Lifetimes: June 2019

Ralph Reeder Food Shelf – What WE need to SEE and KNOW! 

By Linda Caillier and Julie Omland

Incarnation has a strong relationship with Ralph Reeder Food Shelf in Mounds View because this food shelf is one of our formal ministry partners. The visible parts of that relationship are the food donation bin in the Atrium and the envelopes for monetary donations. We celebrate that Incarnation fills both of these often – thank you!

If you are looking for specific needs for donation RIGHT NOW – the Food Shelf needs toilet paper, paper towels, vegetable cooking oil, laundry detergent, liquid dish soap, and both male and female personal products. Fill the bin, as these are immediate and crucial needs!

What you may not know or see is the scene inside the doors of Ralph Reeder Food Shelf itself. Clients of all ages, of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, of varied physical limitations, and of both genders come to shop for their needs. We should not make any gross generalizations about who might be in need of help with hunger, for not one of us is truly immune from circumstances that could lead to hunger. Ralph Reeder Food Shelf is present in the lives of people to fulfill those needs just when the need arises.

While there are some requirements to become a client, the processes are always respectful and dignified. Each client (individual or family) shops with a Ralph Reeder volunteer partner to choose items from stocked shelves to fit their specific needs. Fresh produce, flowers, and cooler foods such as sandwiches, deli items, bread, meat, milk and desserts can also become items in the shopping cart, thanks to food rescuing that takes place through volunteers who transport these items and the generosity of Kowalskis, Trader Joes and Cub Foods. The shopping time becomes story-telling time, social time, and meaningful personal time for both client and volunteer. Volunteers invest their time making sure these clients become more than just “people who come through the door.”

Ralph Reeder Food Shelf also provides services to help make life sustainable beyond Ralph Reeder’s doors and in these clients’ everyday situation. Advocacy services for job searches, tax help, insurance help, educational possibilities and contact information for county and state agencies make Ralph Reeder Food Shelf much more than a place to fill a grocery cart. When a client has made the effort to come to Ralph Reeder, life has probably given that client the need for more than just feeding of the physical hunger. Ralph Reeder and Incarnation, through our partnership with the Food Shelf, can feed these clients in heart, mind and spirit, as well.

Continue to learn about this most necessary partner in our ministry; perhaps seeking information about becoming a volunteer might even be God’s way of calling you to a very special ministry. Watch for more news about Ralph Reeder Food Shelf and get ready for Incarnation’s annual Tons of Love food drive June 30 – August 4. Hunger does not disappear at any time; our “feeding the hungry” mission is simply our calling throughout the year because God graces us with abundance and fills us with love.

Mark your calendars for 2019 Tons of Love related events and volunteer opportunities:

  • Bring donations from Incarnation to Ralph Reeder the morning of July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and August 5.
  • Take a tour of the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf Thursday, July 11 at 12:00 – 12:30 p.m. or Tuesday, July 23 from 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. Preregistration is required; limit twelve per tour.
  • Assemble donation bags at Cub Foods in Arden Hills on July 15 or 16 in preparation for the Cub Foods Day on Sunday, July 21.
  • Help fill a trailer of food at Cub Foods Day in Arden Hills on Sunday, July 21 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Volunteer opportunities are also available this day to help.
  • Drive Through Drop Off at Incarnation, July 22- 25; during the rush hours and over the noon hour. Volunteer to staff the tent in the Incarnation parking lot.

From the Staff

Janet Karvonen-Montgomery, Pastor for Wellness and Generosity

By Pastor Janet Karvonen-Montgomery

“For the Lord is good, His steadfast love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations” Psalm 100:5

Thank you, God, for parents who brought us to church. I should say “churches” because there were a few different flavors. Nancy and Harold managed to get a brood of children clean and dressed after the morning barn chores were done. I have many memories of piling in the paneled station wagon on Sunday mornings, crushed between three brothers and three sisters, but not any memories of sleeping in.

Lord, thank you for the Finnish Apostolic Church where our grandparents and parents attended before I was born. Thank you for inspiring dad when he was a boy at summer Bible school with the verse: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:16). It became his verse in life and death, as he selected it for a reading at his funeral.

We left Apostolic for a little Evangelical Free Church because dad wasn’t allowed to play baseball on Sundays. He said, “I think we need to find a new church.” We headed north of town for a couple miles, turning on the country gravel road until we came to the charming white building surrounded by fields. I have more memories of being outside the building than inside of it, often ushered abruptly down the aisle and out the door by my mother for being “rambunctious”. We loved this place until it could no longer support itself. Thank you, Lord, for Pastor Aage Carlsen, for his faithfulness to the Gospel, his friendship and for driving six hours to attend my ordination two years ago.

God, thank you for Pastor Toivo and Ardis Esala at Trinity Lutheran, the Missouri Synod Church. We were often late – even though it was just a block away from our house. Lord, thank you for giving mom patience as she tried to get the teenage girls to turn down the blaring Beatles music and keep them moving. Lord, forgive dad for “almost killing us” as mom said, for backing out of the driveway with a car door still open. P.S. Thank you for Lillian Bauck’s delicious Rice Krispie bars!

Thank you, Lord, for warming mom’s heart toward you, giving her the desire to be baptized as an adult. Thank you for Grandma Ina’s steady faith and for making mom’s baptism happen after her mom died. It changed everything for her and dad – and for us.

God, you are good. You gave us parents who baptized us and brought us to church. You blessed our parents’ lives, filling them with your Holy Spirit and strengthening them to meet the demands of life. You surrounded them with people who nurtured and encouraged their faith. Now, every one of their children acknowledges you.

Pentecost Prayer Bead

By Pastor Joel Vander Wal

This past Sunday marked a special church festival in the life of the church called “Pentecost”. Pentecost Sunday is the day we remember when the Holy Spirit came down like “tongues of fire” on the disciples and gave them the miraculous ability to speak in different languages instantly! According to the Book of Acts, 3,000 Jewish people came to believe that Jesus Christ was the long promised Messiah. Pentecost is a reminder to the people of God that we are sent on a mission to share the Good News of the Gospel to the whole world. In order for us to live into this mission, we must rely upon the work of the Holy Spirit, as He continues to permeate His presence throughout the world. One way for us to participate with the work of the Spirit is to lift up specific ministries in prayer. On Pentecost Sunday we passed out prayer beads to the congregation inviting each of us to pray specifically for the ministries that happening throughout the month of June. As you read through this month’s Lifetimes, we encourage you to take note of all these different ministries and pray for them. Please pray for Summer Stretch, Vacation Bible School, the Prayer Service for Caregivers, and the Youth Mission Trip. Ask specifically for the Holy Spirit to come and bless those who lead and participate in these ministries.

All Hands on Hope MobilePack™ Financial Update, Celebration and Where the Food was Sent

By Becky Benson

Since the 2019 All Hands on Hope MobilePack™ contract had been signed with Feed My Starving Children, you, Incarnation, worked hard to raise $143,000 to pay for 650,000 meals that would be packed together with the 100,000 meals Roseville Lutheran agreed to finance for a total of 750,000 meals to feed 2,054 kids for a year. Since 2013, Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) has remarkably held per meal cost to .22/meal, until April 1 of this year. Due to rising expenses related to necessary infrastructure improvements and a new permanent packing facility in Dallas, FMSC determined that the per meal cost needed to increase to .24/meal; because Incarnation signed its contract well before this change, we were not contractually obligation to pay the extra two cents per meal. But apparently God had something else in mind.

We CELEBRATE the fact that because of your continued faithful generosity, the additional costs for ingredients to pack 762,048 meals (the final All Hands on Hope total) feeding 2,088 of God’s beloved children at the new rate of .24/meal, may be paid to FMSC! The additional payment we’re able to make is enormously helpful to FMSC and keeps our partnership strong.

Also, we recently learned where the food we packed in the spring was distributed:

05/07/2019 Jamaica Food for the Poor 54,432 meals 252 boxes
05/07/2019 Mozambique Reach Now International 93,212 meals 432 boxes
05/08/2019 Jamaica Food for the Poor 272,160 meals 1,260 boxes
05/09/2019 Haiti Food for the Poor 217,728 meals 1,008 boxes
05/10/2019 Jamaica Food for the Poor 116,640 meals 540 boxes
05/30/2019 Romania Orphan Grain Train, Inc. 7,128 meals 33 boxes
  • Food for the Poor (FFTP) links the church of the First World with the church of the Third World in a manner that helps both the materially poor and the poor in spirit. FFTP has distributed FMSC meals through its extensive network of partner organizations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
  • Reach Now International (RNI) reaches orphans, refugees, internally displaced people, those affected by war, governmental situations, poverty, persecution and other natural conditions and calamities with the gospel and practical help. RNI has distributed FMSC meals in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East to serve these populations.

So, again, THANK YOU generous and faithful followers of Jesus for living into our shared mission Filled by God’s grace, we feed the hungry in heart, body, mind and spirit, and making it possible for more children to live and flourish!

