Lifetimes: January 2022

Lifetimes Newsletter

From the Staff

Senior Pastor Kai Nilsen

In her book, Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown noted that “in 1980 approximately 20% of Americans reported feeling lonely. Today it’s more than double that percentage.” That was written just before the pandemic. I wonder what the response would be now after almost two years of varying degrees of isolation.

Brown also reminds us that loneliness has less to do with proximity to others and more to do with our willingness to share intimacy with others. “True belonging is a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. We want true belonging, but it takes tremendous courage to knowingly walk into hard moments.”

Our Epiphany series for January and February, “Be… Loved,” invites us to examine both our need for and our willingness to be in relationships of “true belonging.” Our worship themes will use the assigned texts for the Sundays to examine various aspects of beloved community.

January 9:  Be… Loved.  Baptism of Jesus Sunday (Be…loved community is a place of belonging.)
Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22

January 16:  Be… Friend. (Be… loved community knows that relationships are the place of miracles—both ordinary and extraordinary.)
John 2: 1-11

January 23:  Be… Open (Be… loved community is open to the leading of the Spirit.)
Luke 4: 14-21

January 30:  Be… Clear (Be… loved community is willing to claim who it is and who it loves even at risk of opposition.)
Luke 4: 21-30

February 6:  Be… Honest (Be… loved community is vulnerable, honest, and follows Jesus even in our weakness.)
Luke 5: 1-11

February 13:  Be… Blessed (Be… loved community understands that Jesus blesses surprising people and speaks truth to power.)
Luke 6: 17-26

February 20:  Be… Loving (Be… loved community loves beyond our its own capacity and desire.)
Luke 6: 27-38

February 27:  Be… Changed (Be… loved community is open to and longs to be changed.)
Luke 9: 28-36

To supplement the worship themes, we have designed small groups to dig deeper into the primary themes of beloved community. They are open to anyone and will be five sessions in length. If you are interested in these small groups, please contact Denise Floe at

I appreciate Brown’s first words, “True belonging is a practice…” Beloved community requires intentionality, humility, and honesty. As we enter 2022, I’m going to encourage you to participate in the “practice” of beloved community through consistent worship, learning, and living intentionally in the love and grace of Jesus.

At Incarnation, we envision a world filled with God’s grace and love. To create a world filled with God’s grace and love we have to be people of grace and love who live in a community of God’s grace and love!  Let it be so for us!

Peace. Kai

The Saint John’s Bible: Not just a pretty book

by Grant & Deb Rykken

The artwork of The Saint John’s Bible is certainly awe-inspiring. People are often speechless when they first see one of the many illuminations. The colors are beautiful. There is so much to take in. There are layers and layers of meaning, starting with the big picture down to the small details throughout.

But The Saint John’s Bible is not just a pretty book. Its purpose is to ignite the “spiritual imagination” for people of all faith journeys throughout the world. The words “spiritual” and “imagination” are seldom used in the same sentence, much less together. To me, spiritual imagination means that we can see something completely new in the artwork that allows us to ask questions and understand the Bible in a new way that deepens our understanding.

The illuminations are intended to illuminate the Bible text for the viewer, making it richer and giving a new perspective on the stories. Consider the Baptism of Jesus illumination shown here. What do you make of John walking away in the foreground? Where is Jesus in the image? What do you see in the sky? How does this illumination enhance our understanding of Jesus’ baptism and your own baptism?

One benefit of viewing the illuminations with other people is to share your spiritual imagination with others. As I view illuminations with others, I often hear ideas from them that never occurred to me. My spiritual imagination is sparked by those new ideas. Whenever possible, engage in conversation with others about the illuminations. What do they see? Don’t be afraid to ask questions like, “What do you think this represents?” or “Why do you think this was included in the illumination?”

Incarnation’s Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible is housed in the Alleluia Chapel and always available for viewing. Certainly, the artwork is beautiful and can inspire awe. But how might it ignite your spiritual imagination?

Another Kind of Happy Hour – Starts Tomorrow!

Want to increase your happiness and overall positive feelings? Looking to add some mental fitness to your life? You may be able to find comfort and interest in the workshop titled, “Another Kind of Happy Hour.” The full 10 hour course has been scheduled for January 6, 13, 20, 27 and February 3. Sessions will be presenting two lessons each night on those five weeks. The first night will be a repeat of the material covered in the two-hour workshop. If you already took the two hour workshop, it is your choice if you want to repeat these lessons on January 6 or if you’d prefer to start the full course on January 13. If you are interested in signing up for the full course you must register by clicking on the January 6 date even if you do not plan to attend that first night. For questions, please contact Donna McDonald at 763-458-2855. The session will be held on Zoom. Click here to register.

