Lifetimes: March 2022


Lifetimes Newsletter

From the Staff

Senior Pastor Kai Nilsen

As you may know, the word Lent is derived from the Middle English Lente or springtime. Given this interminable winter season, Lent cannot come soon enough. With a recent eight new inches of snow momentarily hiding those sludgy piles of unending winter, it is hard to imagine anything new. But, as the seasons teach us, winter will end—it will—and springtime will surprise us with the vital energy of new growth, the vibrant colors of new life.

Good news!

There is other good news out there. In a recent conversation with the Re-Opening Task Force, we noted that the Covid-19 numbers are dropping so we will begin to move our community “toward” normal.  I keep using that phrase “toward normal” because there will be a new normal that we will live into. But, at long last, we are moving. Some will say, “It’s too soon.” Others will say, “What took you so long!” There is no way to meet everyone’s level of expectation and everyone’s level of comfort. Yes, Covid-19 is still present and will be for the foreseeable future. Ours now, is to figure out how to adjust to its presence and move “toward” normal.

Beginning Sunday, March 20 (the Spring Equinox), coffee and other refreshments will be served following the 8:45 service and continue throughout the morning. Small groups and other program ministries can begin hosting beverages and snacks as their group desires. There is something palpably good about enjoying this simple gift of friendship with one another.

We have been keeping close to the CDC recommendations throughout this pandemic. Recent changes include:
  • Masks are optional for everyone regardless of vaccination status.
  • Worship will continue both in-person and online. Please know that there is space to spread out in both of our worship spaces.

Good news.

One of the mysteries of spring is that it doesn’t come all at once. Its beauty unfolds gradually, sometime imperceptibly, but it does come. So will our renewed ways of gathering and celebrating, our worship and our caring.

Keep being gracious to one another. If you haven’t seen people in worship in a while, invite them back. Invest yourself in this season of Lent. Be… Centered in Christ, in his community, in his compassionate love.

Look forward to seeing you soon! Peace. Kai

From the Council

Wyatt Stahl, Congregation President

Mortgage and Deferred Maintenance (M + DM)

In 2017, Incarnation started a capital campaign where our contributions went towards paying the mortgage (the loan on our church structure) and building up a deferred maintenance fund. We fund routine maintenance and repairs from the operating fund while the deferred maintenance fund is for projects that extend the life of our church and its facilities. Last year, for example, deferred maintenance included items such as a telephone system upgrade, carpeting in the front office, hallway and in the nursery, and asbestos testing and removal.

In late 2021, the Capital Campaign Fund was renamed the Mortgage Fund, but the intention was to continue to use those funds toward payment of the mortgage and deferred maintenance needs. Based on discussions from our recent congregational meeting, it is important to both clarify the intended use of the Mortgage Fund and to accommodate member wishes concerning how their gifts are directed.

Acting on the congregation’s input, we are going to make the following changes:

  • Starting in March this year, we will change the donation fund selection to include “Mortgage Only”, “Deferred Maintenance” and “Mortgage and Deferred Maintenance”. When making new donations, members can make their desired selection.
  • Any donations that are currently set up for “Mortgage” will continue to be used for both the mortgage and the deferred maintenance fund. If you wish to change how your current Mortgage Fund pledges (made last fall) are being distributed, please contact Amy Faymoville at

If you have questions for the council, please email us at

Midweek Lent Services
March 9, March 16, March 23, March 30, April 6

Services centered on the music of the season, a brief reflection on a life-changing encounter between God and God’s people in the biblical narrative, and a centering prayer time shaped by Psalm 46:10.
  • 12:00 p.m. service in the Sanctuary; 30 minute services
  • 7:00 p.m. service in the Sanctuary (Livestreamed); 30 minute services

Lenten Devotions

Lenten devotions are available for anyone to pick-up at church or downloaded from here. The devotions will help us to BE CENTERED during this Lenten season as they focus on the Wednesday worship and Sunday worship texts. We invite you to read and reflect on the Bible stories with your household or a friend, and join in on the daily Spiritual practice of a centering prayer based on Psalm 46:10.

Be Centered – Lenten Labyrinth and Prayers and Illuminations

Lent at Incarnation offers a chance to Be Centered through prayer time around the cross in the Chapel and by walking a labyrinth in the Fireside Room in silent reflection and prayer. Both spaces will also have illuminations to see and reflect on from The Saint John’s Bible. You are invited to stop in on Monday-Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. (with a few exceptions when the Chapel is reserved for groups and on Fridays).

A labyrinth is a simple, circular path used for prayer and meditation. There will be ideas for walking the labyrinth in the Fireside Room. The labyrinth path moves toward the center, a place to pause around the cross, and returns to the outside. Unlike a maze, there is only one path to follow, giving you a chance to be present to your prayers or meditation. While walking, you might want to focus on a line from Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God,” or your labyrinth walk might be a time to offer the prayers that are on your heart and leave them at the cross.

