Weekly News & Notes from Incarnation

News & Notes - May 10, 2020
The Sixth Sunday of Easter
Services Online at  10:00 a.m.
(see below for details)
From the Rector: Baby Steps

Dear Friends,

The COVID-19 crisis is far from over. As Winston Churchill famously said, "This is not the end; it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." The social distancing we have been doing for the past seven weeks is making a difference. We are past the first moment of crisis. And yet it is not safe to return to what we thought of, before March, as "normal." What lies ahead of us over the next several months is a long, multi-phased journey.
This week Governor Newsom announced that he expects to announce some modest but real changes in our statewide shelter-in-place orders soon. In Sonoma County, certain businesses are being allowed to expand their operations somewhat. Meanwhile, Bishop Megan has asked congregations in our diocese to continue online-only worship through at least the end of May, and very possibly longer-but also to begin planning for a phased return to our buildings when this becomes possible.
Even when this happens, our Sunday gatherings will still not look like "regular church" for quite some time. We may be severely limited in numbers permitted to gather. We will likely need to wear masks and maintain distance among people. We'll need to plan for cleaning and sanitizing between services. We may want to think creatively about how to distribute Communion, once we are celebrating the Eucharist again. Perhaps that might include distributing the sacrament to smaller house gatherings if those are permitted while we are still not able to gather everyone at the church. Again, all this remains some way into the future-we are not talking about now, but about the months that lie ahead. For now, we are taking baby steps.
One baby step is possible now. One of the changes to our local Sonoma County orders this week is that faith-based organizations have now been added to the list of essential businesses for the purpose of hosting religious services through online streaming. With that in mind, I'm planning to begin leading Sunday services from the church again, rather than from home. That may happen as early as this Sunday if Eric, the altar guild, and I can work out the logistics, or it may take another week or so. Even though we can't be there together, I think there is value both for us as a congregation and for our neighborhood-our parish, in the full sense of that word-in knowing that prayer is being offered in that sacred space. I'll be the only person there, for now. Our worship will continue to take place on Zoom so that all of us can participate as fully as possible from wherever we are.
At Bishop Megan's request, I'm also starting to gather a team of staff and lay leaders to serve as our parish Task Force on Re-Gathering. This group will help us think through the logistical issues that lie ahead, with our core commitment to God's mission foremost in our decision-making. We will not rush. Even as state and county standards relax over time, we may not necessarily change what we are doing that very instant. It will take us time to figure out how to do church safely in what may end up being several very different ways over the year or two ahead. But, with God's Spirit guiding us, I believe our congregation will emerge from this time of separation with our love for one another and our neighbors deepened.
God bless you this week. Stay safe, be kind, and don't hesitate to be in touch.

In Christ's love,
Online Worship Services
Although our church building is closed, our worship continues. Using technology, we can gather from wherever we may be and join together in the Word and in prayer.  Right now we are worshiping using Zoom, a program that lets us see one another's faces and hear one another's voices. You can use Zoom from a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. If you don't have internet access, you can also dial in by phone to hear the service.
Here's more on how to use Zoom.
Sunday Services, 10:00 a.m.
  • To dial in: Call (669) 900-9128. Enter meeting ID code: 997 787 434 #.
Tuesday and Thursday Evening Prayer, 5:30 p.m.
  • To dial in: Call (669) 900-9128 and enter the meeting ID code: 978 442 160 #.
We are also livestreaming each Zoom service on our Facebook page, so as long as the technology cooperates, you can also watch the service on Facebook, and it will be archived there for viewing later in case you're not able to join in live.
Sunday, 9:00 am: Gospel of Matthew
This week we continue the "Good Book Club" challenge, reading through the Gospel of Matthew together with our diocese and other Episcopalians around the world. Our readings this week cover chapters 14 through 18 of Matthew's Gospel. For the full schedule of readings together with each day's text, see goodbookclub.org/readings/.
This week we'll read about the mysterious story of Jesus walking on water; the Canaanite woman who expands Jesus' own understanding of his mission; a second miracle of loaves and fishes; and Peter's proclamation for the first time that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. We'll also read about how, immediately afterward, Peter tries to convince Jesus not to undergo the suffering ahead, and Jesus rebukes him: "Get behind me, Satan! You are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things." Peter's understanding of Jesus was still that of a great human leader-but Jesus would be something more. Next we'll read the story of the Transfiguration, when Jesus is revealed as God's Son, shining in dazzling light, in a foretaste of the glory to come after the Resurrection. Our week's readings close with the fourth of the five teaching discourses in Matthew's gospel, known as the Discourse on the Church, which includes the powerful promise that "when two or three are gathered in my name, I am there."
We'll have a Rector's Forum on Sunday at 9:00 to discuss this week's readings. Simply join the same Zoom meeting we use for Sunday services: visit https://zoom.us/j/997787434, or dial in by phone at (669) 900-9128 (meeting ID: 997 787 434 #).
This Coming Week... 
Sunday, May 10 
Readings:    Acts 7:55-60, 1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-14, Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16  
7 am - 8:30 am - Open Table's Breakfast
9:00 am - Good Book Club, Gospel of Matthew Discussion: Zoom (see above)
10:00 am - Sunday Service:  Zoom or  Facebook

