Lifetimes: May 2021

Seeing the Work of Bega Kwa Bega for the First Time

This article,written by Pastor Lwila, was published on April 12 by the St Paul Area Synod as a part of the Bega Kwa Bega Companion News. Through your generosity, Incarnation was able to provide nearly $20,000 in support toward 2021 secondary education of Mkwawa and Kigamboni youth, as well as other educational initiatives.

It has been an annual tendency of our offices to visit schools and sponsored students early in the year. The schools we visited this year are DIRA-owned schools of Bomalang’ombe, IpalamwaLutangiloPomerini, Image, and Mtera. Scholarship Clerk Frank Mkocha and I, as a new BKB-DIRA Coordinator, had a good time visiting the mentioned schools at the beginning of February. To me it was a new experience as I had never visited two of the schools, Lutangilo and Mtera. Also on our trip, we invited Pastor Lusungu Msigwa who was the BKB-DIRA Coordinator for almost 11 years. He was very helpful to me since he showed me how to do the checklist of students in schools.

A new experience for me was the special kind of welcome we received at each of them. I have experienced the heart of generosity from students, teachers, and non-teaching staff. We watched traditional dances and scout groups and heard songs and speeches from heads of schools and students.

The sponsored students were very thankful for the support they get through Bega Kwa Bega. When I saw their faces with tears of happiness, it proved to me that they appreciate what is offered to them. One special observation was at Mtera Lutheran High School where I met the students with special needs, like those who are blind. Really, the scholarship program is very important to studentsespecially these students of special needs. 

I also came to see the good work of buildings like classrooms, a multipurpose hall, laboratories, dormitories, libraries and administration blocks, together with many other good works done by this Companion Partnership of BKB-SPAS and BKB-DIRA. I really appreciate the work of God’s Kingdom done by you guys.

Joining the ministry of this partnership makes me feel good. I feel like I am serving God and I hope and believe that God will help me to continue working with you friends from the Saint Paul Area Synod in order to fulfill God’s Mission through Prayer, Presence and Projects.

In closing, I would like to present my thanks to the almighty God who helped us to visit all schools. Also, special thanks go to Pastor Lusungu Msigwa who showed me the way on this important work. People of BKB-SPAS receive our thanks, as well, for the support you are giving to these students of Africa who are from difficult environments. I know the money you are giving to these students is a seed planted in good soil, it will grow and produce fruits of blessings to your life as well to your offspring. 

May Peace and Joy be with you especially on this difficult season of Pandemic of COVID-19. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. 

Happy Easter Season with God’s Blessings,

-Pastor Lwila, BKB-DIRA Coordinator in Iringa, Tanzania

See Pastor Lwila’s Easter greeting on Facebook

Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) MobilePackTM Trial Event Recap

After months of careful planning and preparation, FMSC and Incarnation hosted a MobilePackTrial Event April 22-24, 2021. This event was intended to help FMSC plan and test new safety protocols for MobilePack; events which will be rolling out nationwide in June 2021. Incarnation has partnered with FMSC for 14 years and was asked to host this event and recruit volunteers. Overall, it was very successful and gave FMSC insight on how to safely and successfully return to MobilePack eventsIt was wonderful to host volunteers in our building and see everyone sporting hairnets again!

Number of Volunteers: 298
Number of Boxes: 396
Meals packed: 85,536
Kids fed for a year: 234
Destination for the meals we packed: Uganda

From Dave Gunnlaugsson, FMSC MobilePack Advisor,

“What an incredible weekend at Incarnation Lutheran Church. On behalf of FMSC and the MobilePack team we want to thank you for your amazing hospitality and partnership in this important calling. Working with Incarnation last weekend will be foundational for us as we work to relaunch MobilePack on June 1, 2021. I can’t imagine a better community to partner with and begin MobilePack again with. Thank you. Can’t wait for your event in October!”

Thanks to everyone who supported this experience whether as a volunteer, a financial supporter or someone who prayed for its success. This work couldn’t be done without your partnership. Also, mark your calendars for the last weekend of October 2021 when Incarnation will host its own All Hands on Hope FMSC MobilePack Event!

