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Incarnation Annual Reflection 2023


Our baptismal, broken on Easter 2023

Each year during the slower rhythms of late summer, we take time as a church to pause and reflect on the past year of our common life. We’ve experienced many changes, and all change brings some amount of loss and therefore grief. But change also brings surprising joy and fresh possibilities. Taking time to prayerfully reflect helps us notice those griefs and joys, discern God’s presence in them, and look forward together with renewed hope.


So, once again, I invite you to participate in the Incarnation Annual Reflection. We've shortened and simplified the version developed last year. There are two ways to complete this reflection: online or paper.


Online: All responses in the online form are optional and anonymous, though there is a place to include your name and contact at the end if you would like. I’ve pasted the questions below so you can see them in advance, reflect over time, and estimate the time needed to complete the form. Participate in the Incarnation Annual Reflection ONLINE


Paper: These reflection questions are also available as a printable PDF (print at home or pick up a printed copy at church Sundays). Perhaps you do your best thinking with pen and paper; many of us do. If you choose the paper option and wish to share your written responses, you can hand them to me on a Sunday or email me a photo or scan. Obviously, this is not an anonymous submission, but your responses will be kept completely confidential. Download the Incarnation Annual Reflection as a PDF or pick up on Sunday.


However you choose to complete the reflection, could you please submit your responses by Monday, September 4 (Labor Day)? Thank you so much for taking this time to reflect.




Thank you!


With so much gratitude,

Amy




The Incarnation Annual Reflection


1. Reviewing the Year with Gratitude


Bring to mind your time at Incarnation over the past year. (Possible things to consider: Sunday worship; special days like All Saints, Rogation Sunday, Pentecost, Holy Week; children; small groups; sermon series such as 1 Timothy, The Four Last Things, Hearing God, The Psalms that Shape Us; prayer; special events; volunteering; community life; outreach; music; liturgy; etc.)


What events or moments stand out to you as particularly good, beautiful, joyful? Pause to thank God for each of these good things. Then, as you are comfortable, please share below.


As you reflect, where do you see signs of spiritual growth in yourself over the past year (particularly as a result of your participation in Incarnation)? Spend a moment to thank God for his faithfulness. Then, as you are comfortable, please share below.



2. Noticing God's Presence

Where has God felt most present to you in your experience at Incarnation this year? Name these to God in prayer. Then, as you are comfortable, please share below.



3. Noticing God's Distance

(Note: God is never actually distant. But it is entirely appropriate to notice, name, and grieve the places where he seems distant, and to allow those observations to guide your prayers.)


Where has God felt most distant to you in your experience at Incarnation? Are there aspects of our community in which you find it difficult to connect with God? Name these to God in prayer. Then, as you are comfortable, please share below.



4. Praying from Your Reflections


Keeping all of your reflections in mind, as you look toward the future, what is one hope you have for your experience in the life of Incarnation in the coming year? This could be an area in which you are hoping for spiritual growth or change. Pray these hopes to God. Then, as you are comfortable, please share below.


What is one hope you have for Incarnation in the coming year? (The previous question was focused on your experience in the church; this question is focused on the church itself.) If your response is programmatic (e.g., "launch a puppet ministry") please consider and share what spiritual work you hope to see in our church through that program. Pray these hopes to God. Then, as you are comfortable, please share below.



5. Lightning Round Questions

What is one word you would use to describe your hope for the next year at Incarnation? (No explanation needed; just a word is fine!)


If Incarnation were a color, what color would it be? (No explanation needed!)


If Incarnation were an animal, what animal would it be? (No explanation needed!)


Is there anything else you would like to share?

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