 55126. If you would prefer to send something via email, please send to

Pastor Jeanne has requested that for those who might wish to honor her with a gift, that donations be made to a fund which will be split evenly between Incarnation’s ministry partner, Solid GroundBoys & Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley–Lee & Mary Markquart Center and the Minnesota Trauma Recovery InstituteGive online through Incarnation’s secure online giving page and the dropdown option “Honoring Jeanne Hartfield’s Ministry” or by sending a check made out to Incarnation and “Honoring Jeanne Hartfield’s Ministry” in the memo line.

A Hope that Grows  

By Andrea Johnson  

Incarnation’s Advent theme was “Simply Hope: Hope is Persistent, Hope is Patient, Hope is Participatory, Hope is Promised, Hope is Present.” Yes! 

When our Incarnation Small Group’s initial application for a Thrivent Action Team grant to create Holiday Baking Bags for Ralph Reeder Food Shelf was turned down, our small group that’s been together since 2006 (the LLLs–Lovely Lutheran Ladies) brainstormed alternatives at our monthly Zoom gathering. As a result of those suggestions the proposal was tweaked and resubmitted to ThriventHope is persistent. Hope is patient.  

While waiting for Thrivent’s response we all started doing our own shopping for supplies, passing on which stores had the biggest baking sales and spreading the word to others through social media and old fashioned neighborhood signs. Holiday Baking Bags started appearing, not only brimming with the ingredients requested by Ralph Reeder, but also other food essentials and fun extras like spatulas, cookies cutters, cookie sheets and hot pads. The driveway became an assembly line, and within six days the van was loaded for the first drop-off at Ralph ReederBy the return from that first delivery four more bags had already anonymously appeared at the front door to get packed up and kick off the second load. Hope is participatory. Hope is promised.     

That same day we were notified that Thrivent had approved our tweaked application! Because our Baking Bag response had been and was continuing to be so huge, we talked to Ralph Reeder about other needs and then had a long conversation with Thrivent. Thrivent agreed to let our team amend our application and use their $250 credit card to buy hams. HAMS! Once again, the LLL’s brainstormed where to get the best deal and called in contacts to ask for support. The final result: with the second delivery to Ralph Reeder our tally was 47 Holiday Baking Bags, 12 bags of other essential foods, $250 worth of hams purchased with the Thrivent money, and several hundred dollars in additional personal financial donations. And here is the added value we never anticipatedMany of the anonymously donated Baking Bags had notes of thanks in them. Every single friend, neighbor and stranger who was “caught” dropping off their donation expressed gratitude for the opportunity to reach out and touch someone else’s life during this strangely, circumstantially disconnected season. Hope is present. 

It was a project that started small and then grew and grew and GREW. It brought dozens of people together. It fed the hungry in heart, body, mind and spirit. Simply hope. 

Thank you for your generosity! 

Solid Ground Receives $1.25 Million Grant  

By Diane Betterley 

Solid Ground has been selected to receive a $1.25 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund – a fund launched by Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. In 2020, the fund issued 42 grants across the country to organizations doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. It is a rare opportunity to receive such a transformational grant, and Solid Ground is ready to make the most of it!” said Trisha Kauffman, Executive Director of Solid Ground. 

A year in review and a peak forward 

Solid Ground currently has six programs providing family housing and support for over 500 women, men and children annually. 2020 has been a challenge for families as many have lost their jobs or have reduced work hours and face fear and anxietyChildren are distance learning from home, families have limited access to transportation, adults and children have experienced diminished ability to see advocates and support staff face-to-face. 

There have also been many blessings in 2020. The Solid Ground support staff have been outstanding in their innovation and dedication to provide support services needed to help families cope during these difficult times and continue to work toward their goals of self-sufficiency. The Incarnation community has come together to help in many ways. Volunteers have been making weekly runs to pick-up and deliver food shelf items to families at Solid Ground, helped with the coat drive and responded when specific calls of service have been presented. Many have donated essential household items and cleaning supplies needed when families move into their home at Solid Ground. Coats, hats, mittens, boots, socks, underwear, Christmas trees and presents were donated to keep families warm and provide holiday cheer. We are thankful for the generous monetary donations made throughout the year to help Solid Ground in their mission and to assist in areas where the needs are the greatest.  

Solid Ground was pleased to pass on good news throughout the year of residents who have begun or successfully completed training programs, are working toward a degree or have started new jobs. Many families moved out of Solid Ground to permanent, stable housing giving more families the opportunity to enter Solid Ground and begin their journey toward self-sufficiency.   

Looking forward, Solid Ground has goals to extend their ability to reach more families by increasing housing capacity, to deepen their impact and strengthen their organizationCheck out this link to view Solid Ground’s 2020-2022 strategic plan. 

Many beautiful stories have been told through the years of residents whose lives were transformed by their experiences at Solid Ground. At the Bring It Home Fundraiser, Ronda, a former resident, spoke of her life before finding her way to Solid Ground and how, with the help of a tutor was able to pass her GED. Her accomplishments have been an inspiration to her children and fellow residents. An Incarnation member walked alongside Ronda in her journey offering her tutoring and encouragement. Listen to Ronda’s story here.  

