A word about the election

From Pastor Jim

“I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
—Psalm 121

Dear friends,

The election is now behind us, possibly the most bitterly divisive in our lifetime. The voters have spoken, and many are delighted at the outcome. Many others are deeply disappointed and fearful for the future. This would have been true no matter which presidential candidate won. We remain a divided and anxious nation. How do we respond as people of faith?

First, as people of faith, we need to pray for the president-elect, Donald Trump, and for those who found in him an outlet for their dreams for a better life — and their frustrations with what is amiss. Pray that he may be the president of all the people and that he will work to unite us, not divide us. Pray for Hillary Clinton, her family, and those who were inspired by her ground-breaking campaign as the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party. Pray for the nation and the world and all our leaders.

This election was more than about candidates or their campaigns. The election was about how we govern ourselves as a free people, and how we shape our nation and the world into a better place for our children and their children.

As people of faith, we need to be instruments of healing, binding the wounds of this land. More than ever, we must live out our baptismal covenant to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” We must protect the most vulnerable, listen for the cries of the voiceless and forgotten, and break down the barriers that divide us. The election is over, but our work of discipleship is not.

I’d ask that you join with me in the “Prayer For the Human Family,” found in our prayer book on page 815:

“O God, you made us in your image and redeemed us through Jesus Christ your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggles and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lights of Hope: Music & Prayers for the Long Nights

December 12, 2017 – 5:30 p.m.

This time of year is filled with joyful expectation, but it can also feel a little low for many reasons. On December 12 at 5:30 p.m., we will hold a simple service of prayers and music for the long nights. (Our yoga class will follow at 6:30 p.m.)

This service is especially for those who may find Christmas a difficult time of year. The tone will be contemplative and quietly hopeful. All are welcome to be part of this late Advent service of prayer, quiet music, and the spoken word. Come for yourself and feel free to bring others who will benefit from your prayers and presence as we anticipate the in-breaking of the Light of Hope into the World. The service will be led by Pastor Jim and musician Robin O’Brien.

Advent: Mary as Sacred Vessel

A Creative Retreat with Lisa Thorpe
December 10, 2016 – 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Adults and teens. $30 includes lunch and all the materials needed to make one bowl.


The angel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” And Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

-Luke 1:28-29

Spend a creative day with artist and teacher Lisa Thorpe reflecting on the angel Gabriel’s words to young Mary and her response of faith, trust and openness. We will employ the Lectio Divina practice to read, meditate, pray, and contemplate the passage from Luke 1:28-38 that introduces us to Mary and her role as the sacred vessel, nurturer, protector, mother of Jesus. Our contemplation will be artistic and each participant will create a “sacred vessel” to take home. We will use images of Mary, bible passages, decorative papers and glass bowl. (more…)

The Next Chapter

A Special Message from Pastor Jim

Dear friends,

I’ve been with you now as your Priest-in-Charge for more than a year during a time of transition following the departure of your long-term rector under difficult circumstances.

Last evening, I informed the Vestry about discussions I’ve had with Bishop Barry Beisner, and with his Canon-to-the Ordinary (or chief assistant), Andrea McMillin, and with our consultant Caroline McCall. It is our belief that is time to begin the search for the next long-term rector. Getting to this stage is a testament to the strength of this parish, your leaders and staff, and you. (more…)

July 31, 2016 – Dr. Jill Joseph

Clothing Ourselves with the New Self

Behind us is the anticipation of Advent, the mid-winter light and song of Christmas and Epiphany. Behind us are the grit of ashes on our foreheads and the reminder that we are dust and to dust we return. Behind us are Lent and Holy Week and the horrifying cross. Behind us is the astounding story of resurrection and Pentecost.

Here we are for the long weeks after Pentecost, outside the narrative march from Bethlehem to the upstairs room. In this time, called ordinary time, our circumstances in many ways resemble those of the early disciples. We ponder the questions raised by these remarkable stories, wondering what all this might mean, really mean, if we were to call ourselves disciples. Challenging ourselves by asking how we might, “clothe ourselves with the new self,” as Paul says in his letter to the Colossians. (more…)

April 10, 2016 (11:15 a.m.) – The Rev. James Richardson

Alleluia! The Lord is Risen!

What comes next?

That must have been going through the minds of the disciples as Jesus kept showing up on roads and in closed rooms in the days after his death. What’s next?

The disciples have been through a lot already – and there will be more.

