Lifetimes: August 11

A Time of Transition at Incarnation

By Don Martin

Our time of transition at Incarnation began in January when Gary Medin announced his retirement. Your Congregation Council met with Bishop Patricia Lull to learn about steps and timeline for the transition. We formed a call committee and began the process of hiring an interim pastor. Now we are well into the transition. Gary Medin’s last day as Senior Pastor has passed and Interim Senior Pastor Chris Smith started on August 1. The call committee has met several times and is working on the Ministry Site Profile (MSP), a document that helps inform prospective pastors about our faith community. The next steps include finishing the MSP,  gathering information about prospective pastors, interviewing, and finally calling a new senior pastor. The timeline is posted in the display cases near the Incarnation Office and in the Gathering Space outside Incarnation Hall.

Above are the “nuts and bolts” of the transition. There are also a lot of emotions associated with a transition that transcend the tasks that need to be accomplished.

Times of transition provide opportunity for mourning, celebrating and appreciating the people and traditions of the past, reflection and discernment about what directions are open to us, and then moving in new directions with a hopeful and positive outlook. Many of us will go through periods of sadness, which will eventually shift to remembrance with joy and appreciation for what we have experienced. Then we begin “looking for what’s next” and finally we strive to build a future based on our current circumstances and perceived opportunities. Thank you for your patience and understanding with fellow congregational members, council, staff, and yourself as we each work through the phases of  transition; each at our own pace. The litany used in the June 24th service seems appropriate for our time:

PASTOR: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
PEOPLE: And also with you.
PASTOR: Lord, we stand at the threshold of transition and look behind us. As we remember work done in your name, rituals we have loved, shared laughter, shared losses, learning and growing together in faith, receiving the gift of your abundant grace together.
PEOPLE: We give thanks for your presence and faithfulness in all of it.
PASTOR: Lord as we stand at the threshold of transition and look behind us, our hearts contain a range of emotions – grief and sadness as we prepare for goodbyes,
PEOPLE: but also with gratitude, deep gratitude for what has been and how that prepares us for the future you put before us.
PASTOR: Lord, we stand at the threshold of transition and look to the future.
PEOPLE: We can’t yet see clearly what it will be. That uncertainty makes us nervous and also fills us with wonder at the possibilities.
PASTOR: Lord, as we stand at the threshold of transition and look to the future, fill our hearts with trust and hope, because you are the Lord of all Creation and you lead us to the future you desire for us.
PEOPLE: You lead us into the mission you have called us to: Filled by God’s grace, we feed the hungry in heart, body, mind, and spirit.
PASTOR: God of transitions and new life, bless our grief and our gratitude, our nervousness and hope, fill us with visions of a world filled with your grand and love and big dreams of how this community can be part of making that happen.
PEOPLE:  God of past and future, bless this journey. Guide our steps. As we step across the threshold of transition, help us to walk in confidence that you walk beside us, go before us, and live within us. Amen.

Blessing of the Backpacks & The Great Incarnation Fall Get Together – Sunday, September 9!

“Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” We say these words at every Baptism encouraging the newly baptized to “Be the Light” of Christ to those they meet. During all worship services on September 9, we will take time to bless our children as they begin the new school year and the children will take time to bless all those who help to teach them in school and at church.

This year’s theme, “Be the Light” comes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Mat. 5:13-16), where Jesus encourages his followers to be agents of change in the world around them. Join us as we seek to be agents of change in our places of work, neighborhoods, schools, or communities each day in the month of September shining the light of Christ wherever we are. As is tradition, children will receive a special gift to hang on their backpacks as a reminder to “Be the Light” as they move through their school days and beyond.

After morning worship, celebrate the beginning of the fall program year with inflatables, yard games, service projects, and carnival food out on the front lawn of Incarnation from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Engage in a service project by making Baptism Blankets and Blessing Bags. Baptism Blankets are given to every child who is baptized at Incarnation, a tie blanket that represents the community of Incarnation praying for this child. Blessing Bags are Ziploc bags filled with items like water, Gatorade, granola bars, apple sauce, socks, beef jerky, etc., easily kept in one’s vehicle, so that when you come across a person in need, you can “Be the Light” and meet that need immediately.

We need your help in order to ensure all runs smoothly! Volunteers work one hour shifts serving food and drinks, monitoring those on the inflatables, and helping with the service projects. On August 19, 26 and September 2 there will be sign-up tables in the Atrium and the Gathering Space for you to sign-up for one of these shifts, or you can visit Incarnation’s website and sign-up online. If you’re out of town on the 9th but still want to participate, consider donating some of the items needed for the Blessing Bags service project. For more information, click here.

This is a community event and you’re encouraged to invite your friends and family to all that’s taking place this special day. What a perfect opportunity to “Be the Light” as you share Incarnation with others in your life.

Staff Changes

Goodbye Kelsey Blinn

After serving as the Financial & Small Groups Secretary for the last two years, Kelsey Blinn decided to leave her position here to pursue other professional opportunities. Kelsey recently went to school to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant at Anoka Technical College and was fortunate to quickly find a position at North Ridge Care Center. We will certainly miss Kelsey and wish her the best as she moves forward into this next chapter of her life!

Welcome Amy Faymoville

Amy Faymoville is the new Financial & Small Groups Secretary at Incarnation Lutheran Church. Amy comes from Living Waters where she was the Director of Church Operations for the past three years, as well as a Charter Member. Her and her husband Todd have two adult children and one grandson, named Henry. They recently moved to North Branch where she gets to enjoy her hobbies of photography and gardening. Please stop into the Incarnation Office and meet Amy Faymoville if you haven’t done so already!

Welcome Brenda Goetsch

Brenda Goetsch joined Incarnation as the new Accountant. Brenda’s background as a CPA with extensive experience in all areas of general and technical accounting will be a great benefit to Incarnation. She has just moved to Coon Rapids with her husband, Al and is currently decorating her new home. She also enjoys cooking and baking, along with time spent with her three daughters and four grandchildren, ages 6, 4 and 2 year old twins. Welcome Brenda!