Weekly News & Notes from Incarnation

News & Notes - May 3, 2020
The Fourth Sunday of Easter
Services Online at  10:00 a.m.
(see below for details)
From the Rector:  Feeding on Jesus

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35)

Dear friends,

One of the most difficult parts of this coronavirus-induced separation is being forced to go without the Holy Eucharist.

Under ordinary circumstances, as we share the hallowed food and drink of communion each week, we renew our tangible connection with one another as the Body of Christ and with Jesus as the Head of that Body. Right now our unity is no less real, but we cannot come together to enact it in that same tangible way.

Episcopal churches are responding to this situation in different ways. Here at Incarnation, during our first week when public services were canceled, I made the decision that we would not celebrate the Eucharist with just a small group while the rest of the congregation watched online. Since then we've been keeping Sundays with the Liturgy of the Word. However, some congregations have chosen to continue celebrating the Eucharist with just a few people present. In this case, those at home are invited to pray along and make an act of spiritual communion as those present receive the sacrament.

I think both these practices can be done with integrity. They represent two principles we usually take for granted. The first is that the Eucharist is the church's common meal, that there is in a very real sense no such thing as a private Eucharist, and that there is something not right about a Eucharist to which the congregation isn't invited to be present. The second is that the Eucharist is our principal celebration of Sundays, and that there is something not right about a Sunday without the Eucharist.  Right now congregations are forced to choose between one of those principles and the other.

Thank God, that will not always be the case--but it's our current reality. And so right now we are leaning into the first of those two principles, and no Eucharist has been celebrated at Incarnation since March 6. The Body and Blood of Christ from that service remain in their place of honor in the tabernacle, the sanctuary light burning quietly above them, waiting for us to come to the altar again.

Last week the Worship Committee talked this over. A few members felt that they would appreciate seeing the Eucharist celebrated, even if they couldn't be there, and would have no difficulty praying along with the celebration and making a spiritual communion. However, the stronger consensus was that, if only a few people can be present, we should continue to refrain from celebrating the Eucharist, instead leaning more deeply into our shared sense of eucharistic hunger and yearning until all of us can share it together again.

Frankly, it may be a moot point at the moment. My reading of our county's shelter-in-place order makes it clear that we're expected not to gather even in small groups for now. I will not celebrate a Eucharist at home with just me and my family. Even as restrictions begin to lessen, it may be some time before we can gather a group together at church. Perhaps gatherings in tens or twenties will be possible before larger ones. As things develop, we will explore whether we can find ways to celebrate the Eucharist and get the Sacrament appropriately and safely to everyone who wishes to receive it.

In the meantime, the church has a long and venerable tradition that insists it is possible to feed on Jesus spiritually even when we can't do so sacramentally. The 2008 Episcopal Prayer Book for the Armed Services recommends "A Prayer for Communion with Christ" for times when it isn't possible to receive Communion on a Sunday:

In union, O Lord, with your faithful people at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is now being celebrated, I desire to offer to you praise and thanksgiving. I remember your death, Lord Christ; I proclaim your resurrection; I await your coming in glory. Since I cannot receive you today in the Sacrament of your Body and Blood, I beseech you to come spiritually into my heart. Cleanse and strengthen me with your grace, Lord Jesus, and let me never be separated from you. May I live in you, and you in me, in this life and in the life to come. Amen. 

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 11 through 14 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 John the Baptist's question about whether Jesus is really the Messiah; Jesus' call to "Come to me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest"; famous parables like the one about the mustard seed; the story of Jesus miraculously feeding the crowd with a few loaves and fishes; and more.

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 #) .
Coming Right Up...
May 4 - 31, daily: Announcing a new 28-day Living Compass eRetreat -  Contemplative Practices and Well-Being
From May 4-31, 2020, we will be offering a new eRetreat on "Contemplative Practices and Well-Being." This retreat will consist of 28 daily reflections that will invite us to reflect on how contemplative practices can enhance all aspects of our well-being. Participants will be introduced to several practices and will have the opportunity to share their own experiences and practices, too. This retreat will be led by Robbin Brent, Jan Kwiatkowski, and Scott Stoner.
The retreat will happen via a private Incarnation Facebook group. You will need to join the new group to be part of the Contemplative Practices and Well-Being retreat. A link to join the group can be found below in the comment section. Please note that while you can join the new group now, it will be dormant until May 1. Also note that the only way to get the daily reflections for this eRetreat will be in the group--there will not be daily emails. Participants are welcome to join in the discussion, or simply read along and learn from what others share.
You can join this retreat by clicking HERE.
This Coming Week... 
Sunday, May 3
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
3:00 pm Family, Faith, & Fellowship Gathering:  For zoom details, email  

Monday, May 4
9:00 am - Welcome Committee Meeting: Zoom
Living Compass eRetreat: Contemplative Practices and Well-Being

Tuesday, May 5
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 
6:30 pm - Vigil Gathering in memory of Rebecca Gbasha: Zoom

Wednesday, May 6
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 7
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 8

Saturday, May 9
7 am to 8:30 am - Open Table Prep

Sunday, May 10
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...

Dear friends,

This week we have a few offerings to continue to feed your soul. We have a note of hope from Reverend Scott Stoner of Living Compass as well as an invitation to a 28 day online retreat. We have offered many Living Compass Series here at Incarnation, they will be offering up some more of their incredible wisdom and guidance during this time of need.Sign up information in the Coming Right up Section. For those of you who are interested in the Gospel of Mathew, our Diocesan Book club. There is an extra treat.You can read about that below. As I have said before and will say again. I'm praying for you, I'm here for you, if there is anything you need or your looking for a little more Spiritual Formation just reach out and let me know. I'm here to help.