Quilting to Make a Difference

On May 9, Mother’s Day, quilts assembled by the Incarnation Quilting Women were displayed in the Sanctuary for worshipers to enjoy.  This year, finished quilts are being donated to: 

    • Global Health Ministries (for distribution to ELCA hospitals around the world) – 107 Quilts
    • Gillette Children’s Hospital – 104 Quilts
    • LifeHaven – 25 Quilts
    • Special Donations – 13 Quilts
    • This is a total of 249 quilts!!
Some quilts are sold each year around Mother’s Day so that the money from the purchases can be used to buy more materials to create the next batch of quilts.
Quilters are grateful for donated quilting fabric, solid colored sheets, and any volunteer help whether for one hour or a few days at home or at church.  The group meets for fellowship and work the 2nd and 3rd Thursdays at 9:00 a.m. in Grace Hall year round. New volunteers and a variety of skill levels are always welcome.

Apostles Library Book Review

The Bear and the Duck by May Angeli

The Bear and the Duck, written and illustrated by May Angeli, is not only a story of friendship and patience but also a good book to help understand the seasons and how different animals adapt to the changes the seasons bring. And all that in only a few short pages!

The illustrations are gentle and muted. Both Duck and Bear have distinct personalities; I loved Bear scratching himself, especially after hibernation, and declaring himself a fleabag! He’s as grumpy as you might wish a bear to be and Duck a bit quacky and self-centered but, boy are they friends!

Share this with a young person – or even read it yourself just for a gentle smile.

Click here to view the Memorials

Staff Updates

Rebecca Christiansen, Director of Children Ministries, will be on sabbatical leave from May 3 – August 2. The congregation council approved the request at their April 19th meeting. Please contact Pastor Joel Vander Wal with any questions.

Welcome Nate Bergengren
Incarnation has hired Nate Bergengren as the Formation Leader for Students and Families. Nate began church ministry after graduating from Gustavus Adolphus in 2003 and has served primarily in student ministry and worship leading roles. In his words, he has “landed Lutheran” after growing up in the charismatic tradition. He is currently finishing his M.A. in Christian Ministry at Luther Seminary. Nate will begin his full-time role at Incarnation in June and will be joined by his wife, Audrey and their two kids, Vivian and Carl.
Many of you know a little about Nate through his very part-time work at Incarnation these past years. This summer we will put together more opportunities to get to know him and the emerging vision for student ministries at Incarnation.


16th Annual Every Family Needs a Home Virtual Breakfast Video
If you missed the virtual Solid Ground fundraiser breakfast last Wednesday, you may still watch the Zoom video through May 13and be a part of Bringing Families Home! The video includes a keynote address by Stephanie Land, bestselling author of her memoire, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, a powerful testimonial from a Bre, a former Solid Ground participant, and an invitation for giving. 

Solid Ground Spring Shower
You are invited to participate in a Spring Shower for residents ofSolid Ground May 16 – June 6Simply purchase items from the list below and place them at the base of the large cross outside the Sanctuary so we can all see the growing mound of generosity and celebrate this important ministry partnership!If you’d prefer to make a financial contribution for the Spring Shower, write a check to Incarnation with “Solid Ground” in the memo or make an online donation through Incarnation’s secured online giving site, selecting “Solid Ground” from the pull down menu. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

New Items only:
Lamps:  sturdy floor, table, desk
Small end tables
Night lights for children and bathroom
Extension cords
Vacuum cleaners
Sponge mops
Flip-lid kitchen garbage cans
Mixing bowls
Baby/toddler plastic tableware sets (bowls, glasses, plates, silverware, etc)
Crib sheets

Office Project: New Carpets
Due to new carpets being installed, the front office space will be closed to foot traffic Thursday, May 6,through Thursday, May 13. Office staff will be available by phone during normal office hours (Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday 8 to 11 a.m.) but are not having guests in the office space during this construction window. Any groups that are scheduled to meet in the building during this time are still able to do so.  

