Letter from Liz: Dec 15, 2020
Gratitude and Giving
My dear friends
Have you sent any Christmas cards/messages/letters yet? Probably many of you have. But tbh this is a pretty unusual year to look back over. However, every year holds a mixture of news - and part of the beauty of an end-of-year eval is a chance to reflect and hold those memories for a moment: whether delightful or sad, traumatic or trivial. Each moment holds its own story and each moment matters. And every one of our stories matter: perhaps you feel you’ve had a particularly hard/easy/quiet/odd/weighty year - or you may feel like it has been much easier or harder than that of someone else. Let me discourage you from comparison and invite you to rest in the truth of your 2020.
And as you weigh the memories, perhaps you could take some time to ask God where he was at work? Did you see His hand or not? Have you heard his voice or has he seemed quiet? Let me first remind you,
Look! Israel’s protector does not sleep or slumber! Psalm 121.4
God has been with you every day and every night. And God does not waste things. And so, although we will all be quite delighted when the pandemic is in our rearview mirror, God has been at work. Why not ask him how?
And as you do so - give thanks: acknowledging that God is far greater than your daily circumstances and yet He is deeply involved and aware of every moment.
At Incarnation, I have been so grateful for the ways this community has deepened in love, prayer and commitment to one another and to God over this year. This was so manifest at the time of Eric’s tragic death. It truly felt like from the youngest to the oldest, everyone was involved in supporting the Owen family: with prayer, outpourings of love, food, acts of service… There is great comfort in a community that truly demonstrates God’s love.
I’ve also been so grateful for the ways you have supported our ever-changing Sunday services, as we have navigated COVID: Amy’s tireless search for helping us all have ways of worshipping God together, despite being apart; Josie constantly creating innovative ways of supporting our families and children with ideas, resources, love and prayers (Wild/Advent Wonder have been SO GOOD); Beth working out how to help all our musicians do music using a mic on a box in their sitting rooms, then the chapel - on zoom/off zoom; including humming and videos and creatively rolling with the changes. And then all the other stuff - too much to mention, but Amy makes all our finances work with Ben as Treasurer; the Vestry oversee all our policies and procedures with grace and diplomacy; and many of you helping Josie with kids/Beth with music/Logan with hospitality/Katie Foran and Amy with Zoom & AV … and so much more. Remember community nights? Our birthday in the park? So much to remember! And more... remember and give thanks!
Your generosity this year has also been amazing. And as we come to the end of the year, the Bishop reminded us last week that one way of being thankful is to give. And in this season I know many of you will dig deep again and give yet more. And perhaps you are also considering an end of year gift - to Restoration Immigration Legal Aid, and/or to Incarnation. Ben and Amy will answer your technical questions about giving below. Thank you!
As we head together towards Christmas let us do so with thankful hearts!
Your grateful pastor,
The following is a message from our Treasurer that provides answers to frequently asked questions about year end gifts to Incarnation.
My name is Ben Goebel and I am privileged to serve on Incarnation’s Vestry and as the treasurer for our church. In the midst of shifting circumstances throughout 2020, your generosity as a congregation has allowed Incarnation to flourish in our ministry this year, adapting to new worship formats and reaching out to serve those most impacted by COVID-19, both in our own community of South Arlington and around the world. God has provided faithfully for Incarnation Anglican Church, and in grateful response to that faithfulness, we are increasing our outreach giving commitment to 15% of our total operating budget for fiscal year 2021. I know the end of the year is a time where many consider their financial commitments. As you think about your year-end giving and your financial commitments in 2021, would you consider the ministry of Incarnation Anglican Church in your giving plans? We are so grateful for your support.
Below are some Q&A about giving this time of year:
Can I give a special extra Christmas offering?
Absolutely! We always give away our Christmas Eve offering to an organization doing good work outside the walls of our church. However, because we will be worshiping virtually this year, we will collect this additional offering online and by text through midnight on Christmas Day, December 25. The recipient of this year's Christmas offering is Restoration Immigration Legal Aid (RILA), which holistically supports immigrants in our community by providing pro bono immigration legal assistance to those who are most vulnerable and who have the fewest resources. You can give to this special offering on the Give page of our website or by texting the word "Christmas" and a dollar amount to 843-21.
Can I give an end-of-year gift?
Yes! You may give an end-of-year gift toward Incarnation's general fund online, by text, or by mail (postmarked by Dec 31) following the instructions on the Give page of our website. The deadline for gifts to be counted toward 2020 is December 31.
How will I receive my annual giving statement?
You will receive your 2020 tax receipt electronically from Incarnation in January 2021 for all gifts given directly to Incarnation. In addition, you will receive a tax receipt electronically from Restoration Anglican in January 2021 for any Incarnation-designated gifts that you made to Restoration in 2020. As a reminder, Restoration managed our back-end finances through the end of 2019. Some people did not cancel their Restoration gifts until sometime in 2020. These people will receive two tax receipts: one from Incarnation, and another from Restoration. This situation only applies to 2020 and will not negatively impact your tax filing in any way.
Where can I find my current giving total?
Incarnation uses a fantastic database called Planning Center Online (PCO) to manage all giving records (as well as volunteers, small groups, Sunday services, and more!). If you have ever given to Incarnation, you already have a PCO Giving account.
To access your account, click on PCO Giving, then select "Log In" from the top right corner and follow the prompts to access your account. Once logged in, select "Profile" from the menu bar, then "My Giving." Scroll down to "Donation History"; you may view your history here or select the "Download" button to download a .csv file of your giving history. Once tax statements become available, you will be able to download them from the bottom of this page under "Statements."
If you also gave an Incarnation-designated gift to Restoration in early 2020, you can access your Restoration giving record by logging into CCB. Click on your name or picture in the top right corner. Click on the "Involvement" tab under your name and header image, then scroll down to find the "Financial" section. Click the three dots next to the word "Financial," then click "Giving Statement." If you've never logged into CCB, just contact Restoration's Director of Operations Kat Downs, and she can help you get a login or a copy of your giving statement.
Can I set up an automatic withdrawal for my giving?
Yes! Go to PCO Giving. If you've never given to Incarnation before, begin the process of creating a gift. If you have given before, select "Log In" from the top right corner and follow the prompts to access your account. Once logged in, select "Profile" from the menu bar, then "My Giving." Scroll down to "Recurring Donations" and select the button that says "+ add Recurring Donation" to create a recurring gift.
Detailed instructions for giving are also available on the Give page of our website.
What if I get stuck?
If you have any questions or difficulties at any point in the process, please email Amy: email@example.com.