We are thankful for the hope Solid Ground provides for so many families in our surrounding community and are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Solid Ground in their mission to prevent and end homelessness. 

Plarn Mats Delivered to Those in Need

On behalf of Incarnation, Danette and Steve Griffith delivered 12 mats to The Listening House in St. Paul on December 11, 2020. The mats are given to those experiencing homelessness to add a little cushion for wherever they sleep. The mats are crocheted using plastic bags. It takes approximately 500 bags to make a 3 ft by 6 ft mat. The mats give cushion, are waterproof and are easy to clean. 

Dubbed the “living room of the homeless by guests,” Listening House is a daytime drop-in community and resource referral center providing hospitality, practical assistance and guidance to men and women experiencing homelessness, loneliness and deep poverty. 

A basic safety net of services includes hygiene products, clothes (including socks/shoes/boots), message delivery, telephone use and essential first aide. Partner professionals consist of mental and chemical health outreach teams, housing advocates and veteran’s assistance. Listening House serves 40 to 140 people daily. 

Thank you to Jo ZschomlerRosalie Grosch and Danette Griffith for making mats and to all who contributed bags! If you are interested in learning how to make mats, please contact Danette GriffithContinue collecting bags and keep them out of the landfills! 

Apostles Library Book Review

Love is The Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times By Bishop Michael Curry

Vernita Kennen reports, “I have had more than one occasion recently to hear Bishop Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church speak and preach as I’ve been watching a variety of things online. I am always amazed by his knowledge but more so by his comforting presence and the way you feel he cares for everyone personally. His book Love is The Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times could not be more pertinent to today’s world and today’s time.

Intriguing chapter titles like “What Desmond Tutu and Dolly Parton Have in Common” and “The Real E Pluribus Unum” lead us to learn more about Curry himself and about the way he sees living the way of love as being able to address the multitude of challenges that our world faces today.

(You may remember Bishop Curry as having delivered the sermon at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Or in a recent online conversation with ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton. I would venture to guess you may want to check him out on Google–you, too, will be impressed.)”

Click Here to View the Memorials


New Phone System
A new phone system is being installed in the Incarnation Office (651-484-7213) January 14, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  There might be some disruption in service during that time. Please call back if you are not able to get through when you call. Thanks for your patience. This is the first new phone system for Incarnation in 27 years!

Building and Office Update
The Re-Opening Task Force is considering when Incarnation can hold in-person worship. For now, the building is closed and no activities are taking place on-site unless they are outside. Please watch your email for further information, which will be coming soon.

Congregational Meeting
Mark your calendars for February 7 for the Congregational Meeting at 12:00 p.m. The meeting will be held via Zoom. More details and the Zoom link will be presented in future communications.

Green Lake Bible Camp

Get ready to start planning your summer fun and save the date for January 25 when registration opens for Green Lake Bible Camp! More information will be coming soon. To see what Green Lake Bible Camp is about, you can view their website 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 friends and family who you love. How do we care for one another in difficult times? Where do we look for ways to sustain and care for ourselves? Starting in January, new small groups will explore these questions using the faith study, Caring for One Another, written at Incarnation. Groups will follow themes from the Sunday sermons and meet for just 75 minutes, once a week, for a guided conversation. Click here to learn more.

Solid Ground Volunteers and Donations Needed
Volunteer Opportunity – Substitute drivers are needed to pick up food shelf items in White Bear Lake and deliver to Solid Ground. Contact Dylan McDonough for more information.   

Donation Opportunity – Cookie sheets, baking pans (9×13, 8×8, or 9×9), covered casseroles dishes, can openers, vegetable peelers, cutting boards, dish sets, and twin-size mattress protectors are needed. Check out the Solid Ground page of Incarnation’s website for delivery details and more information about Solid Ground.   

Preschool Registration for the 2021-22 School Year
Preschool registration for the coming school year starts in January. The Incarnation Preschool offers 2.5 hour and 4 hour sessions. Visit the preschool pages of the Incarnation website for details. Packets for 2021-22 school year can be mailed to you or forms may also be downloaded from the website. Call Kirsten Barie at 651-766-0723 for more information, to schedule a tour or to have a packet mailed to you.

Are You A Visual Artist?
We’re looking for graphic designers, photographers, videographers and video editors who would be willing to volunteer for projects for Incarnation. Projects often vary in complexity and involvement, which would be discussed on an individual basis before volunteers would commit to a project. We are grateful for the volunteers who have already stepped forward, but it’s time to expand the pool! If you’re interested, please contact Erin Thorstad to learn more.

I AM Yoga
Lead by Tina Zerrath, an experienced Yoga teacher, keep your body and spirit healthy and strong. Some prior experience is necessary to ensure a safe practice as Tina is not able to see everything you do and make adjustments. If you are interested in joining, please contact the Incarnation Office at 651-484-7213.
Mondays, Now – March 8, 2021 via Zoom
Mat Yoga: 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Chair Yoga: 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Drop-In $10