Last night, we had our final vestry meeting with the current team (Kaitlin Conway, Jenni McSwain, Ben Goebel, Tom Pienaar, Nancy Sung, Cory Warden). Over leftover birthday cake on the Sungs' deck, visited by the occasional tree frog, we expressed our deep gratitude for Cory and Ben's faithful service and prayed blessing over their next season.
Vestry members serve for 3 years and support the rector in the leadership of the church. It's a big commitment — and also a joy! Last night, we reflected on how peaceful and refreshing our vestry conversations have been, even as we have discussed challenging topics and made difficult decisions.
In two weeks, we will elect two new members to vestry to fill the vacancies left by Cory and Ben. At Sunday's parish meeting, we introduced our slate of vestry candidates. You can read more about them below. Please pray for these candidates and for our church in this next season as you discern how you will vote. Secure online voting will open on Sunday, Oct 2, and run one week through Sunday, Oct 9; all active members may vote in the vestry election. We will commission our new vestry at church on Sunday, Oct 16.
And now...meet your vestry candidates!
I was baptized and grew up in the Episcopal Church, until I wandered away for a time. One day in December 1971, the Lord said, “Enough!” and the seeds of my baptism took root. In the years that followed I visited many different churches and they exposed me to some interesting ideas about doctrine and how to live for Jesus. I always had a strong biblical framework within me that once I found my way back to Anglicanism, I discovered had been put in place by the use of The Book of Common Prayer in church when I was a small child.
I have been a member of Incarnation since our beginning. What a joy to be a part of this body of believers. I love how the traditional of use of the Book of Common Prayer, a high regard for scripture and the love of Jesus form our foundation. I love that we have a heart for the times we live in, that welcome, worship and wonder are how we seek to reach out to not only to our neighborhood but beyond our borders as far as that may be. I love that we encourage one another to be light, seekers of justice and mercy, and to sow seeds of healing and peace.
If I can serve our fellowship by being a Vestry member, I am willing to make that commitment. I bring a heart for the Anglican tradition of growth and worship. I bring a willing heart to pray for and love our church, our neighborhood and our partners in the work of Christ. I am creative and usually more comfortable outside the box, so I will bring questions. I love Jesus and I am so very, very thankful His love found me. Soli Deo Gloria
Raised in a Christian home, I encountered Jesus early through the testimony of parents and faithful adults. In my faith journey I’ve often struggled to understand God’s grace and the way his love overcomes our failures. But with the help of the Holy Spirit and wise counsel, I found my way to a saving knowledge of Jesus as my savior.
Like many of us, I’ve faced deep questions about my identity, worth, and belonging. In each of those hard, big questions I’ve seen the Lord move, bringing peace and clarity where it was needed, and rebuke when it was called for. In my adult years that growth has happened in the context of Anglican liturgy and especially the practice of the sacraments, for which I am deeply grateful.
My wife Kirsten and I are new-ish to Incarnation, having joined as members in January of 2022, but in the time since we’ve found deep encouragement in our faith – and a loving community. Singing in the choir and participating in our men’s ministry events have both meant a lot to me personally.
If elected, I hope to bring a humble, listening heart to the decisions of our vestry, and seek to serve our church through wise, prudent decision making in temporal matters.
I asked Jesus into my heart as a 5-year-old during bedtime prayers. Since that night, my relationship with God has been all over the place, with many doubts and "re-dedications" in my teens and early 20s. Over the last 10-15 years, my relationship with God has been more defined by grace and less by legalism. Being married and having kids has made me surrender areas of my life to Jesus that I didn't realize I was holding onto. At the same time, I’ve also surrendered many “virtues” because they were really a means of self-righteousness. Following Jesus hasn't always been easy or straightforward, but I'm learning to forgive myself as God has forgiven me, to run to him faster and not depend as much on my own strength.
At Incarnation I've been involved with the audio/video team, helped during building transitions and other random setup/teardown activities. I also love to help with kids during the service, have occasionally sung in the choir and like to meet with other men in the church to share burdens and encourage each other. I'm excited to be at Incarnation because I can see God’s presence during a time when the church seems beset by culture war issues. At other churches I’ve belonged to, it has often felt like the ministry of the church was primarily for other less fortunate communities or abstract ideas. But Incarnation is a unique community in which people can know and be known and are learning to comfort each other and heal with each other through life’s challenges.
Join me in giving thanks for these willing, faithful servants and in praying for our next vestry!
With deep gratitude,