Monday, May 11
9:00 am - Welcome Committee Meeting: Zoom
Living Compass eRetreat: Contemplative Practices and Well-Being

Tuesday, May 12
11:00 am to 12:15 pm - Tuesday Book Study Group: Zoom  RSVP for Zoom details to dvernon@incarnationsantarosa.org
  5:30 pm - Evening Prayer: Zoom 

Wednesday, May 13
4:00 pm - Children's Christian Formation 
RSVP for Zoom details to  dvernon@incarnationsantarosa.org
6:00 pm - Alleluia Choir: Zoom 
7:00 pm to 8 pm - Anam Cara: Psalm & Silence. For Zoom details, email  anamcara@incarnationsantarosa.org

Thursday, May 14
9:00 am to 11:00 am - Education for Ministry (EfM): Zoom
5:30 pm - Evening Prayer: Zoom 
6:00 pm - St. Cecilia Choir:  Zoom 

Friday, May 15

Saturday, May 16
7 am to 8:30 am - Open Table Prep

Sunday, May 17  
7 am - 8:30 am - Open Table's Breakfast
10:00 am - Sunday Service: Zoom  or Facebook
3:00 pm Family, Faith, & Fellowship Gathering: For zoom details, email 
From the Director of Spiritual Formation...
New Book Suggestion: The Book of Longings
If you've ever read any of Sue Monk Kidd's books you know you're in for a treat when a new one comes out. If you have not had the chance to read Sue Monk Kidd now is a great opportunity with this new book.

An extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny, from the celebrated number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings.

In her mesmerizing fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. She engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything.

Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary. Ana's pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to Rome's occupation of Israel, partially led by her brother, Judas. She is sustained by her fearless aunt Yaltha, who harbors a compelling secret. When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she finds refuge in unexpected surroundings. Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history.

Grounded in meticulous research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus's life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring, unforgettable account of one woman's bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place and culture devised to silence her. It is a triumph of storytelling both timely and timeless, from a masterful writer at the height of her powers.

"Now and Then" Podcast
In this week's episode of Now & Then, we look at "What Henri Nouwen can offer us in the midst of this pandemic?" Author and Nouwen archivist Gabrielle Earnshaw shares with host Karen Pascal, the answers she has found in The Return of the Prodigal Son. Podcast
The Kingdom of God is Within You
The Jesus Prayer, or any other prayer form, is meant to be a help to gently empty our minds from all that is not God, and offer all the room to him and him alone. But that is not all. Our prayer becomes a prayer of the heart when we have localized in the center of our inner being the empty space in which our God-filled mind can descend and vanish, and where the distinctions between thinking and feeling, knowing and experience, ideas and emotions are transcended, and where God can become our host. "The Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21), Jesus said. The prayer of the heart takes these words seriously. When we empty our minds from all thoughts and our hearts from all experiences, we can prepare in the center of our innermost being the home for the God who wants to dwell in us. Then we can say with St. Paul, "I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). Then we can affirm Luther's words, "Grace is the experience of being delivered from experience." And then we can realize that it is not we who pray, but the Spirit of God who prays in us.

- Henri Nouwen
Here are some of the regular ongoing spiritual formation activities at Incarnation:

Tuesday Book Study Group will be reading The Time is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage, by Joan Chittister. Meets weekly on Tuesdays starting April 28 - May 26 from 11:00 am-12:15 pm.  RSVP for Zoom details to dvernon@incarnationsantarosa.org
EfM (Education for Ministry): Thursdays, 9-11:15 am. Registration opens in May. New to EfM? Please click here to find out what i t's  all about. http://efm.sewanee.edu/about-efm/about-efm For more information contact,  dvernon@incarnationsantarosa.org
Worship: Zoom and Facebook
Evening Prayer - Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30pm
Holy Eucharist - Sunday, 10:00 am

Please take note...
Tech team members needed
Are you Zoom-savvy? Facebook-competent? Web-enabled? Because so much of our church life is happening online right now, we need a crew of people with computer skills for a number of tasks. One is helping run the technical aspects for online Sunday services. We need people who can run bulletin slides and cue up music, and others who can "ride herd" on the Zoom call, muting and unmuting mics as needed. Another task is helping parishioners who may not be as familiar with technology. Some folks can use a hand with e-mail, Facebook, Zoom, or other technologies in order to help them participate in church life (as well as connect with family members, friends, and other community groups).

If you're willing to lend your time and abilities to either of these tasks, or to helping with other tech-oriented things, please contact Stephen at sshaver@incarnationsantarosa.org. This is a way to make a real difference in helping serve our church and our neighbors right now!
Supporting One Another in Hard Times
Have you been affected financially by the COVID crisis? Many in our community have lost employment or income during the current quarantine situation. As a Christian community, part of our mission is to care for one another and our neighbors in tangible ways.
Maybe you could use some groceries. Maybe you need some help with a rent or mortgage payment or a utility bill. If you could use a hand, please don't remain silent-we have some resources that can help!