For questions, please contact Donna McDonald at 763-458-2855. The Another Kind of Happy Hour course expansion is a recipient of the Budding Idea Grant program, made possible by the Endowment Fund. There is no charge to take workshop. Happy Hour created by Janet Lewis Muth, MPH, Carleton College

Apostles Library Book Review

by Vernita Kennen

The Book of Lost Friends is a new title by Lisa Wingate. It is really two stories but interwoven so you are going backward in history but also living in today’s 1980’s. It is the story of three young women (Black, White, Mixed Race) in 1875 Louisiana and also the story of a young White first year teacher in 1987 Louisiana at a poor small-town school. The chapters alternate and it takes a while before one realizes that the stories will eventually find their way to a merge. It ends with a recap, slightly changed, from the very first chapter.

The premise of this book is based on a historical “Lost Friends” database in the New Orleans Historical Collective . . . an amazing and unknown (to me) piece of post-Civil War history from the Southwestern Christian Advocate newspaper.

All these young women, both historical and modern, are amazingly strong. They all make choices that make their lives and the lives of those around them different. And they tell stories and name names. This quote from page 5 sums things up: “At the very least, we must tell our stories, mustn’t we? Speak the names? You know, there is an old proverb that says, ‘We die once when the last breath leaves our bodies. We die a second time when the last person speaks our name.’ The first death is beyond our control, but the second one we can strive to prevent.”

Solid Ground Monthly Home At Last Tours Have Returned!

Learn about Incarnation’s ministry partner, Solid Ground, by attending their next Home At Last Tour on January 11 from 5:30 to 6:30pm.  This is an opportunity to see the East Metro Place building, located in White Bear Lake, where residents live and many of the staff support offices are located. You will hang out in the room where community activities take place throughout the year.  The Night to Unite meal and other special dinners are served in this room. It is the place where children work with their tutors, where families select winter wear from our annual coat drive and where special celebrations are held. You’ll hear from a staff member and learn how Solid Ground helps families build the strong foundations they need to emerge from homelessness into a brighter future – and this gathering will take place in just one hour. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and get to know a member of the staff. Tours are held the 2nd Tuesday of each month.  RSVP to to reserve your spot!

Help welcome Solid Ground families as they settle in their new homes and community. Families are presented with Welcome Baskets filled with cleaning supplies and basic household needs when they first arrive at Solid Ground. Families often have few, if any, household items. Many arrive after staying in shelters, living in cars or bunking with friends and relatives. Welcome Baskets not only fill a necessary need for families transitioning from homelessness, but also serve as a warm and hospitable welcome from our Incarnation community.

Donations can be dropped off at Incarnation in the bin marked “Solid Ground Welcome Baskets” from January 9 through January 30. Monetary donations are also appreciated as they will help provide Welcome Basket items throughout the year when supplies run low. Make a financial donation by writing a check to Incarnation with “Solid Ground Welcome Baskets” in the memo or by making an online donation, selecting “Solid Ground” from the dropdown options . Thank you for your generosity as new families start their new lives at Solid Ground!  

Sanctuary Banner: Epiphany

White and green are the two liturgical colors used during the Season of Epiphany.  White is the color associated with the festivals of Christ (Epiphany, Baptism of Our Lord, and Transfiguration of Our Lord). These three festivals are represented by the white Epiphany star and two white panels on a background of green.  White symbolizes purity, light, and glory.  Green is the color of spiritual growth and life.  Epiphany celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ; it refers to the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi from the East who brought gifts to the infant Jesus. The Baptism of Our Lord commemorates the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the River Jordan; as soon as Jesus was baptized, heaven was opened and the Spirit descended in the form of a dove and alighted on him.  The Feast of the Transfiguration commemorates when Jesus took three of his disciples up on a mountain where Moses and Elijah appeared and Jesus was transfigured.

