Lifetimes: March 2021

Watch your email for more details on how to watch the livestream worship services or how to register for in-person worship.

Lent 2021: Relational Resilience

The Lenten banner (shown below) is in shades of violet, the traditional Lenten color signifying sorrow and repentance. The cross and spikes are tools of the crucifixion. Five red spikes represent the wounds of Jesus (hands, feet, side).

Wednesday Webinar Worship and After Conversations

Wednesday webinar worship will be from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. and the after conversations will be from 7:30 – 8:00 p.m. on Zoom so that everyone can participate safely from 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
March 10: Our Relationship with Ourselves: Part 2—Grief/Conflict/Forgiveness/Gratitude
March 17: Our Relationship with the World—Living with Purpose
March 24: Our Relationship with Others—Loving the “Other”

Click here for more detailed information about Wednesday webinar worship and how to join the webinars or the after conversations on Zoom.

Spiritual Practices Guide and Lenten Blessing Guide

In addition to Sunday and Wednesday worship services, this Spiritual Practices Guide and Lenten Blessing Guide are designed to help guide you on an inward and outward journey of faith and discover inner strength, rooted and grounded in love, as Christ and his Spirit dwell within.

Download the Spiritual Practices Guide here.
Download the Lenten Blessing Guide here.

Wooden “Clinging” Prayer Crosses – Thank You, Incarnation Wood Workers!

As a gift to the Incarnation faith community, some of the Incarnation Wood Workers created and donated wooden clinging crosses for people to use while they pray. The shape of the crosses are made to fit naturally into your hand as you pray, read the Bible, or use a devotional. Clinging crosses may be picked up inside Door #1 during office hours of Monday – Thursday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., while supplies last.

Welcome to Worship!: Online and In-Person

Incarnation is pleased to offer three ways to worship, beginning this Sunday, March 7.

  1. Livestreaming
    After a lot of preparation, livestreaming services will begin this Sunday! To start out with, there will be an alternating schedule of livestream services until we’re able to get enough equipment to livestream in both the Sanctuary (traditional worship) and Incarnation Hall (contemporary worship). We will be livestreaming to Incarnation’s Facebook and Youtube accounts for now, but will update you should platforms change.

Livestreaming Schedule
March 7 – 10:00 a.m.
March 14 – 8:45 a.m.
March 21 – 10:00 a.m.

2) Online Video
If you’re not able to worship during the livestream, don’t worry . . . after the livestream ends, the worship service will be saved and can be viewed as a video at any time thereafter. Again, you will be able to find the worship videos on Incarnation’s Facebook and Youtube accounts. Videos will also be uploaded to Incarnation’s Vimeo account, but won’t be available until the following Monday as this process is not yet automated.

3) In-Person
In-person worship is back, starting this Sunday, March 7! Services will be held in the Sanctuary at 8:45 a.m. and in Incarnation Hall at 10:00 a.m. and will have a limited capacity for seating so worshipers can space out to stay socially distanced. Registrations are encouraged, but you may also just show up at the time of your choosing to see if there’s any space available. For more information on how to register for worship, please click here. Face masks will be required for in-person worship, but if you forget to bring your own, there will be masks available for you to take.

Thankyou, Mask-Makers!
Incarnation has been very fortunate to have people step forward to create face masks for our community and to share with others. We extend a special thanks to Allison Claybaugh, Bonnie Moore, Grace Pitsenbarger and Jane Trapp for generously using their talents to create masks at the beginning of the pandemic that they then donated so that we may all be more safe as a faith community.

Feed My Starving Children MobilePack Trial Event Coming to Incarnation in April 2021! 

When Incarnation engages in ministry partnershipswe commit to supporting and praying for one another through everything we encounter. As the pandemic goes on for more months than most of us imagined, we watch and pray as many of our partners tilt and turn, pivot and shift, all so they can continue to serve their communities in the best ways possibleFor Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), this meant halting MobilePack events beginning in March of 2020, quickly turning to machine packing and then gradually opening permanent packing sites for meal packing in the summer with brand new safety protocols. 

Now, after several months of workplanning and prayer, coupled with lower COVID-19 cases and a vaccine hopefully in all of our futures, FMSC is ready to offer MobilePack events beginning this June–that is, with SIGNIFICANTLY different configurations and practices thabefore. To guarantee that the right processes, practices and configurations are in place to ensure safety and host successful MobilePack events starting in JuneFMSC has asked Incarnation to host a MobilePack Trial Event” in April, and we’ve said, YES! 

