Blessings and grace to each of you.
Where do you belong? I ask this in hopes that you give it some serious thought.
You see, the recurring questions I am asked lately are:
Where are all the families and
Why aren’t more young people involved in church?
I believe I have the answer:
Families and young people are in places where they feel that they belong.
In her book, “Daring Greatly” Brene Brown asked 8th grade students to list the differences between fitting in and belonging. They concluded this:
Belonging is being somewhere where you want to be, and they want you. Fitting in is being somewhere where you really want to be, but they don’t care one way or another.
Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else.
I get to be me if I belong. I have to be like you to fit in.
Christ’s church was not formed for people to fit in. The church is a place where everyone belongs. Everyone who steps through our doors should be made to feel that they belong – they belong in the sanctuary, they belong at the Holy Eucharist, they belong on committees, they belong in activities, they belong at coffee hour, they belong because Jesus tells us that everyone belongs and because God loves everyone.
It seems to me that the young people of the world are savvy enough to recognize when a welcome is extended as an invitation to fitting in versus an invitation to belonging. So, maybe over the course of the next few months all of us can become more mindful as to what our “welcome” invitations truly reflect to those whom we say we are missing. In peace, Deacon Mindy Brown, Brene. DARING GREATLY: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. London, England: Portfolio Penguin, 2013. pg.23
Incarnation has been active in Cameroon for many years. Since 2018 we have been working with the nuns at Le Foyer de l’Esperance, which provides care and help for the street girls of Yaoundé, Cameroun who have been abused, neglected and assaulted. This summer, in July, Incarnation once again has the privilege of leading a group of 12 to Cameroon once again. In addition to the 5 or 6 from Southern California, there are a half dozen others who are self-funding to join us in our mission: from WA, TX, NY and even a couple from Canada! Four of the participants are Muslim! What a wonderful message to the world. Lutherans traveling with Muslims to the other side of the world, to serve in a Catholic run social service organization! But we need your help… Money is required to cover some of our travel expenses, but more importantly, to help us with the work we’re embarking on amongst these girls. Supplies are needed for the practical skills we’ll share (needlework, sewing, etc.). School supplies and tuition money are needed for those who can attend school or other training programs. Clothing and linens are needed regularly. Food is needed daily. So, as you can see, anything with which you can help will be a blessing to God’s children in this place. There will be envelopes during the worship services in May in which to place your donation or you can donate online by clicking https://www.godamong.us/giving and then choosing "Cameroon" from the dropdown menu. And watch for our Pizza/Board Games Event on Sunday, May 15th after church. Details coming soon!
To sign up, click on this link for Pizza & Board Game Day.
Our annual recognition of graduates will take place on May 22. Following worship, join us in the courtyard for special treats and blessing of our high school class of 2022. (If your student is a graduate of Kindergarten, 5th, 8th, 12th, or college, please get the information and photos to Deacon Mindy ASAP).
Clothing Drive Thanks to all who helped with the "Service after Service" last Sunday; we sorted many boxes of clothes and provided 40 bags of clothing for homeless persons through TACO and for immigrant families and families in transition through Bridge of Hope - San Diego. As the first Sunday in June is Confirmation Sunday and the first Sunday in July is a holiday weekend, we will take a break from "Service after Service" sorting Sundays until the Fall. You can still bring clothes to the church; remember we want good, clean clothing for children, youth and adults.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month All high school and 7th & 8th grade students are welcome to participate in discussions around “Faith In An Anxious World.” The group will meet at 7pm on Wednesdays in May. Contact Deacon Mindy to participate. On June 1, at 7pm the congregation is encouraged to attend a NAMI presentation on mental health. Invite members of the community to join you for this important presentation.
Responding to the Ukrainian Crisis There are a number of ways to support those affected by the crisis in Ukraine. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, www.lirs.org/ukraine-crisis, lists ways to be involved from a distance. Monetary donations specifically for Ukraine can be donated online by going to the ELCA at www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/Eastern-Europe-Crisis-Response Donations by check can be given to Incarnation Lutheran Church with “LDR – Eastern Europe Crisis” in the memo line. Continue to pray for a peaceful resolution to this crisis. Oberammergau Passion Play 2022 Due to the war in Europe and the instability it is causing, we are sad to inform you that our planned trip to Germany this summer must be canceled. We regret having to cancel this trip very much indeed, but in the interest of safety, it is the wisest course. Thank you for your understanding.
WOW! The cost of groceries is skyrocketing!! Which has cost us a significant decline in food donations. If you are noticing this at the checkout imagine how it’s effecting those who are already food insecure. Feeding our neighbors in need is one of the most important things Jesus tells us to do! We can still do this, if each and every one of you brings a little. Just 3 or 4 cans each week from everybody will make a huge difference. There are often sales on canned meats, hearty soups, beans and vegetables. Let’s get back in the habit of bringing something every time we come to church. Food and hygiene products can be put in the food barrels in the narthex, or in the library, someone is in the front parking lot Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 9 and 11 or if you are not comfortable going out just yet, email me and I will pick it up from your front door. email@example.com Thank you for your never ending generosity!! -The Food Donation Team
PRAYER CHAIN The purpose of our prayer chain is to provide spiritual support and healing for church members and their families and friends. If you'd like to be a member of our prayer chain or if you would like to submit a prayer request, please notify the church office either by phone or email: 858-487-2225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thrivent Action Teams If you already know how to apply online, this is a good time of the year to run a project. If you need more information please contact Jess Reimnitz, 858.345.0757 or email@example.com.Examples: Collecting food and clothes items for families in need; Assembling Thanksgiving boxes; Operation Christmas Child; Supporting Mission Trips; Sunday School projects. They provide seed money, so you can support causes important to you. Thrivent created a program to encourage its members to live lives of generosity. Are you a Thrivent member? If so, do you know you can apply for between $50-$250 dollars to help your church with a project?
Incarnation Lutheran Church COVID-19 Policy - As of March 20, 2022 In accordance with the current Centers for Disease Control, State of California, and San Diego Health Department guidance, Incarnation Lutheran Church is updating its COVID-19 Policy for Sunday services and all other events as follows:
• Masks are no longer required for individuals regardless of vaccination status, but are strongly recommended for all individuals in most indoor settings. • San Diego County is now listed by the CDC as having a Low community level. Specific guidance is to: o Stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines o Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 • ILC will maintain its current practice of communion and other elements of worship in accordance with ELCA and Pacifica Synod guidelines • While masks are no longer required, any person coming onto our campus is welcome to continue wearing a mask, maintain a safe distance, or other measures as individually appropriate to their personal choice or personal health concerns. • We highly encourage everyone to treat each other with love and grace as we move forward. We have all been through a difficult time. Emerging from the pandemic will also be challenging. We will react to each change in guidance and church policy in our own ways as we perceive our own individual experience.