We honor the memory of loved ones in the memorial gifts given below:

Donor                                                  Fund Name                                   In Memory of
Anonymous Donor                             Memorial – Pastoral Care                   Kathryn Anderson
Michael & Julie Ruether                   Memorial – Pastoral Care                   Kathryn Anderson
Nancy Wilson                                     Memorial – Pastoral Care                    Kathryn Anderson
Arthur Wineman &                          Memorial – Pastoral Care                    Kathryn Anderson
Debbie Musolf
Rachel Eklund                                 Memorial – Worship & Music                       Jerry Eklund
(10 Year Memorial)
Gary & Mary Ann Anderson        Memorial – Ralph Reeder Food Shelf      Carol Hawkins
Dick & Ann Christiansen               Memorial – Undesignated                         Carol Hawkins
Ken & Rosalie Grosch                   Memorial – Undesignated                           Carol Hawkins
Harry & Marian Johnson            Memorial – Ralph Reeder Food Shelf      Carol Hawkins
Gary & Mary Lunstad                  Memorial – Cemetery                                   Carol Hawkins
Marlys M. Nelson                         Memorial – Ralph Reeder Food Shelf        Carol Hawkins
Bev Seabloom                                Memorial – Ralph Reeder Food Shelf        Carol Hawkins
Rollie & Murt Seltz                       Memorial – Ralph Reeder Food Shelf       Carol Hawkins
David & Marsha Stimpson        Memorial – Undesignated                           Carol Hawkins
Cal & Sharon Wilson                  Memorial – Endowment                              Carol Hawkins
Kimberly Lehman                  Memorial – Pastoral Care                        Phyllis Lehman
Carol Jo Forneris                  Memorial – Christmas (Holy Days)         Charles & Virginia Linder
Cal & Sharon Wilson            Memorial – Endowment                         Duane Nelson
Gary & Mary Ann Anderson          Memorial – Endowment            Louise Ostergren
Ken & Rosalie Grosch                      Memorial – Undesignated          Louise Ostergren
Marlys M. Nelson                             Memorial – Endowment              Louise Ostergren
Rollie & Murt Seltz                           Memorial – Undesignated             Louise Ostergren
Paul & Ruth Tillquist                       Memorial – Organ Fund                 Louise Ostergren
Cal & Sharon Wilson                      Memorial – Endowment                  Louise Ostergren
John Riedel                           Memorial – Undesignated                          Babs Riedel
Rachel Eklund                  Memorial – Children’s Ministry                    Babs Riedel
Al & Joyce Anderson                   Memorial – Undesignated                Nancy Swenson
Gary & Mary Ann Anderson    Memorial – Endowment                     Nancy Swenson
Warren & Lois Arndt                 Memorial – Undesignated                   Nancy Swenson
Rosanne Bader                           Memorial – Undesignated                    Nancy Swenson
Donna Brennan                         Memorial – Undesignated                    Nancy Swenson
Kathryn Brewer                        Memorial – Undesignated                    Nancy Swenson
Marilyn Cuddihy                      Memorial – Undesignated                     Nancy Swenson
Nadine DeRider                        Memorial – Undesignated                    Nancy Swenson
Marilyn Fritze                          Memorial – Undesignated                     Nancy Swenson
Jim & Carol Fruehling           Memorial – Endowment                         Nancy Swenson
Arvin & Jane Gehrking          Memorial – Esther Circle                       Nancy Swenson
Ken & Rosalie Grosch             Memorial – Undesignated                     Nancy Swenson
Judith Hunder                          Memorial – Undesignated                     Nancy Swenson
Carl & Jan Johnson                 Memorial – Endowment                       Nancy Swenson
Harry & Marian Johnson     Memorial – Undesignated                    Nancy Swenson
Dale & Vernita Kennen          Memorial – Undesignated                    Nancy Swenson
Keith Klein                                Memorial – Undesignated                    Nancy Swenson
Gail Larson                               Memorial – Undesignated                    Nancy Swenson
Doris Lehner                            Memorial – Undesignated                     Nancy Swenson
Will & Carolyn Liebenow     Memorial – Habitat for Humanity      Nancy Swenson
Gene & Mary Lou Lindholm    Memorial – Undesignated                  Nancy Swenson
Marlys J. Nelson                     Memorial – Undesignated                      Nancy Swenson
Marlys M. Nelson                   Memorial – Endowment                         Nancy Swenson
Larrie & Lou Ann Reese        Memorial – Undesignated                      Nancy Swenson
Bev Seabloom                          Memorial – Undesignated                       Nancy Swenson
Rollie & Murt Seltz                 Memorial – Undesignated                       Nancy Swenson
Andrew Swanson (Foxtailers)        Memorial – Undesignated           Nancy Swenson
Anna Thorstad                         Memorial – Undesignated                      Nancy Swenson
Multiple Cash Donations       Memorial – Undesignated                     Nancy Swenson
Don & Claudia Wiebold         Memorial – Undesignated                     Nancy Swenson
Cal & Sharon Wilson               Memorial – Endowment                       Nancy Swenson

Among the Congregation

Karol Campbell and family on the death of her brother; The family of Earl Currie on his death; the family of Larry Dahl on his death; Bill Reichwald and family on the death of his father; Amanda DePhillips and family on the death of her mother; Chris Passaro and family on the death of his mother

Brooklyn Marie, daughter of Carissa and Macalester Holm

Come Together for Racial Justice

Join Incarnation’s partner the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement, in online conversations, Come Together for Racial Justice, a virtual convening for leaders to learn, share, and mobilize for racial justice. These 90-minute sessions are centered in BIPOC voices and engage in shared conversation to learn from each other.