Our “yes” did not come lightly. Our decision was preceded by our own prayer and a number of conversations with Incarnation’s COVID Task Force, the Incarnation staff and with FMSC. We all want the same thing: to be assured of the best possible processes, practices and configurations to keep everyone safe while we produce meals for God’s beloved children. The Trial Event is scheduled for Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24, with set up on Thursday, April 22, and will be contained in the east section of the building, Incarnation Hall and adjacent areasWith socially distanced protocols, no more than 50 people will be packing in Incarnation Hall at one time; compare that to the old days, when we’d have as many as 360 packing in a single shift! People will register to pack in groups of five or less, with family or friends – their “COVID bubble”. Note that individuals within a bubble will not be socially distanced from one another. Each bubble will be assigned to a funnel with funnels appropriately distanced from one another. 

It can’t be said enough that this Trial Event will look and feel SIGNIFICANTLY different from what most of us are used to experiencing. Safety is a top priority. And it will be very good to be packing again together! 

As shared by Dave GunnlaugssonIncarnation’s FMSC MobilePack Advisor, “We are so excited to be back with the Incarnation community. You have been incredible partners for many years and in many ways feel like family. You are the perfect community to start MobilePack with again! We can’t wait to pack with you. Thank you for your willingness to join us during this exciting time of feeding God’s kids!” 

While Incarnation is not being asked to finance the meals packed during this event, you are invited to make a donation to Feed My Starving Children directly  or through Incarnation’s online giving site in support of the 2021 All Hands on Hope MobilePack Event scheduled for this fall. 

Much more information will be available soon and in the weeks leading up to this Trial Event including a registration link available beginning Sunday, March 7From now through the pack, your prayers are invited as FMSC and Incarnation plans and executesYou can also be thinking about who you’d like to invite to safely jump into this endeavor. We are grateful that our 12+ year partnership with FMSC has brought us to this place of deep trust and confidence in our shared work of feeding God’s children. 

Incarnation, the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition and Day on the Hill, March 11 

Last fall, at the request of the Incarnation Congregation Council, a task force was created to launch a ministry of racial and social justice at Incarnation. Charged to “imagine and co-create a better world” for our brothers and sisters of color, this Racial Justice Working Group continues to prayerfully consider how best to fulfill this mission. 

In the meantime, Incarnation has made a financial commitment to support this interfaith social justice work by becoming a Congregational Member of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC), a network that mobilizes religious communities to influence public policy in Minnesota. JRLC is a great way to use our voices to care for those who experience poverty and homelessness, support pathways out of homelessness and use our faith in action with compassion and for justice. The JRLC supports our engagement as faithful citizens and offers learning and opportunities for statewide social justice advocacy. 

JRLC is the largest and most inclusive interfaith public interest groups in Minnesota, and one of their most impactful annual events is Virtual Day on the Hill. This year’s event titled Make Justice Your Aim” will be held on Thursday, March 11 from 6:30  8:45 p.m., and youre invited! During this gatheringhundreds of faithful Minnesotans will examine justice for Minnesotans of color and those who are unsheltered in the context of COVID-19 vaccinespreparing participants to meet legislators to work for justice. 

To learn more about JRLC and its priorities in 2021, and to register to participate in Day on the Hill, visit the JRLC website. If you have additional questions about JRLC or Day on the Hillcontact Joan Miltenberger, JRLC state wide organizer. To learn more about Incarnation’s initial steps into this endeavor, contact Incarnation member, Don Martin. 

With Change Comes Opportunity

By Erin Thorstad, Director of Communications

Without a doubt, Incarnation has seen many transitions in the past few years: saying goodbye to former staff and pastors, saying hello to new staff and a new senior pastor, bringing worship online, updating programming, navigating the pandemic, advancing our technology . . . there has been a lot of change!

With change comes opportunities to grow and out of many conversations around “what does the future of Incarnation look like?” and in the process of seeking to redevelop our website to be more user friendly and inviting, the opportunity to update our branding arose.

By branding, I mean what our outward visual representation looks like: logo, color palette, typography, etc. I’m excited to tell you that Incarnation has hired a professional designer who specializes in this area to help us create an updated brand for us.

A small group of people from Incarnation have been invited into the process, based on their familiarity with the community and their educational and professional backgrounds in visual arts, design and communications. Together, we will work with the designer to create a brand that feels authentic to Incarnation, is visually appealing and gives first time guests a hint about who we are.

As we continue to ask ourselves, “what does the future of Incarnation look like?”, we can look forward to visually putting our best foot forward with an updated brand and website in the months to come.

What is Smishing and Why Do You Need To Know?

It has recently come to Incarnation’s attention that there are members receiving fake text messages from staff asking for donations. “Smishing” is like “phishing” – a scam using a false identity to trick the victim into revealing personal or financial information over email – but smishing uses text. By using the identity of someone the victim may know, it creates a false sense of security to trick the victim into thinking there’s no need for alarm.