Another Kind of Happy Hour
Another Kind of Happy Hour is a workshop designed to help increase the capacities within each of us to flourish in our lives and is based in scientific research and intersects with faith-based practices. It includes understanding what positive emotions are and how to cultivate them, optimism as a skill we learn, the importance of practicing gratitude, learning about our character strengths and how we use them to be more engaged in life, identifying and defining our meaning in life, and skills to make us better at all kinds of relationships. There will be a spring session and a fall session facilitated over Zoom. The spring session has two dates, May 20 from 6 – 8 p.m. and June 17 from 6 – 8 p.m., with the same content, so you only need to attend the date most convenient for you. Click here for more information and to register.

Thank you for Serving Solid Ground and Congratulations to Gil Hartley, 2020 Volunteer of the Year!
Each year at Solid Ground, hundreds of volunteers come together in support of Solid Ground families as they transition out of homelessness and into more fulfilling lives – and 2020 was no exception. Although programs looked different this past year, Solid Ground volunteers gave their community much to celebrate and be thankful for, and you were a large part of the volunteer baseHere’s a video recap of what Solid Ground was able to accomplish in 2020 thanks to their volunteers and supporters.

Also, congratulations to Incarnation’s own Gil Hartley who was named a Solid Ground 2020 Volunteer of the Year!

Memorial Day Weekend Sunday Worship
In honor of Memorial Day, there will be an outdoor in-person worship service on Sunday, May 30 at 10 a.m. This service will not be livestreamed, but there will be a prerecorded service available for you to enjoy from home. No need to RSVP for the in-person service as we will be outside. We look forward to seeing you there!

Memorial Day Service
There will be a Memorial Day service at the Incarnation cemetery on May 31 at 9:25 a.m., hosted by the Hugo Legion.

Summer Office Hours
Beginning June 1, the Incarnation Office will be open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. There will also be more staff working in-office at this time. If you need to meet with a staff member, we ask that you schedule meetings ahead of time as in-office schedules will vary. Masks and social distancing will continue to be required while in the building and in office areas.

Incarnation’s Contribution to Minnesota FoodShare 2021
Well done, Incarnation! Your contributions to the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf from January 1 – April 11, are a total of $30,890.00, which will be Incarnation’s contribution to MN FoodShare, a portion of which will be matched. While the actual match will not be known for a while, we do know that such a generous contribution will help the bonus dollars to be bigger! Thank you for your continued generous support of the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf and their mission to help feed the most vulnerable in our local community. 

Healing Our City, a Virtual Prayer Tent
Join others each morning at 8:00 a.m. via Zoom or the Healing Our City Facebook page tohear a reflection speaker from various faith traditions and engage in a 9 minutes and 29 seconds of silentreflection and prayer. The virtual prayer tent will continue through May 25, the anniversary of George Floyd’s murderHealing Our City is an initiative of the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement, to respond to and transform the pain experienced in Minneapolis, through prayer and actions leading to a more just, equitable and healthy city.

In-person Worship
Signup or Show Up
We’d Love to See You!
RSVP for in-person worship at 8:45 a.m. (traditional) or 10:15 a.m. (contemporary) for April 11, April 18 and April 25. To help keep those in worship safe, the number allowed in each space will be limited. Please call 651-484-7213 (ext. 105) or email to let us know you plan to attend. You may also just show up (doors will be open 20 minutes before service time) and see if there’s space for you. When you come to worship, you will check-in and proceed to the worship area. Masks are required for attendance and extra masks will be available if needed. If for some reason you aren’t feeling well, we encourage you to stay home and view our livestreamed service. Children are always welcome in worship. We offer activity bags that you can take with you when you leave.

Caring for others? Connect with 2nd Half with Lyngblomsten for support. 
Are you or someone you know helping a spouse, parent, friend, or neighbor with memory loss and you’re looking for support? Connect with 2nd Half with Lyngblomsten for help in navigating your caregiving journey. The 2nd Half with Lyngblomsten Caregiver Services team is available for telephone support, education, access to resources, support groups, caregiver coaching, an online group e-respite program for persons experiencing memory loss, and more. Due to the pandemic, The Gathering (in-person group respite program) continues to be temporarily suspended. For more information, contact them at (651) 632-5320 or
Our congregation is partnered in ministry with Lyngblomsten, a senior services organization whose 2nd Half with Lyngblomsten life enrichment centers are connecting adults ages 50+ to community services, resources, and opportunities for enhancing their quality of life.