The next gathering will be held January 20 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., and will feature a dialogue between Rev. Kelly “PK” Chatman, Rev, Babette Chatman and Rev. Robin Bell. Register here. Pre-registration is not required, so don’t let registration be a barrier to joining the conversation the night-of. The zoom link used is posted on the registration page if you decide to attend last minute.

Mark your calendars for February 17 for the next Come Together gathering.

Kairos Begins New Season

Another season of Kairos Online will begin January 10, 2022. Historically, Kairos Adult Forum has been a time each Sunday of enrichment for mind and spirit. A mix of timely topics, Bible study, and theological exploration are presented by scholars, theologians and other professionals. During the pandemic, Kairos began meeting online and will continue to do so this winter/spring season. We will meet online via Zoom in order to allow people to safely engage with presenters and other participants around important topics. All Kairos Online events in this series are on Mondays from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. via Zoom on the dates below.

January 10
The Spiritual (But Not Religious) Biography of Charles A. Lindbergh
Dr. Christopher Gehrz, professor of history at Bethel University
A growing share of Americans identify with no particular religious tradition, but still hold spiritual beliefs and engage in spiritual practices. To help Christians understand their “spiritual but not religious” neighbors, historian Chris Gehrz tells a less-familiar version of the story of Minnesotan aviator Charles A. Lindbergh, who distrusted organized religion but spent much of his adult life thinking and writing about divinity, mortality, and ethics. While it led him to appreciate the wisdom of Jesus and other religious figures, Lindbergh’s spiritual quest also deepened his interest in eugenics and his belief in white supremacy.
About the presenter:

Chris Gehrz (PhD, Yale) is professor of history at Bethel University, where he teaches courses on everything from the world wars to sports to Christianity. He is the author or editor of several books, including Charles Lindbergh: A Religious Biography of America’s Most Infamous Pilot (Eerdmans, 2021) and Faith and History: A Devotional (Baylor University Press, 2020). Chris attends Roseville Lutheran Church with his family.

January 24
Grace Changed Everything: Mormon Missionary to Lutheran Minister
Katie Langston, Director of Digital Communication at Luther Seminary
Katie Langston never meant to leave Mormonism. She grew up in a devout Mormon family in Utah, served a proselytizing mission to Bulgaria when she was 21, and married “for time and all eternity” in the Mormon temple when she was 23. From the outside, she had a typical Mormon life. Inside, she was coming apart at the seams. She battled obsessive-compulsive disorder and extreme religious anxiety. Then, almost by accident, she had an encounter with the grace of Jesus Christ, and her world changed. In this presentation, Katie will share how grace changed everything for her…and can for you, too.
About the presenter:

Katie Langston is a doubter by nature and a believer by grace. Director of digital strategy for Luther Seminary’s innovation team, she oversees digital projects aimed at cultivating vibrant Christian spirituality in a postmodern, post-Christian cultural context. She is the co-host of Luther Seminary’s “Enter the Bible” podcast, worship band leader at New Promise Lutheran Church in St. George, Utah, and a candidate for ordination in the ELCA. Katie lives in Southern Utah with her husband, two daughters, and dogs Buffy and Willow.

If you are interested in registering for the next season of Kairos, please register here. You do not need to register for each event. This registration will cover the entire Winter/Spring 2022 series. By registering for the Winter/Spring series of Kairos online, you will receive reminder emails with the Zoom link and an email following each event with the video replay link (if/when available).

