“Here in the land of clouds and evergreens, I established one of my most promising missions, supported in winter by the resident congregation that enlarged as the summer homes and inns filled.”
On September 24, 1894 the Rt. Rev. Joseph Blount Cheshire, D. D., Bishop of North Carolina, organized the Mission of the Incarnation in Highlands.
The Church of the Incarnation remained a mission until 1956 when it became an independent parish. In 1958, Incarnation became a self-supporting parish under the guidance of the Rev. Dr. Herbert Koepp-Baker.
Dr. Koepp-Baker was an internationally recognized authority in clinical psychology and speech pathology, teaching in nationally known universities, and his leadership in Highlands was widespread. He was instrumental in reopening the local hospital, founding a hearing clinic and administering the Asheville Orthopedic Hospital.
Dr. Koepp-Baker’s community involvement was an outreach which Incarnation parishioners still seek in their rectors to this day.
During this time, a lovely prayer garden, landscaping, and a beautiful church entrance were created; the “Parish Post” newsletter was begun, the office was computerized, sound and video systems were installed and many other improvements were added.
Father Bryan also gave a substantial amount of his time and talent to the community by founding the local Hospice program and spearheading the revitalization of the Highlands Inter-Church organization. He was a leader in the ecumenical cooperation among local ministers and gave strong support to environmental groups, the Highlands Playhouse and the Chamber Music Festival.