May the peace of the Lord be always with you
Daphne Vernon, Director of Spiritual Formation
Flattening the Curve of Change and Instability
Note from the diagram that the vertical axis of the J curve is "Stability," while the horizontal access is "Resilience/Growth." When change occurs in our lives, the graphic shows that stability begins to decline. When change is significant-a move, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or as now, experiencing a pandemic, the decline in stability can be steep.

One natural reaction to a sudden experience of instability is, "I want to go back. If only I could go back to the way things were, everything would be okay." A second common reaction is "I want this uncertainty to be over NOW--I want to be on the other side of the "J" curve as quickly as possible," even if it means trying to minimize or deny the significance of what is currently happening.
While these two responses are natural, we soon realize that we can't go back, and we also cannot force or rush the resolution of what we are going through. There are, fortunately, choices we can make that will significantly affect how deep our J curve experience will be.
We are quite familiar now with the term, "Flatten the curve," and so here are four specific things we can do to flatten any J curve. Click HERE.
Every one of us is experiencing some degree of change and instability, some degree of a J curve right now. None of us planned for or chose this particular pandemic J curve. We can, however, make choices that will help to flatten the curve by practicing the things I have outlined here.
Easter: Resurrection  as a Spiritual  Practice. Naming the Days Feature by  Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, an event many consider to be the centerpiece of their faith. But Easter is more than just a day. What happens when we think of it as a verb? Then the resurrection becomes a spiritual practice in daily life. 

Megan McKenna, the prolific and profound Catholic writer, saw it this way when she was leading a Bible study. She shares the following vignette in her book Not Counting Women and Children: Neglected Stories from the Bible.

"Once in a parish mission when I was studying this scripture (Luke 7: 11-17) with a large group, someone called out harshly, 'Have you ever brought someone back from the dead?' I had been saying that life happens when we are interrupted, and that some of the most powerful acts of resurrection happen to the least likely people; that we are the people of resurrection and hope, called to live passionately and compassionately with others, to defy death, to forgive, and to bring others back into the community, to do something that is life-giving, that fights death and needless suffering. And then this challenge from the back of the church.

"My response was 'Yes.' I went on to say, 'Every time I bring hope into a situation, every time I bring joy that shatters despair, every time I forgive others and give them back dignity and the possibility of a future with me and others in the community, every time I listen to others and affirm them and their life, every time I speak the truth in public, every time I confront injustice - yes - I bring people back from the dead.' "

For a list of spiritual practices, click HERE.
Movie Recommendation: The Gospel of Matthew
I hope you all have gotten off to a good start on our book club reading the  Gospel of Matthew. For those of you who are movie buffs or like going deeper there's a great series of the Gospel streaming on  Netflix. It's the Gospels word for word in movie format. Check it out!

The Apostle Matthew is highlighted in this word-for-word film adaptation of the former tax collector's Biblical writings about working with Jesus.
Starring:Selva Rasalingam, Mourad Zaoui, El Mahmoudi M'Barek.

- Daphne Vernon
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...
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
A gentle reminder ...
Just a reminder to all of us that the church campus remains closed while we are under the current shelter-in-place order. Rise and Shine Day Care is still operating on weekdays; sexton Eric Ramsey, who lives on site, is maintaining the property; and staff members may make trips to the church campus to handle essential tasks for minimum operations or retrieve items needed to work from home. Open Table volunteers may also be on campus to cover essential tasks for that ministry. Our parish administrator, Alison Cole, may authorize additional volunteers to assist with minimum church operations as needed. It is hard to be away from our beloved place of worship and fellowship, but this is how we can best serve our community for now. Thanks to everyone for helping us keep ourselves and our neighbors safe.
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.
Eucharistic Visitor Ministry
As with many of our ministries at Church of the Incarnation, our Eucharistic Visitor practices and procedures have changed dramatically during the past few weeks.  At this time we cannot take the eucharist to those we had regularly been visiting.  Instead, our dedicated EVs are making friendly phone calls and offering prayers of support to our parishioners who were home-bound  prior to these sheltering-in-place days.  Our team greatly looks forward to the time when we can return to our ministry and share the eucharist with those who long for that special connection to our parish family.
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.
Resources for Older Adults: Sonoma County Area 
Agency on Aging  ( extract from Human Services Dept. email)
For food Resources for older adults in Sonoma County please click here. This is information shared on behalf of the County of Sonoma's Human Services Department's Adult & Aging Division's Area Agency on Aging program. Also, we welcome your support in spreading the message about services available to older adults in your faith-based community. We know there is a great deal of need both for connection and nutrition and we are doing everything we can to ensure awareness of and access to services.
Online resources for people in recovery
Isolation is perilous for people in recovery. We learn that our sobriety depends upon keeping connected to sober people, being accountable to others, being of service to others. Read more from Rev. Anne...
News From the Bookstore
New Book by Frank Baumgardner
There is a new book out on the California gold rush, published in March, 2020, entitled Golden Dreams.  It is a collection of true stories written by 49ers themselves from 1850-1853. Frank Baumgardner has been at work on this study for approximately the past five years. It is now available on Amazon,   Click HereIt can also be ordered from Barnes & Noble,  Click Here , or, once the CV-19 shelter-in-place order is over, from the Incarnation Church bookstore.

Or, if  you would like to support the Church of the Incarnation you can purchase a copy from the Bookstore and have it delivered.  If interested please contact Linda Sevier, our book store manager, at sevierlinda@gmail.com  or by text, 949-280-9797 to make arrangements.  Book price from the bookstore is $18 plus tax.
Your prayers are requested
for members and friends of the parish  who are sick, sorrowful, or in any kind of trouble, including Tyler Fleming, 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: Dan 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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