The church building, designed by Emlen T. Littell, laid its cornerstone in March of 1864, and had its first services in December of the same year; it was consecrated in 1865. Littell described the architecture as "Early Decorated Church Gothic," with its opulent use of gilding, color, stencilling and painted panels. Frequently referred to as "Neo-Gothic," the architecture of the church is historically based on the so-called English 19th century Commissioners' style, named for the Commission of the Church Building Society.
The Rector believes that, for many people, music is an “incarnational experience” — the appearance of the divine in human form. Music has always played an important role in the spiritual life of Incarnation, evidenced by the church’s history of outstanding organists and music directors, including such names as Charlotte Wells, Edward Shippen-Barnes, Thomas Dunn, Leonard Raver and Jon Gillock. This tradition continues under the direction of Matthew Lewis, who was appointed Organist and Director of Music in 1994. Dr. Lewis has infused the music program with energy and creativity; he and his all-professional choir are a source of pride for the congregation.
Incarnation’s all-professional choir offers a wide variety of music for the Sunday liturgies. Services for the Holy Eucharist feature traditional Mass settings by Haydn, Mozart and Schubert to modern works by Poulenc, Messiaen, along with American music. Morning Prayer Sundays include music of the great Anglican tradition, from Purcell and Byrd to Stanford, Holst, Walton and Britten.