Here is an example of texts a member received:

The member recognized that something was strange about Pastor Kai asking them to purchase gift cards on Incarnation’s behalf and contacted the office. Please know that neither the staff or pastors of Incarnation will ever ask you for donations out of the blue via text or email, outside of an official communications. If you’re ever uncertain as to the validity of a message coming from Incarnation, please contact the office (651-484-7213) or the Administrator and we will be happy to verify with you. Should you ever receive a suspicious message via email or text, please contact us so we may take appropriate action.

Apostle’s Library Book Review

Thou Shalt Not Be A Jerk! by Eugene Cho

Who could resist a title like Thou Shalt Not Be A Jerk! The book’s subtitle, A Christian’s Guide to Engaging Politics is most appropriate for ELCA members today following the recent 2020 publication of an ELCA Social Message titled “Government and Civic Engagement in the United States: Discipleship in a Democracy”. This message came with an excellent study guide and is being used in many synods and congregations to engage members with politics from our faith perspective.

The author, Eugene Cho, is the recently appointed president/CEO of Bread for the World and founder of One Day’s Wages. His passions involve leadership, justice, the whole Gospel and the pursuit of God’s kingdom here on earth.

Cho draws on biblical and historical examples as he explores how it is possible to find points of agreement with others and work for the common good, the difference between being passionate and mean spirited, and why politics should be an expression of our relationship with Christ. Perhaps most importantly, he shows ways to listen to each other, especially the vulnerable.


Click Here for Memorials


Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign
Minnesota FoodShare, the largest grassroots fundraiser and food drive in the state, brings people together to help restock food shelves statewide, including the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf. You’re invited to make financial donations on behalf of the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf through Incarnation’s online giving site or by writing a check to Incarnation with “food shelf” in the memo, any time now – April 11. A portion of all donations made will be matched by Minnesota FoodShare.

Incarnation is currently not collecting physical food or hygiene items for the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf; however, if you wish to donate physical items, you may drop them off directly at the food shelf. Click here to learn more.

Pathways Panel for Congregational Engagement in Racial Equity
On Saturday, March 6 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. learn about racial equity work that some of the Saint Paul Area Synod congregations are doing. Panelists will share how they got started as they sought pathways to participate, plan and develop work promoting racial equity and justice. There will be small group sessions with each panelist; select your top choices when registering. This is a free event hosted by the synod’s Advocates for Racial Equity public witness work group. Click here to register.

Kairos: 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.

Kairos: March 22 – A Walk with God, Study Abroad, and what the Future May Hold!
Kendrick Hall, Luther Seminary graduate, will talk about his call, his work for justice and his one-year internship in Nigeria. Kendrick commented that in his life he has worked through the lens of being saved by faith not by sight. He served the ELCA as a Hunger Justice Advocate in a deployed position at Lutheran Advocacy Minnesota. Growing up in inner city Minneapolis, he was a community activist and youth developer. He will also address the question of what the future may hold.

Learn more about Kairos.

Saturday Morning Guided Retreat: Love
Participate in a 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

I AM Yoga Zoom Sessions
Led 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, March 22 – May 24, via Zoom
Mat Yoga: 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Chair Yoga: 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
10 sessions: $70, Drop-in: $10
Checks payable to Tina Zerrath

First Communion Milestone
The First Communion Milestone is for 1st – 5th graders and is Incarnation’s version of First Communion Preparation. This is offered in-person at Incarnation. Only one parent or other significant adult attends with each child. Masks will be required to be worn the whole time. The next session is March 28, 1st – 2nd Grade meets at 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., 3rd Grade and older meets at 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Click here for more information on how to register.

Small Group: Being a Prophet in Modern Times
Biblical prophets spoke truth to power and the people, pointing out not-always-popular issues. The issues of today need prophets to champion them, and everyone can speak for those without a voice and promote change. Participants will discuss the book, The Time is Now by Joan Chittister and the role of prophets in the past and today. This small group is once a week on five Thursdays from 1 – 2:30 p.m., starting April 15. Leaders: Cindy Spellman and Linda Brynjulfson. Click here for more information. Register via email here:

Summer Camp Volunteers
Children’s Ministry is offering two onsite camps this summer which translates to needing many people of all ages to serve in various capacities. The link will show you the needs there are for Vacation Bible School and the needs will continue to grow with the Garden Camp in July: Volunteers-Needed-for-2021-with-descriptions.pdf ( If you have any questions, please contact Rebecca Christiansen.

Children’s Ministry Dream Team
This new Children’s Ministry Dream Team will be made up of six to eight people with diverse demographics and perspectives. If you are excited about collaborating with God’s guidance to strategize and road map our ministry to children and their families, please contact Rebecca Christiansen via email or 651-560-7086.