What’s next? (more…)

Sunday School Time Change, Adult Education

Beginning January 10, 2016

Beginning January 10, Sunday School and youth group will shift to the hour in between the 9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. worship services. We will also offer adult education in that hour for those who would like that opportunity. Sunday School for children and youth will start at 10:15 a.m., and adult education at 10:30 a.m. in Short Hall.

This shift will allow us to offer a full 50 minutes for Godly Play, giving our children the full richness of this experience that they deserve. This will also allow our children to be fully a part of our worshipping community, rather than slipping in for Communion as we have done in the past.

We especially want to encourage families with children to worship together at either the 9:15 a.m. or the 11:15 a.m. service. We will be looking for ways to incorporate children in the 9:15 a.m. service. We also want to encourage families with small children to sit in the front pews so that they can see and hear our worship up close (and we will have rugs and toys in the front pews on both sides of the aisles).

We hope everyone in our parish will welcome our children. Our kids truly bring life and joy to our faith community that is special, and that we would not otherwise enjoy without them. Our children are not only our future, they are our present.

Childcare is offered at all three worship services for infants to kindergarten. For special needs or concerns please contact Daphne Vernon.

For adults, we will offer a series of educational programs beginning with a Bible study on the Sunday lectionary lessons. Other offerings will be available as we progress into the church year, e.g., in Lent. For those who would rather enjoy social time, we will still have coffee hour in Farlander Hall after each service.

We realize that this shift might require adjustments to Sunday routines. But we hope you will embrace this change in the spirit of bringing new life and growth to our community and our souls.

Evensong Service – Sunday, April 17, 2016

Come and hear Evensong at the Church of the Incarnation on Sunday, April 17 at 5:30 p.m. Originating in Anglican ritual, Evensong combines chant, hymns, Renaissance polyphony, and modern choral works with Biblical readings and prayers. The intent is to provide listeners with a peaceful hour of music and meditation at day’s end. Cantiamo’s Evensong services are the only ones offered in Sonoma County. This coming Evensong will feature the choral music of Thomas Tomkins, J. P. Sweelinck, Tomás Luis de Victoria, James McMillan, and more. Evensong lasts about 40 minutes — come and experience this reflective service.

Good Friday Concert

March 25, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.


The Church of the Incarnation presents

Good Friday Concert

March 25, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.

Requiem by John Rutter

The Church of the Incarnation
550 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA

St. Cecilia Choir & Cantiamo Sonoma
Incarnation Chamber Orchestra
Claire Frydenlund, soprano
Carol Menke, conductor

Tickets are available by calling the Church office at (707) 579-2604

$20 General Admission, $25 Preferred Seating, $15 Seniors/Students

A limited number of tickets will be sold at the door. This concert traditionally sells out. Get your tickets early!

Newcomers’ Party

Sunday, March 13, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

A Newcomers’ Party will be hosted by the Welcome Committee on Sunday, March 13, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in Farlander Hall. It’s a fun way to give newcomers an opportunity to meet the Vestry and parish leaders, and to learn more about the ministries of our church. All available Vestry members, commission and ministry leaders are encouraged to attend and to bring a potluck dish to share.

To help us better prepare for this event, please RSVP info@nullincarnationsantarosa.org.

February 7, 2016 – The Rev. Pamela Moore

In the opening sequence of the Sound of Music Julie Andrews sings about the hills of Austria and how they are alive with the sound of music. You can almost hear the ancient, ancestral voices filled with history and the majesty of God in the stirring notes of a song that springs from the earth. In each note there is glory, there is beauty and there is a vision of a life that is joyous and free. And these are just the hills! The mountains the family eventually have to cross to reach freedom come much later in the story. (more…)

Celtic Evensongs in Lent

Wednesdays, 5:00 p.m., February 17, 24, March 2, 9, 16

Join us for worship that quiets the soul. Beautiful music, chant, prayer and silence—a chance to sink deeply into the season of Lent—a time of lengthening days and possibilities for opening to new life.

Church of the Incarnation
550 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, 95401

The Four Gospels in Five Sundays

February 14, 21, 28, March 13, 20

Join Pastor Jim on the five Sundays of Lent as he explores each of the four gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. Who wrote them? When? Who was their audience? Each has a uniquely different perspective on the life and message of Jesus. How can we as modern (and post-modern) Christians read these ancient texts in our own context? Come with your questions, open minds and open hearts. We will meet at 10:30 a.m. in Short Hall immediately following the 9:15 a.m. worship.

