To say that Betsy and Charles Powell have lived a lifetime at Incarnation is an understatement. Even their children, Charles and Bryan, are third generation members of the church. The Powell family has seen many changes over the decades: new rectors, young priests who grow and are called away to lead other parishes, capital campaigns, and now the new construction which we all marvel at and enjoy so much. Betsy even recalls the transition in the 1980’s when Incarnation, once considered a low church—where priests were referred to as “Mr.”, and Eucharist was only celebrated once each month—shifted to a high church featuring the liturgy, music, and weekly communion we are all accustomed to today. “There is such a sense of community among the parishioners. Things change, but the act of worshiping together each week is what keeps this church healthy and strong,” adds Betsy.
Over the years they have watched their children, and those of their friends, be baptized, confirmed, graduate from high school and college, and get married. “The support we have among our friends and for each other’s children is special. Our kids may not know of this, but we consider our family much bigger than the ones who have lived under our roof,” Betsy says.
As a life-long member of Incarnation, Charles has witnessed the circle of life occur within these walls. When his mother passed away, their family was in a fog. “One of her dear friends, Kate Fitch, showed up at our back door and didn’t leave for four days. She did everything from pick hymns for the service, receive food and flowers, and feed the visitors who stopped by at night to pay their respects. My usher team volunteered, and our friends read the scriptures at the service. It was a real act of love. When my father passed away a few years later, everyone showed up again with the same energy for honoring his life and grieving his loss. Each time friends of ours from other churches attend funerals at Incarnation, they always leave remarking how positive and uplifting the services are here. We agree.”
Now that their children are grown, Charles and Betsy are involved at Incarnation in new ways. Their growth group is made up of people they have known for years and with whom they share many common memories at Incarnation. “In this group, our histories converge and there is unbelievable depth there. When we recess in the summer, we miss each other’s company and our weekly Bible study,” they say.
“When Charles and I talk about what we are going to do with the rest of our lives,” Betsy explains, “we always circle back to how we could never leave Incarnation where our roots are so strong. Our entire life history is embedded in this place.”
As you might imagine, that is only part of the Powell’s Incarnation Story. There is more to share if you ask them one Sunday.