An end-of-year reflection: from Rev Liz and Leigh
But as [Joseph] considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:20-22 quoting from Is 7:14
We are rapidly approaching our first Christmas as a community, and I could not be more excited as we worship, welcome and wonder at the coming of Immanuel. What an amazing year it has been! There is so much to be grateful for as we come to the end of 2018:
- Our worshipping, serving, joy-filled community: we now are around 72 committed people (17 of whom are children).
- We had such fun meeting for evening prayer, at what is now ‘The Vicarage’, over the Summer. Our small groups in 2018 deliberately worked to develop a culture of ‘welcome’ as we studied the Bridges curriculum and read ‘The Art of Neighboring’ together.
- The Common Tables over the Fall were delightful - so many friends and neighbors welcomed into meals and to firepits and to evenings of laughter and conversation. Such a lovely time of community - great job!
- Greenbrier Baptist Church have been the kindest of hosts: generous with their space, energy, good ideas, friendship and kindness.
- Public worship since Sept 9 has been joyful, creative, beautiful: Beth’s ability to find new songs from different cultures is fabulous, singing ‘Jesus loves me’ in a different language each week is lovely as we remind ourselves that we are part of a global community. Watching Beth shepherd such an amazing (and constantly growing) group of musicians has been a joy. A huge shout-out to the advent choir and the children’s orchestra (come watch and listen on Jan 6 …)
- The Atrium is such a delight as our children grow and learn using the format of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd under Josie’s watchful eye. I am so grateful to those who are giving up one Saturday a month to be formally trained as catechists.
- After-service prayer is full to bursting - with up to six people going for prayer most weeks
- The Art team devised such a gloriously beautiful, and fun, piece for us to use in our worship this Advent.
- Our servant team have worked hard behind the scenes to ensure we have solid policies in every possible area. Especial thanks to Megan and Leigh as they have assumed the role of wardens; their advice has been invaluable as they also lead the personnel and finance teams.
- Sundays (and so much more) would not happen without Morgan and Amy’s tireless efforts: not only with many details but also with leading, preaching and communion. They are wonderful.
- This is truly a community and team effort. Each one of you has played a role…and I’d love to detail them all…
- And we are so grateful to all who have supported us financially. Individual donors, including our mother church Restoration, The Great Commission Committee (the Diocesan church planting committee) and a legacy gift from Ted van der Meid which is funding Alpha. Another donor gave all the sound equipment. And each one of you. We are afloat because of thoughtful and generous givers like you who have helped us pay our way as we begin to grow.
2019 holds so much promise
- New people: Alpha kicks off on Jan 9. As we work to be a welcoming community we are excited about seeing new people come to faith in the year ahead. Who will you bring? Your friends and colleagues may surprise you - ask them!
- Venue: we are constantly on the look-out for a property we can rent, where we can have offices, and offer ‘front door’ services to our community. We’ve been dreaming of a store front. Will we find this in 2019?
- Staff: will we be able to increase our staff budget in 2019? At the moment Liz is salaried, Amy and Morgan are part-time and fundraise their salaries, Josie receives a small honorarium.
As we come to the end of 2018, I invite you to consider your part in the year ahead.
- Will you serve in a new way? Perhaps offering to help in the nursery? Or play your instrument…
- Will you give generously to the work God is doing through our community? Perhaps setting up a regular on-line gift - but perhaps also give a one-time additional gift this season?
- Will you invite someone to church in 2019?
- Will you invite someone to Alpha?
- Will you pray faithfully for the people who come to Alpha? And for those who sit around you in the pews? Will you pray for the staff and all who lead teams? Will you be accountable in your daily life to others and grow in your faithful obedience to a God who loves you so very, very deeply?
I am so grateful for each of you. I am so grateful for this adventure we are on together. If at any point you would like to grab a coffee, or come for confession, or head out for a hike, please let me know. I am your pastor and I am available.
