Letter From Pastor Luther - November 12th, 2020

Love Intentionally

Love Inclusively

Love Universally

Love Completely

Love Everyone

Love Better!

November 12, 2020   (Week 35)

Sisters and brothers in Christ, Greetings!

Things are changing.  Slowly.  Very slowly.  But changing, to be sure.  At the time of writing this newsletter, the numbers for the pandemic, in many of the important metrics surveyed in the USA, are the worst they have been to date.  That is not good news.  Most credible counsel is saying that holidays can not be the typical family gatherings we all crave.  Beyond that, the economic upheaval of work stoppages and COVID-19 related layoffs, is exacerbating the very real pain and suffering around the country. 

And we don’t seem to know what to do.  The measures prescribed by those seeking to put the brakes on the progress of the virus, seem to fly in the face of those who are rightly concerned about the state of the economy and the impact the economic downfall is having in the lives of our citizens.

And clearly, the confusion and acrimony in political circles isn’t helping, at all.

And for everyone; all of us; there is fatigue.  We are all pretty tired of the whole thing.  Not seeing family normally.  Not being able to work normally.  Not being able to socialize normally.  Suffering economic hardship for reasons totally out of our control.  Suffering sickness and death related to a disease for which there is no cure.  Whatever our situation, there is no one untouched now.

But there is some good news.  We are getting closer to having access to a viable vaccine. How close, is as yet, unclear, but progress is being made.  That at least gives hope.

Beyond all of that, there is much for which I am thankful, and I hope you are too.  The staff of ILC have stepped up to the challenges put in front of us in these days.  We have developed and crafted and corrected and tweaked and improved the way in which we do everything.  Worship, Bible studies, Devotions, Bible readings, Confirmation, Sunday school, committee meetings, etc., etc.; all these have been essentially reinvented for virtual application.  A number of members, in a profound desire to be helpful and to participate in whatever way they can to help us get over this, have also offered counsel, suggestions and support wherever they can.

As we seek to be the very best servants we can be to our God, in the service of God’s people, all God’s people, I want to invite you to join me in a word of thanks to your staff here at Incarnation.

Jacob Arevalo, the newest member of our staff, is serving as a part time custodian for our church.  We are delighted with the high quality work, and are looking forward to how much that will be appreciated by our congregants once we are back on campus together.  Thank you Jacob!

Scott Steller, is responsible for all the Internet Technology and Audio Visual needs on campus, in addition to his role as leader of “Revived,” our contemporary worship band.  At the best of times, the IT/AV part of his job requires creativity and commitment.  But now, it has demanded a sort of flexibility and ingenuity that is over the top.  You have no idea how many times Scott has been asked, “Is this possible?” or “Is that doable?”  Consistently, Scott has found a way to help us make our campus a “virtual,” online, reality.  He continues to put the music together for the band, and does so with finesse, despite having to do everything virtually.  And for all of this, we are all profoundly grateful.  Thank you Scott!

Karen Zajac, who is the musician for what once was our 5:30 Saturday service, has become a regular contributor of inspiring special music for our virtual worship, as well as adding her lovely mezzo-soprano voice to our choir.  Thank you Karen!

Dorcas Arevalo, our Finance Administrator, has been charged with keeping on top of our finances at a time when nothing is normal.  Working from home with two little ones under foot is a monumental task in itself; but working on numbers is a real challenge, and we are grateful for her dedication and commitment to the job.  Beyond that, Dorcas has been helping as best she can with tasks left unattended in the parish administrator's positions.  For all of this, Thank you Dorcas!

Dr. John Naples, our exceptionally talented organist, continues to participate in our worship through the provision of accompaniment for our ILC Singers, as well as regular pieces of special music.  His talent and creativity deepen our worship experience every week, and for this we are grateful.  Thank you John!

Beckie Steller, our “part-time” Director of Traditional Music, has found a way to get that job done.  Together with her trusty computer, she has found a way to mix and edit some pretty wonderful music from a variety of sources, drawing on volunteers for our ILC singers from our local membership, as well as from friends of ILC from across the country.  We are thus blessed with choral leadership every single Sunday.  Additionally, Beckie has put together youth pieces and bell choir pieces, and a number of beautiful pieces of special music.  All of this, you have witnessed.  What you may not know is that in order to get that done for you, the members of ILC, Beckie has ostensibly been working more than full time!  She has been a blessing to us of which we ought always be mindful.  Thank you Beckie!

Deacon Mindy Bugaj, our Ministry Assistant, whose primary portfolio is youth ministry, has developed ways to stay connected to our youth.  This is not an easy task right now, and her performance has been exceptional.  Additionally, she participates extensively in a number of other ways, providing devotions twice a week, preaching once every two months, and generally providing able leadership to the leaders of the congregation.  For all that she does, we are grateful.  Thank you Dn. Mindy!

Pastor Tim Mason, our Associate Pastor is charged with leadership of pastoral care in our congregation.  He has no doubt been in phone contact with many of you over the months of our confinement, and continues to guide our vicars in a regular “every member” canvas, to ensure the well being of the whole congregation at this very strange juncture in our history.  He also shares in the provision of daily devotions twice a week, and preaches every couple of months.  For the care that he shows to every member of ILC, we are grateful.  Thank you Pr. Tim!

I hope that despite the COVID-19 fatigue with all of its concomitant (and deleterious) issues, not to mention a season of challenging political upheaval, that you will see reason for hope and gratitude.  God has not left us alone in all of this, and we are going to overcome, and see the end of it all.  And through that process, we are indeed blessed to have a team of courageous and dedicated servants, all of whom have stepped up, well and truly beyond the call of duty, to provide you with resources designed to enhance your spiritual life in unprecedented ways. 

Please, please, please take the time to reach out to each of these people and thank them.  They are serving you, and are working harder than ever to get it all done.  Though it is so very different, the church has truly never been busier, and your staff at ILC are ably leading us through it all. 

In any case, I wish to offer each and every one of them my personal thanks for their support and ongoing commitment to serving God in this place, among God’s people in this place!  Their dedication is an inspiration to me!  Thank you all!  Difficult times?  Of course!  But these folks are in some measure what leaves me with hope for the future.

God bless each and every one of you in these days!  Remember to access our worship online, with all of the other elements as well…they are all there for you!  If you need anything, please do reach out to us.  We are there for you!  Stay safe and remember to be grateful.  God has been good to us!  God is good to us!  Always!

            Pr. Luther

“Concert in the Courtyard", Wednesday Evening worship and fellowship

Please sign up here:  https://www.godamong.us/post/wednesday-concerts-in-the-courtyard

- Before worship, around 9 am, Darrell and Nancy Datte host our after worship coffee/donut fellowship time (BYOC/D) on Zoom, and look forward to welcoming everyone in our community. Please think about joining in and saying hi to your brothers and sisters. That gathering can be found here: