New Rector

Dear friends of the Church of the Incarnation,

The Wardens and Vestry of the Church of the Incarnation, Santa Rosa, are pleased to announce the appointment of The Rev. Dr. Stephen Shaver, as rector. This appointment is the successful culmination of the prayerful, engaging, spirit-filled work of many in the parish who served on the Profile Committee, Applicant Review Committee and Vestry. This was a yearlong process which attracted many excellent applicants from across the country.

In our profile we wrote that we were looking for a rector who was spiritually alive and grounded in prayer; open-minded and pastoral; theologically intelligent, with a deep appreciation for Episcopal tradition, liturgy, ritual, and the important role music plays in our worship.

We sought a thoughtful preacher whose inspirational sermons touch hearts, connect with our lives and challenge us; a gentle teacher of insightful theology who is well read and curious, with a sense of humor.

Stephen certainly embodies these attributes and we are very excited about the bright future of Incarnation.

We thank each of you for your prayers and support during this process: we are grateful for your voices in the profile process, your commitment to this church and your faithful presence each week as we worship and serve together.


Stephen’s biography

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Shaver comes to us from Berkeley, where he currently teaches liturgical leadership at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Stephen has served parishes in California, Washington State, and Texas and also spent time as a hospital and hospice chaplain. In 2012 he came to Berkeley to work on a Ph.D. in liturgy, which he completed last fall. He received his M.Div. from the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in 2007.

Stephen is no stranger to the Diocese of Northern California, having served for several years as a trainer for our diocesan College for Congregational Development and as co-director of a joint version of the program with the Diocese of California in 2015-16. Along with liturgy, Stephen is passionate about congregational health and vitality. He has led Christian formation programs for children, youth, and adults, and loves helping people learn more about where God’s story intersects with their stories. Many of his sermons, and occasional blog posts, can be found on his website at

Stephen’s family roots are largely in the Reno-Tahoe area, and he thinks of himself as a West Coaster at heart. He spent much of his childhood as a “third culture kid,” living with his family in Korea, Pakistan, and Russia. Stephen loves traveling, hiking, running, and cooking and is an avid choral singer (he and his wife Julia met in their college choir). Julia is originally from Palo Alto and is a family physician. They have a two-year-old daughter, Abigail, who loves playgrounds, fire trucks, and cheese.

Stephen, Julia, and Abby will be joining us early in the summer after Stephen completes his teaching obligations at CDSP. They are thrilled to be coming to Santa Rosa and to Incarnation.

Steve Layton
Sr. Warden


A letter from Stephen

Dear friends,

Grace and peace to you in our Lord Jesus Christ!

I am delighted and humbled to be called as your next rector. My heart is full of joy and anticipation, and I can’t wait to join you in ministry. I’m deeply grateful to the profile and review committees and to the vestry for their dedication and hospitality during the call process. Their devoted work on your behalf is a testament to the kind of community you are.

Incarnation is a special place. Your jewel of a building stands at the heart of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, and your beautiful, transcendent worship stands at the heart of your life together. That worship doesn’t stay inside the building, though: it spills over outside the walls to bless the entire community around you. Your heart for outreach is obvious in ministries like the Open Table and the Incarnation 100-and, profoundly, in the way you have come together to care for those who have lost so much in the fires this past fall. There is an incredible spirit of vitality and resilience at Incarnation, one that has carried you through flourishing and challenging times alike. You have done wonderful work in these years of transition, and I’m looking forward to the adventures God will send us as we start this new chapter together.

It will be a few months before I’m able to be with you in person, but I am praying for you all, every day, by name (and by picture, thanks to Steve Layton, who gave me a copy of your most recent photo directory!). Please pray for me too, and for Julia and Abigail, as we prepare to move to Santa Rosa to come share life with you.

God bless you all. See you soon.
In Christ’s love,

Donate to Santa Rosa Fire Relief

Donate to the Incarnation – Santa Rosa Fire Relief Fund

Our care for those who have lost so much in the fires:

An update on our efforts at Church of the Incarnation

By the Rev. Jim Richardson, priest-in-charge

We have experienced an amazing outpouring of generosity since the October fires that killed more than 40 people and destroyed more than 9,000 structures in our region. In our parish, we know of 11 families who have lost homes (and we are protecting their privacy).