Small Group Ministry Offerings

Winter Small Groups: Be Loved – Being in Relationship, Being in Community
Enter a new year, knowing that you are beloved by God. Carry that love into your relationships with friends, acquaintances and strangers, in your person-to-person interactions and as a blessing for the wider community. Be light, be love, be surprised, be stretched in your connections with others, all while being rooted in God’s love for you. New small groups begin in January using a new faith study, Be Loved, to reflect on our relationship with God and relationships with one another. The faith study and small groups are a chance to reflect and talk with others about themes in Sunday worship during Epiphany. Watch for more information. Interested in taking part? Check out the Incarnation website (search for Be Loved small groups). Register by emailing Denise Floe at

Dear White Peacemakers: Book Discussion Small Group
Connect in a small group to talk about the book, Dear White Peacemakers, by Osheta Moore. Drawing on the Sermon on the Mount, spirituals, and personal stories from her work as a pastor in St. Paul, Minnesota, Moore invites all to enter into the story of shalom and the work of anti-racism peacemaking. Osheta Moore was a guest preacher at Incarnation in October 2021. To find out more or express interest in the group,register, email Nancy Stutzman at
When: Five Mondays, 7:00-8:30, starting February 28 on Zoom

What is the Bible: Book Discussion Small Group
Many of us have plenty of questions when it comes to the Bible. This small group will discuss What is the Bible? by Rob Bell. Instead of being irrelevant or outdated, Rob Bell offers a perspective of the Bible as “more revelatory, revolutionary, and relevant than you ever imagined.” This group will meet on Zoom for six sessions led by Georgia Schultz.
Order the book or find out more: Register by emailing Denise Floe at
When: Twice/month on Mondays, 1:00-2:30 p.m., starting January 10 on Zoom

Social and Racial Justice Opportunities

Joint Religious Legislative Coalition’s Housing January Webinar
Another JRLC webinar on Housing will be held on January 6, 2022 from 6:30-7:30 with a following half hour for breakout session conversation. The topic will be “Special Challenges and Opportunities for Inclusion” and will include speakers from the Second Chance Coalition (persons with justice system involvement), National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI) and The ARC for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Register to participate with Joan Miltenberger.

Joint Religious Legislative Coalition 2022 Legislative Kick-off
Join others of Incarnation and beyond who are interested in interfaith advocacy for social justice, to hear plans for the 2022 legislative session. Included will be an overview of session challenges and opportunities, and the JRLC legislative agenda. Tuesday, January 18, 6:30 – 7:30 PM via Zoom.

Monthly Packing Opportunities at FMSC Coon Rapids Permanent Site

Join those of the Incarnation community at Feed My Starving Children in Coon Rapids to pack meals during shifts that have been reserved specifically for Incarnation. One evening shift on the third Tuesday of each month and a daytime shift on the fourth Wednesday of each month, are available. FMSC has adjusted processes and practices following the most up-to-date COVID-19 guidelines, allowing volunteers to pack while maintaining safety. For more information and to sign up for a shift, visit the FMSC page on the Incarnation website.

Positions Open

Formation Leader for Elementary Students
Incarnation Lutheran Church is seeking a part-time Formation Leader for Elementary students to begin immediately. This position is for 25 hours a week and offers prorated vacation and sick time. The candidate will work with the Director of Children’s Ministry to plan and implement children’s ministry programming for children in Preschool through fifth grade. Hours will include Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings during the program year. It is preferred that the candidate have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university OR three or more years of ministry experience. To apply, please send a cover email with a brief statement of your faith formation, and resume to Danette Griffith, Administrator at  by January 15, 2022.
Communications Manager
Incarnation Lutheran Church is seeking a full-time Communications Manager to begin immediately. The Communications Manager will develop, implement, and evaluate the overall communications strategy in collaboration with the leadership of the church. The manager will work collaboratively with ministry leaders and volunteers, internally and externally, to develop and execute communications plans for all events and initiatives. This will include writing and design projects; Website management; social media content, including Facebook and Instagram accounts. Develop and maintain a communications editorial calendar for content including print, website, video, podcast, blog, email, social media, etc., determining need and methodologies. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is required along with at least five years of experience in a church setting. A design certificate is preferred. To apply, please send a cover email and resume to Danette Griffith, Administrator at by January 15, 2022.

November 2021 Financials

Recurring Online Giving
If you currently give electronically and have increased or need to make a change to your commitment for 2022, please remember to log into your Realm account to make those adjustments. Once you have logged into Realm, you should select GIVING and then select SCHEDULED to view your recurring donation and make any changes. If you are currently signed up through Realm for recurring donations, do not have any changes for 2022 and do NOT have an “END DATE” recorded in your Scheduled donation, there is no need to do anything as they will continue during 2022. If you scheduled your donations to stop at the end of the year (2021), you will need to go into your Realm account and schedule a new recurring donation. If you have any questions, contact Amy Faymoville at or 651-560-7056.