Apostles Library Book Review:
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Silver Sparrow has much to offer for summer reading. To begin with, you realize this book is going to be a page turner from the very first sentence – “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist”. Soon you realize that this bigamist and his two families don’t live in another place or another time but in 1980’s Atlanta. Then you realize that the story is told in two voices, those of his two daughters, Dana and Chaurisse, young women who are the same age but only one of whom knows the whole story while the other lives a shadowed life.

When the two daughters become friends one can sense that heartbreak lies ahead. This is a book that begs you to put yourself into the story but a story which is very different from that of your own everyday life. Yes, there are still bigamists and yes, their families do suffer the consequences. You will be amazed at the strength of the women, young and older, in this story. This book is well written and asking for empathy from the reader.

Among the Congregation

Hospitalized: Sue Lange; Fran Mason.

Sympathy to: the family of Randy Erickson on his death; Matt Dion and family on the death of his father; Liz Ostlund and family on the death of her father; the family of Van Linck on her death; Tami Zunker and family on the death of her father; Amy Hemstad and family on the death of her father.

Recently Baptized: Ava Sol, daughter of Stacy and Thomas Chouinard; Charles LeRoy, son of Kiley and Dustin Van Horn; Emmett James, son of Leah and Randy Miller; Lu Liang, daughter of LongFeng Yang and Huaming Liang; Clara Faith and Greta Hope, daughters of Megan and Matthew Schornstein; Jonah Dennis and Max Michael, sons of Megan and Daniel Sailsbury.

Recently Married: Nick Wellen and Lu Liang.

Summer Giving

Getting away during the summer is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the nice weather. Previously, this could make regular giving more difficult, but with electronic giving options it’s easy to contribute remotely. You can donate online or make a contribution with a text. For more information about electronic giving, click here. Thank you for your faithful generosity!


Prayer and Blessing Service for Caregivers
Wednesday, June 19, 7:00 p.m. at Incarnation in the Sanctuary
This service is a time to pray, receive a blessing and simply rest. It is a time to hear messages of comfort and reflect on how God is part of this journey. Whether you are a parent, a child caring for a parent or a friend walking alongside a friend, come for renewal. Whether you offer care as a family member, professional or volunteer, come for a blessing. Click here to learn more.

It’s Back! – Tons of Love 2019
June 30 – August 4
Tons of Love returns to Incarnation June 30 – August 4 and the challenge is to beat Incarnation’s previous record of over 10,825 lbs. of food/supplies and $17,041 collected for the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf in July 2018. Lists of suggested items for each week will appear on the website and will be highlighted in other communications. Drop donated items within “best used by” dates in the Ralph Reeder box in the Atrium and the Gathering Space. Also, plan to shop at the Arden Hills Cub Foods on Sunday, July 21 to help fill a trailer of donations. Learn more and/or volunteer to help with various parts of Tons of Love by clicking here.

Snowbirds Small Group
Seven Tuesdays, 7 – 8:30 p.m., June – August
Connect with others who are in Minnesota for the summer while growing in your faith. This small group will gather for conversations and learning around a faith study written at Incarnation, Connecting in Grace: Filled by God’s Grace. Meet other snowbirds and go deeper in your understanding of values at the heart of our faith: grace, relationships, discovery, service and more. Leaders: Beth Hanson and Ron Sermon. Suggested contribution: $10. To register, contact Denise Floe.

Creative Journaling (Children, Youth and Family)
July 9 and 10 from 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Creative Journaling is a wonderful way to connect with God’s word. As youth participate in creating a journal and personalizing it with scriptures and designs, they will be guided each day on how to use their journal in their daily lives. This is a wonderful opportunity for children who have completed 4th grade through 6th grade. The cost is $25 per child, please register by July 3.

Incarnation Office and Building Holiday Hours
The Incarnation Office will be closed July 4th and July 5th and will resume summer office hours Sunday, June 15. Now through August 30, the Incarnation Office and building will be closed on Fridays at 12:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, the Incarnation Office will be open from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sundays 8:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Slice of Shoreview Parade
July 27
Incarnation has a float in the Slice of Shoreview parade! We will be handing out beach balls on July 27. You’re invited to bring your scooters, rollerblades, wagons and wear a good pair of walking shoes to be part of this fun morning (limited number of spots for seating on the trailer). Sign up in the Incarnation Office or online.

Pastor Kai Welcome Hosts Needed!
Incarnation is looking for volunteers to host group gatherings, preferably on Mondays, July – November. These get-togethers would provide an opportunity to get to know Pastor Kai and welcome him to the Incarnation community. Contact Emily Schwieters at for more information.

Did you get rid of your landline?
Have you recently switched to using your cell phone as your main phone line? Please let Shelly Maesse know so she can update your contact information in the church database. Thank you!