To date we have collected more than $80,000 for our fire relief efforts. We are exceedingly grateful for your contributions. Most of these donations have come from outside parish, including from a family foundation that has given us an unsolicited grant of $10,000. We also collected more than $2,700 at a recent fire relief concert we hosted in the church. (more…)

Living Compass Lenten Series

Tuesdays, March 6, 13, 20, 27 – 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Lent is a time for introspection and self-reflection, a time to reflect on the core of what it means to live a Christian life. And there is nothing more central to that life than loving—loving with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. For people of faith, love is not an abstract or feel-good concept, but an urgent call to radically incarnate love in how we relate to God, our neighbor, and ourselves.

For more information, contact Daphne Vernon at

Good Friday Concert

March 30, 2018 – 8:00 p.m.

Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem

Our annual Good Friday concert will be presented at 8:00 p.m. on March 30, 2018. This year we will sing Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem.

The Requiem was published in 1948 and is considered a modern “sequel” to Fauré’s Requiem – it uses much the same texts. At the time he was commissioned to write the Requiem, he was working on an organ suite using themes from Gregorian Chant, specifically the Gregorian “Mass for the Dead” – nearly all the thematic material in the Requiem comes from chant. The music “swims in a luxuriant harmonic bath” that combines elements of Debussy, Fauré, and Messiaen.

Duruflé produced three versions of this elegant piece:

1) choir, full orchestra and organ
2) choir and organ only
3) choir and a reduced (chamber) orchestra and organ.

The St. Cecilia Choir and Cantiamo Sonoma will join forces with Robert Young to perform the version for choir and organ. Soloists will be Carol Menke, soprano and Thomas Hart, baritone.

Tickets are $25 for Preferred, $20 General, and they can be purchased from any St. Cecilia choir member, or by calling the church office at 579-2604.

Camp Sunday

Sunday, April 8, 2018

On Sunday, April 8, staff from The Bishop’s Ranch and St. Dorothy’s Rest will be here to tell us about summer camp programs. There are camps for all ages this summer—from ankle-biters to elders! Camps offer a welcoming community where adults and kids have opportunities to step away from regular life and create new relationships, challenge themselves, play together, learn more about themselves and the world around them, and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Some camps are intergenerational and others for youth grouped by age or grade level. St. Dorothy’s and the Ranch offer safe and sacred spaces where all are welcome no matter their race, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexuality. Both offer camper scholarships which can be coupled with diocesan camp scholarships to make the cost very affordable. No camper will be turned away due to financial hardship. Come and learn about camps after the 9:15 service!

Intergenerational Mission Trip to Nicaragua, partnering with the CDCA

July 21-28, 2018

This year the youth will go on a Mission Trip to Nicaragua. We will spend the week learning about the culture and Nicaragua’s history as well as working in the community on a new health clinic. This year we are inviting adults from Incarnation to join us for an intergenerational mission trip experience. Individual cost for non-youth group members is $1200 per person. Youth group members will pay $525 per person and will fundraise $675 for each youth group member.

The Center for Development in Central America (CDCA) is a project of the Jubilee House Community, Inc. (JHC), a non-profit organization. It has 501(c)(3) status in the U.S. and International Mission status in Nicaragua. (more…)

Who We Are

The Church of the Incarnation is an inclusive community of faith, following Jesus Christ as a parish of The Episcopal Church. We are a downtown urban church. We recognize that Christ has no body now on earth but ours, and we are committed to carrying out Christ’s charge to love one another through service, worship and prayer. Our abiding values are those expressed in our Baptismal Covenant with Jesus Christ, and those values guide us in our life of faith.

We believe that Christ calls us to strive for justice and peace among all people while respecting the dignity of every human being. While we are partners in God’s work throughout the world, we are called in particular to respond to the needs for both bodily and spiritual nourishment of the community where we live, work, and worship.

The Episcopal Church is a member of the global Anglican Communion which has a common root in the Church of England. Anglican churches follow a middle path between the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant denominations. The Episcopal Church includes diocese in the United States, Mexico, Central America, Ecuador and Taiwan.