Our parish has a Disaster Relief Fund that is available to assist anyone in the community-parishioners and non-parishioners alike-who has been affected by a disaster. In addition, the Rector's Discretionary Fund is available to help anyone in any kind of need. All requests are confidential. We may not be able to fix this crisis, but we can lend a hand in Christ's name.
To request financial support, or to learn more, please contact Pastor Stephen at sshaver@incarnationsantarosa.org or leave a message on his voice mail at (707) 579-2604
Neighbor Groups: Keeping Connected
  As we move through this shelter-in-place situation, it's more important than ever for our congregation to stay connected with one another. We experience deep connection at church - during worship, during coffee hour, in our numerous ministries, at myriad church functions, and in our personal relationships. Now we are tasked with keeping our congregation connected remotely.
It means reaching out, easing the feeling of segregation, helping one another feel spiritually, emotionally and socially connected; checking in with those who might otherwise be isolated, and in some cases, providing tangible support, like picking up groceries. More than anything, we need to nourish our relationships.
The parish Neighbor Group network has been created by Pastor Stephen, as a way to help keep us c onnected as a community.
There are thirty-seven Neighbor Groups, each consisting of six to seven households, grouped within a common geographic area. Each group is coordinated by a group facilitator who initiates and maintains weekly phone contact with each household and connects households with each other. Everyone in the group is encouraged to communicate with each other, too, in whatever way is most comfortable and convenient: phone, text, email, or video chat. Anyone may participate to whatever extent he/she is able and wants to, or may "opt out" of neighbor group participation.
The Neighbor Groups are active now. If you are already active in a group, terrific. If you have not yet been contacted by a group facilitator, or if you have questions about Neighbor Groups, please contact Alison in the parish office:   alison@incarnationsantarosa.org, or 7 07-579-2604.
Loving God, Your desire is for our wholeness and well-being.
We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world at this time.
We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.
We ache for ourselves and our neighbors, standing before an uncertain future.
We pray: May love, not fear, go viral.
Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good.
Help us to practice social distancing and reveal to us new and creative ways to come together in spirit and in solidarity.
Call us to profound trust in your faithful presence,
You, the God who does not abandon.
You may know how to find our church's public Facebook page ( http://facebook.com/IncarnationSantaRosa), but did you know we now also have a private Facebook group just for members and friends of Incarnation? While the public page is for posting liturgies and other material available to the general public, our new group is a place to share prayer requests, jokes, personal news, or anything else you want to share with fellow Incarnation members. You do need a Facebook account to join this group (you don't need one to see the public Incarnation page). To join, search for "Incarnationians" and request access to the group.
Your prayers are requested
for members and friends of the parish  who are sick, sorrowful, or in any kind of trouble, including Shelley, Eric, and Emily,  Lynn Garland, Bill Cordtz, Gary Hall, Amy Charron, Ben Franklin, Tricia, Melanie MacInnis, Sherrill Evans, Monique and Kirk Anderson, Theo Kennedy, Myrna Werder, Melvien Cortez, Eric and Diana Bates, Carolyn Coolidge Riggs, Lousie Stevens, Marjorie Thorsen, Jeff Buchman, Jurgen Konig, Carlene Pryor, Bruce Cronan, Marilyn Payne, Amanda Cortese, Cecilia Nackord, Jennifer Mann, Charles French, Charles Bobbitt, Keith Keller, Nancy Hanke, Wallace Look, and Sharon Cronan .

for those who have died: Wallace WellsDan Wagenet, Rebecca Gbasha, James Harrod,  Richard McGinniss,  Susan Hornung,  Dale Siela,  Megan Marlow, Randy Latorre, Alice LaFollette.

for the victims of COVID-19:  especially we pray for those affected by the COVID-19 virus, and for all who are in danger.

for our city, county, and community; the city council, the board of supervisors, for those who serve the common good in law enforcement and the courts.

click here for the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer.

click here for  the Anglican Cycle of Prayer.
Pastoral Care
Need Support?
If you know of anyone, including yourself, who could use a communion visit or a prayer, please call the church office (707-579-2604) or email alison@incarnationsantarosa.org. If you have a pastoral emergency after hours or on weekends, please call the church office (number above) and follow the prompts for the Priest-on-Call.
Diocesan Newsletter Signup

An easy way to keep abreast of the news around the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, especially during this challenging time, is to subscribe to its newsletter, the Diocesan e-News, which is delivered to your inbox on most Tuesday afternoons. Click here to be directed to their signup page.

They take your privacy seriously and do not share their lists with anyone; if you ask to be unsubscribed, by simply clicking on the unsubscribe link that is at the end of each newsletter, you will be taken off the list immediately. 

If you access your email by phone, you can text EDNC to 28828 and sign up by replying with your email. Subscribe today!

Church of the Incarnation
550 Mendocino Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95401

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