Lent is a time for new or renewed faith practices and the Chapel and Fireside Room offer two dedicated, sacred spaces for times of prayer, meditation and reflection.


Psalms is often described as a book of poetry or songs – certainly something that has sound and is heard. Take a moment and consider how you might represent sound on a canvas or page. Most paintings don’t even try. Some printed comics and cartoons use varying emojis to show noises or shouting. We even say that writing in uppercase letters IS SHOUTING! This is the dilemma that Donald Jackson faced in deciding how to illuminate the volume of Psalms in The Saint John’s Bible.

The Saint John’s Bible is an illuminated, handwritten Bible that was commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, MN. The purpose of The Saint John’s Bible is to ignite the spiritual imagination of people of all faith journeys around the world. Incarnation owns one of only 299 Heritage Edition copies in the world of The Saint John’s Bible.

When discussing how Psalms should look with Donald Jackson, Johanna Becker of Saint John’s University said, “Sound never stops. Once uttered, it reverberates through the universe forever. Sacred music sounds out forever.” Every morning, noon and evening the monks at Saint John’s chant prayers whose sound reverberates through the universe forever. Donald Jackson recorded these chants, along with songs from other religions, and then used a computer program to show their oscillating sound waves (voiceprints). These voiceprints are visible throughout the Psalms volume of The Saint John’s Bible.

During the weeks of Lent, the Psalms volume will be on display in the Fireside Room and the Chapel. Stop by and see the voiceprints for yourself. Psalm 46 and 51, in particular, will be highlighted in the Lenten worship services. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God!” Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” Both of these are fitting for the Lenten season when we reflect on who we are and whose we are.

Other Saint John’s Bible illuminations that correspond to Lenten Scripture texts will also be on display in the Chapel and the Fireside Room and include Isaiah’s Temple Vision, Luke Anthology, Suffering Servant, The Crucifixion and The Resurrection. May they ignite your spiritual imagination.

Lutheran Disaster Response brings God’s hope, healing and renewal to people whose lives have been disrupted by disasters in the United States and around the world. When the dust settles and the headlines change, ELCA Disaster Response stays to provide ongoing assistance to those in need. Learn more here or donate through Incarnation’s online giving site,

Apostles Library Book Review 

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd is sure to make you think — and perhaps disagree.  Or you may find yourself saying “well, it could be…”  Could it be that Jesus of Nazareth was married in his early 20’s as would have been expected of a Jewish man?  Where would his wife have come from?  What might her background have been?  Might she have been a part of the crowd at his crucifixion?  What might have been her relationship with her mother-in-law Mary?  What if her brother’s name was Judas and what might that mean?  Who is Susanna?

While Jesus himself is certainly a character in this book, Ana is definitely the main character.  Her strength of spirit, her daring and rebelliousness, her devotion to friends and family, and her sense of longing are well brought out.  She is an only child whose father is the wealthy head scribe and counselor to Herod Antipas, tetrarch in Galilee.  Because of his position and wealth, she has been able to learn and has a gift and a hunger to write. Fortunately for her, an (scorned and not respected) aunt recognizes her abilities and longings and affirms her gifts as being from God.  When Ana is betrothed at age 14 to an older man, she yearns to rebel but doesn’t know how.  After his death, she is about to be forced to become a concubine to Antipas.  Then she meets the young Jesus as they both go into the hills to be alone.

Marrying Jesus and moving to Nazareth to live with his family is a monumental change in Ana’s life.  Jesus continues to face the longings he has for connection with his “father”.  Then there is Susanna, John the Immerser, fishermen, and Jesus’ widowed sister who is to be married at Cana.  Ana and Jesus spend much time apart for a number of reasons but are deeply committed to each other.  Ana’s aunt and brother, as well as her friend Tabitha, continue to appear and reappear throughout her life, sustaining her to the last.  You may or may not be surprised at the end of the book – – I both was and was not!

Kidd is known to many readers as the author of The Invention of Wings and The Secret Life of Bees.  This book is extremely well researched and the author’s note at the end is helpful in understanding historical fact, as well as the author’s imagination.  I was surprised to learn that someone, like Ana, had recorded the lives of otherwise forgotten women in the Bible.  Could this have been?  Were Ana’s stories hidden in the jars and found in Egypt?  You will read, wonder, ponder, and wonder again.  And doesn’t wondering and pondering help us to grow in our faith?

Ionization System Installed

Incarnation has completed the installation of a bipolar self-cleaning needlepoint ionization system.