The following is a message that provides answers to frequently asked questions about year end gifts to Incarnation.
My name is Leigh McAfee and I serve at Incarnation by guiding our finance team and being the liaison to Restoration’s vestry. From before our launch as a mission we have been blessed with generosity. And you have continued that generosity in the many ways you have served, prayed, and financially supported Incarnation.
During this Advent season we mark the waiting of our coming Savior, anticipating Jesus Christ’s incarnation into the world -- His real, tangible, present arrival. Because of you, God has brought about real, tangible, and very present help and hope to our neighbors through Incarnation Anglican Church. Thank you.
Many of us use the end of the year to complete our financial commitments, and many of us will be in a position to give an extra gift. Would you keep Incarnation in mind as you consider the allocation of your year-end giving? And as you think ahead to your regular giving in 2019, we invite you to set up an automatic withdrawal, which can be done by visiting Restoration’s Church Community Builder (CCB) website.
Please note, Restoration is still handling our back office administration. If you need any help with CCB or online giving, please contact Kat Downs in the Restoration business office (email@example.com). In addition, because your 2018 gifts were processed by Restoration, many of you will receive a very similar year-end letter from Restoration’s Rector, Rev. David Hanke.
Here are a few FAQs about giving that may be helpful to you
Can I give at the Christmas Eve service? Absolutely! All offerings at the Christmas Eve service, jointly held with Greenbrier Baptist Church, will go to Offender Aid and Restoration, a local restorative justice organization which blends compassion and accountability to assist offenders in leading productive and responsible lives. None of the money collected during the Christmas Eve service will stay at Incarnation. We give all of it away. The last Sunday to give to the general operating fund of Incarnation is December 30, 2018.
How should I write checks to Incarnation? Incarnation is wonderfully under the stewardship of our mother church as we build and grow. For the time being, please continue to write checks to ‘Restoration Anglican Church’ and put ‘Incarnation’ in the memo line.
How can I make an online contribution to Incarnation? From the Restoration website, log into CCB. You will find a series of 6 icons on the left side of the screen. The ‘Give’ icon is the 5th one. In the ‘Choose Designation’ dropdown box, select ‘Incarnation’.We would prefer for you to use an ACH draft rather than using your credit card because we are charged a higher fee for the latter.
Can I set up an automatic withdrawal for my giving? You can! Just go to CCB as laid out above and choose ‘Repeating Gift’ in place of ‘One Time Gift’, then fill in the frequency you prefer.
How will I receive my annual giving statement? You can download your giving statement directly from CCB at any time. You will receive an email at the end of January with details about how to get your giving statement from CCB. It will also have a small report from the rector of our mother church, The Rev. David Hanke at Restoration Anglican Church. If you've never logged into CCB, just contact Kat Downs (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she can help you get a login or a copy of your giving statement.
Where do I find my current giving total? From the Restoration website, log into CCB. Look at the upper right corner and find your name and picture. Click on your name and select 'Profile' from the drop-down menu that appears. Click on the ‘Involvement’ tab under your name, then scroll to find the 'Financial' section. Hover your mouse over the ‘Financial’ header and click on the ellipse (...) that appears. You will then see an option for ‘Giving Statement’ where you can choose your date range. Most giving is recorded by the 20th of the following month, so the statement may not reflect a payment you made within the past month.
What is Church Community Builder (CCB)? CCB is Restoration’s database and online giving platform. If you have never used Restoration’s CCB system, contact Kat Downs: email@example.com. She can help provide you with a username and password.
When does Incarnation have to receive my gift for it to be counted towards 2018? Your gift must be received or postmarked by December 31. December 30 is the last Sunday for giving in 2018. Remember, all of the gifts that are received on December 24 will go to Offender Aid and Restoration.
Once again, thank you for your generous commitment to the work of Jesus Christ through Incarnation and your faithful support.
Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas!
Leigh McAfee Incarnation Servant Team and Restoration Vestry