Dear Friends in Christ,

I've often wondered if the reason God doesn't show us the future is because we might shrink back from the task at hand. When I assumed the role of Interim Priest in Charge last December, I obviously had no idea what 2020 would bring. If God had said, "You will shepherd this congregation through a global pandemic," I might have been like Moses at the burning bush -- "No, not me, God. There's no way!"

But of course with God, all things are possible (Matt. 19:26), and the work God sets before us often exceeds our current capacity to accomplish it. This has been and continues to be a year of growth for us all. Challenge and hardship are fertile ground for God to cultivate our character, conform us to Christ, and bring forth fruit in our lives that we might not even be able to see yet.

Our common life as a parish is no different, and there is much cause to celebrate growth and transformation -- both in what we've seen and what's on the horizon. These are just some of the ways God has been at work through Incarnation:
Our online presence grows increasingly robust.
We began streaming the Sunday 11:00 a.m. service right when the lockdown began, and Holy Week services soon followed. The look and feel of our streamed services is becoming more and more professionalized. We will soon be installing multiple cameras throughout the sanctuary along with a small studio as part of a comprehensive digital upgrade.

We have increased social media activity, including the creation of clergy video reflections -- one of which received nearly 800 views on Facebook.

We are in the process of creating a brand new website that will strengthen our reach and wider witness to the world.

We are securing enhanced Internet services, which will allow us to livestream all Incarnation worship services held in the sanctuary, as well as weddings, funerals, concerts and other events.
Thomas Reefer, Incarnation's Administrator and Videographer, prepares to record the Sunday 11:00 a.m. service.
We gather in Christian Community to support one another "face to face."
Since the onset of the pandemic, we've shifted Christian formation, small group ministries, fellowship opportunities, and eight weekly worship services online via Zoom.

From Children's Chapel to Compline, we've had over 100 people regularly participate in our various Zoom offerings, including parishioners and guests from across the country. 

As many participants will attest, these offerings are meeting a need for deepening friendships, pastoring the community, and spiritual connection to God and one other.
Fellowship follows Tuesday Morning Prayer and includes participants from FL, TN and PA!
We are finding ways to serve those in need.
We've been able to help ease the financial burden for parishioners who have lost their jobs and are experiencing other hardships.

We've found ways to continue our ministry with Moravian Open Door -- providing much needed cleaning supplies, personal notes of encouragement to residents, and help securing grant relief -- and have plans for more ways to serve their community this fall.

We began serving the hungry through volunteering with Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen and will be continuing to serve through the lunch program at Crossroads Community Services.

With the help of Deacon Denise LaVetty and strong lay participation, we launched a discernment process for developing a new Mission and Outreach initiative for the parish.
Parishioner Melissa Gordon volunteering at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.
We have begun a phased return to gathering in person.
We successfully resumed the Sunday 8:30 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist with effective safety precautions in place.

We intend to resume the Sunday 5:00 p.m. service of Candlelight Communion as the next step in our return to in-person worship. (Be sure to take this survey to indicate your interest in this service.)

We continue to expand our number of lay readers and ushers to meet in-person worship needs.

With continued guidance from the Vestry Reopening Committee, we are looking at ways we might safely use the Assembly Hall. In time and with improved Internet, this will include hybrid offerings that allow for people to participate either in person or via Zoom.
Worshiping safely at the Sunday 8:30 a.m. service.
The only way we can make these things possible is through the faithful generosity of this community. To be honest, in the spring I was worried that we would see a dip in the financial giving needed to allow us to minister in real and tangible ways to people at home. With our buildings closed, how could we continue to meaningfully engage people in the life of the church?

As we navigated new ways of coming together, I was amazed to see that stewardship remained strong. While some members of our congregation needed to adjust their 2020 pledge downward due to financial strains created by the pandemic, others came forward with increased gifts to cover lost revenue. What a witness to our parish's faith, hope and commitment to being the Body of Christ. This has been a time for all of us to return the fundamentals of why we do church, gratefully realizing that it is God through whom all blessings flow.

Next Sunday, October 25, our 2021 Stewardship Campaign will officially begin. It will incorporate humor, heartfelt testimony, and concrete tools to help you prayerfully consider what God might be calling you to give to Incarnation next year. We even have a financial advisor who will offer guidance on managing your finances and charitable giving. (Save the dates of Monday, November 2, at 7:00 p.m. and Tuesday, November 10, at 12:30 p.m.)

When you make a 2021 financial commitment to Incarnation, wherever you are, you are partnering with us for next year, participating in the mission God has been and is accomplishing through our parish, and attesting to the inherent values of Christian community that are so important, now more than ever. 

We also continue to welcome your support in 2020, whether in fulfillment of a pledge or even a one-time donation. Every gift matters in the life of the giver and in the life of Incarnation.
I am grateful to be on this spiritual journey with you and so blessed to be your Interim Priest in Charge. While I never could have guessed what 2020 had in store, I am most assured God put me in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. May we all bloom where we're planted, in glory to God and in thanksgiving for the privilege of serving in Christ's name.

In peace and with gratitude,
Adrian +

The Rev. Adrian Dannhauser
Interim Priest in Charge