There are 25 roof top units and 7 furnaces inside the building. The devices are installed at the furnace fan inlet, and then the fresh air gets pushed into the HVAC units and then the building.

Needlepoint bipolar ionization (NPBI), is the method of charging particles to clean the air. Bipolar ionization was installed directly into the existing HVAC systems.

These devices use electrostatically charged plates to produce negatively or positively charged ions. These ions then attract and capture certain airborne particles and pathogens. Most manufacturers claim the technology is also effective against the virus that causes COVID-19.

The system helps destroy fungi, molds, allergens including black mold, mildew, pollen, and dust mites, and bacteria and viruses.

Incarnation was able to install this system thanks to a generous gift from an Incarnation member.

Among the Congregation

the family of Pat Rydeen-Barnes on her death;
Ruth Tillquist and family on the death of her sister-in-law

Learning Opportunities for All Ages

Club 4/5 Event

Club 4/5 Play and Serve Night at Incarnation March 25, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. pizza dinner, BINGO, Nerf Night, and Service project.  Invite your friends to join you as we gather to Play and Serve! Register by Wednesday, March 23. Suggested donation of $5 to cover the cost of pizza.

First Communion Milestone

First Communion Milestone is on Sunday, April 10. At 1:00 p.m., 1st and 2nd graders will gather for their time of learning. From 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. 3rd grade and older will gather. We ask that at least one parent attend with each child. Scan the QR code above to register by Wednesday, April 6 at 4:30 p.m. or link here.

ILC Kids in April

Hey parents, Sunday, April 24 ILC Kid’s will be at 10:00 a.m. There is only ONE worship service that day at 10:00 a.m. and so ILC Kid’s is moving to that time as well. Thank you for your flexibility. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Rebecca.

Summer Student Intern Announcement – Summer 2022

Have you ever thought about becoming a leader in a church or other non-profit organization? Would you like to discover your strengths and discern a little more about your calling in the world? Do you have a unique gift you can offer the Incarnation community as we move forward? If so, the summer intern program may be for you.

Who Can Apply:

  • Young adults over the age of 18.
  • People, inside our community or community extended, who may be thinking about a career in public ministry.
  • People who have specific skills that can push us forward in our ministry.
  • We are hoping for three interns.

What is the Timeline:

  • Internships begin June 1 and run for 6-8 weeks depending on your availability.

 Paid or Unpaid?

  • Thanks to an ongoing grant from our Endowment Team, each intern will receive $300/wk for 15-20 hours of work.

What Will I do?

  • Each intern will be assigned a mentor.
  • Weekly meeting with pastors, other interns, and mentors to discover strengths and build team.
  • Weekly one to one meeting with mentor.
  • Focused work in one ministry area based on your strengths and/or expand your ministry knowledge with multiple ministry experiences.

Interested? Email Pastor Kai Nilsen at for initial conversation.

Our vision at Incarnation is “A world filled with God’s love and grace.” For that vision to be realized we need developing leaders who are filled with God’s love and grace. Maybe that leader is you!

Sunday Afternoon Small Group – Meet in Person or On-Line

Explore the theme Be Loved: Being in Relationship, Being in Community in a small group, with the option of meeting in-person or on-line (hybrid format) on Sunday afternoons at 4:00 p.m. for five gatherings. Find out more.   To register email Denise Floe, Director for Small Group Ministry at

Kairos Classes in March

CareTeam Ministry: Helping Others through Challenging Times
TODAY  7-8:30 p.m.
Are you looking for ways to engage with others in meaningful ways? Are you going through something that has made your life difficult lately? Join Pastor Janet Karvonen-Montgomery and Care Team coordinators Dianne Timmer and Marilyn Arny to learn more about the ways people are helping one another, even in these pandemic times.

The saying “Into every life a little rain must fall” is an observation about the variable nature of life. As a community of faith, the Incarnation community has numerous ways of helping one another through some of life’s challenging times. One of those means of support is the Care Team Ministry, an effort to match people’s needs with others who willingly offer specific gifts of time and service. This free of charge response gives people of all ages an opportunity to bear one another’s burdens as a vocational calling.

Standing in Solidarity with Indigenous People: Moving Beyond Land Acknowledgement
March 21, 7-8:30 p.m.

As people of faith, we have a responsibility to reflect and acknowledge the original peoples of these lands, as well as the histories of dispossession in which faith communities have participated. Most importantly, move beyond words and into action. Native Theologian and Luther Seminary doctoral candidate Kelly Sherman-Conroy will lead a participatory conversation that centers Native People, re-evaluates Land Acknowledgements, and moves people of faith towards more meaningful active participation in reparations and reconciliation. Sherman-Conroy, Mato Wašté Winyan (Good Bear Woman), has grounded her life in the Holy Spirit and deep spiritual practices intertwined between her Lakota identity and Christian beliefs.