Feb. 14 – Introduction to the four gospels

Feb. 21 ­– Mark the faithful reporter

Feb. 28 ­– Matthew the Jewish prophet

Mar. 13 – Luke the Gentile healer

Mar. 20 – John the mystical teacher

December 24, 2015 – The Rev. James Richardson

Christmas Eve 2015

In the words of the prophet…

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.”

Something extraordinary happened long ago. Yet it seemed utterly ordinary at first:

The birth of a baby.

No wise men came, no shepherds, no disciples, no adoring masses, no one was there but his parents. (more…)

Youth Leaders Reflect on a Journey of Reconciliation

by Paula Schaap, Communications Director, Diocese of Northern California

This summer, Maddison Vernon, a young adult leader at Church of the Incarnation, Santa Rosa, had a chance to see how a journey to learn about reconciliation, carried out over time and in different countries – and in her own community – can bear fruit.

Vernon was nominated to represent the Russian River Deanery on the North Carolina Freedom Ride that took place in the summer of 2015. That trip was crafted as a three-year pilgrimage to help participants learn about slavery and the Civil Rights movement, to be followed up by a trip to South Africa and a study of the legacy of apartheid this summer.

To read more, click here.

Blessing of the Backpacks

On Sunday, August 21, we will mark the end of the summer season with the Blessing of the Backpacks. At all three services there will be a time to bring whatever you carry to do the work you have been given to do by God to the altar for a special blessing —your school backpack for yourself and for donation, your briefcase, your lunchbox. In blessing the things we carry, we go blessed to be the Presence of God in all circumstances and conditions whether lunchroom, classroom or boardroom.

Santa Rosa Middle School needs our help!

We are collecting brand new backpacks for Santa Rosa Middle School students who need our support. Right now is the time that all school supplies are available and on sale. We are asking for new backpacks, binder paper, pens and pencils in packages.

Please bring the new backpacks with supplies in them to the blessing of the backpacks on Sunday, August 21, or you can drop them off at the office. If you would prefer that we pick up the supplies, you can make a donation for $25.00 listing backpacks in the memo line.

We thank you in advance for your generous support. Santa Rosa Middle School is so thankful to be supported by their neighbors here at Incarnation. Let us pray for them and keep them in our prayers throughout this year.

God of all mercies
We ask that you would bless
the youngest to the oldest of learners,
children and youth who are helpless and powerless,
with Your infinite and loving mercy,
granting them the strength to learn, concentrate,
and act in love towards
their teachers and fellow students.
We also ask that You would watch over them,
at home and at school
and give them proper direction
so that they may learn
of Your wonderful virtues.
We ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

For questions or more information please contact Daphne at dvernon@nullincarnationsantarosa.org

Forum on BECAS Foundation

April 23, 2017 – Farlander Hall

Join BECAS founder, Ella Harris, for a forum on BECAS during coffee hour on Sunday, April 23, after the 9:15 and 11:15 services. Hear about the lasting impact of the Incarnation Youth Group’s mission trip in 2013. Learn about our growth, over the last 7 years, to our future plans.

BECAS (which means “scholarships” in Spanish) works to raise standards of living for future generations in Quito, Ecuador. We provide health care, community service opportunities, parent education, and financial resources for education to children and teenagers of Barrio Santa Maria in Ecuador. Through holistic interventions, these young people can begin the process of breaking the cycle of poverty. To donate or for more information, click here.

Baptisms at Easter

April 15 at 7 p.m.
April 23 at 9:15 a.m.

Baptism is foundational to a life of faith, and is the entry window for all of the other sacraments. When we baptize people – no matter their age – we are celebrating that God is at work in them, and has always been work with them. We are acknowledging God’s presence through the symbols of water and words.

Our next baptisms will be in the Easter season. The most traditional day to be baptized, harkening back to the ancient church, is not a day – but a night. The Great Vigil of Easter, the most elaborate worship service of the year, is also the most traditional occasion to be baptized. This year, the Great Vigil of Easter will be on Saturday April 15 at 7 p.m. It is a long service, so is especially appropriate for adult baptisms.

We also will have baptisms on the Sunday following Easter, April 23 at 9:15 a.m. That is an especially appropriate service for babies and children to be baptized.

If you or a loved one have never been baptized, and you are interested in baptism at either of these worship services, please contact the office or Pastor Jim soon.