A proud member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe, Kelly walks with people of all cultures and dedicates her time to social justice, racial reconciliation, trauma and healing, Indigenous leadership, and family ministry including work with the Minnesota Council of Churches, ELCA Youth Ministry Network and Authentic Diversity Committee.

Social & Racial Justice Opportunities in March

 An Incarnation Ministry Partner – Joint Religious Legislative Coalition and the 2022 “Day on the Hill”, by Vernita Kennen
The Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) is the largest and most inclusive interfaith public interest group in Minnesota — people of diverse faiths bringing vision and wisdom to the public realm for the well-being of Minnesotans. JRLC is authorized and governed by four Sponsoring Members: the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Minnesota Council of Churches, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, and the Islamic Center of Minnesota.  Founded in 1971, it was the first interfaith public-interest lobby group in the United States.

JRLC is governed by a 16-person Executive Board made up of four representatives from each of the sponsoring faith communities. The board guides policy decisions culminating in a ratification process that requires each JRLC position to be approved by all the sponsors’ governing bodies. JRLC is unique in this accountability structure and thus speaks in a unified voice for these faith groups.

JRLC continually influences Minnesota legislation in many policy arenas including: welfare reform, housing, health care, human rights, criminal justice, environmental stewardship, tax policy, ethics in government, gambling, economic justice, bias crimes, firearms regulation, and other policy areas.

You can prepare to be an effective advocate this year by attending a JRLC training session March 8, 6:30-7:30 p.m. for an in-depth discussion of JRLC’s 2022 legislative priorities. Register for the training here.

JRLC’s largest annual events is Day on the Hill, where hundreds of Minnesotans come together to be briefed on social justice issues before visiting members of the legislature at the Capitol.  In 2022, Day on the Hill will once again be a “Day on the Screen” event and most legislative visits will also be virtual. March 15, 6:30-8:45 p.m., we gather with the theme “For Such a Time as This”.  Keynote speaker will be Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, a faith leader in the Jewish Orthodox tradition and Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis.  Register for Day on the Hill here. Join and let your voice be heard!

Join the online community conversation centered in BIPOC voices and leadership with others, Come Together for Racial Justice on March 17 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. Hosted by Incarnation’s partner, the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement, this month’s gathering will feature Pastor “PK” Kelly Chatman and the anniversary of the Healing Our City virtual prayer tent. Learn more and register here. Former gatherings have been recorded and are found here.

Uncommon Threads: Quilting as a Way to Transcend Boundaries 

Join the Center of Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement  as they convene a two-part series to hear Joseph Mallard and Janet Hagberg’s stories of quilting as a pathway to relationship which transcends boundaries of race and culture. Share in your own conversations about how your passions and hobbies might be a vehicle for building relationships across these same boundaries in our lives. March 8 and April 14, both from 7 – 8:30 p.m. over Zoom. Learn more and register for each evening here.

Ways to Serve and Donate

Minnesota FoodShare, February 28 – April 11, 2022
Minnesota FoodShare, the largest grassroots fundraiser and food drive in the state, aims to restock food shelves statewide, including the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf. Drop off physical donations at Incarnation anytime the building is open or bring them directly to the food shelf. Because of supply chain issues, the following items are in particular need at this time: Breakfast foods, lunch items, tomato products, household cleaning and personal hygiene items. You may also make financial donations on behalf of the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf through Incarnation’s online giving site . A portion of all donations made – financial and physical – will be matched by Minnesota FoodShare. Learn more here.

Seeking a Leader for a Clothing Drive Benefiting Veterans
Incarnation has been approached by an organization called Every Third Saturday with an invitation to host a clothing drive for veterans sometime in the next several months. If you’re curious about this and/or would be interested in leading or co-leading such an event from the Incarnation end, please email Becky Benson, Director of Engagement and Service, at, who will connect you with a volunteer from Every Third Saturday for more details.

Serving the Solid Ground Community
There are currently a number of ways to serve the community of Solid Ground: providing support to residents creating or updating their resumes (in person or via phone or email), being food shelf market volunteers, hosting a community meal or driving residents. Learn more details and indicate here. (link to )

FMSC Meal Packing at Coon Rapids Permanent Site, March 15 and 16
Packing meals at Feed My Starving Children in Coon Rapids is a great way to serve in community together! Tuesday, March 15 from 7 – 8:45 p.m. and Wednesday, March 16 from 2 – 3:45 p.m. have been pre-reserved for you to pack with others of Incarnation.  FMSC continues to update safety protocols following the most current COVID-19 guidelines, keeping volunteers and FMSC staff safe. To sign up for a shift, visit Incarnation’s FMSC page.

January Financials