Every Sunday at 10:00 am the people of Emmanuel Presbyterian Church gather to worship God and encourage one another. Our goal in worship each week is to reorient our lives around the One who is our center. St Paul says that in Jesus Christ “all things hold together.” Weekly worship gives us the opportunity to set aside the work of trying to “hold it together” and remind ourselves that we are held together by Jesus.
Our Sanctuary seats about 140 people and on most Sundays about 110 of us gather to worship. The Bible plays a central role in our worship services. Passages of Scripture call us to worship, assure us of God’s love, guide us in prayer, serve as the foundation of the pastor’s sermon for the day and send us on our way at the end of worship with God’s blessing. We sing a mixture of traditional hymns and contemporary songs that are drawn from the texts of scripture and are chosen with a view to the theme for the day. Our music is accompanied by our pianist and a small group of musicians who play acoustic instruments. Our hope is that our worship will not be a show we watch but an act in which we engage.
During worship, nursery care and a program for preschool age children is provided each week. Our school age children join us for the first part of the service and then are dismissed for their program. We celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of every month and on those
Sundays our elementary school aged children remain in worship for the entire service.
Sundays are the time for children to participate in the life of the congregation. We use a curriculum called Growing in Grace and Gratitude and leaders are encouraged to use it as a starting point and incorporate activities that are meaningful to them. As our children’s attendance has grown, we took a step of faith this year and added another age grouping to our Sunday morning. We now have:
- a nursery for up to age 3
- a preschool group for 3 years up to Kindergarten
- an early elementary group of kindergartners through grade 3
- a 4th to 6th grade group
In the nursery, the littlest ones are cared for by loving volunteers who make this time away from parents, nurturing and enjoyable. In the preschool class, lessons focusing on Bible stories are set in the context of play and interactions. The grade-schoolers are also learning what it means to be part of the community of faith which sometimes means learning from the Bible and other times focuses on serving and ministering to others. In all aspects of learning there is a focus on relationships and encouraging the development of the whole person in the life of faith: worship and faith are more “caught than taught!” It is critical that children experience church as a place of welcome and acceptance so sometimes that means parents will keep children with them in the sanctuary until they feel comfortable leaving. Leaders of children are encouraged to use their gifts, their love of children and their love of God as the guide to how they interact with them. For some, this means storytelling, for others puppets and still others may use science or crafts to teach biblical truths. Currently, we have once or twice a month teams to lead our preschool and grade school children so that everyone gets an opportunity to worship. If you enjoy the gifts that children have to offer, are a follower of Jesus and can model God’s love then there may be a place for you to minister on a team in your uniquely gifted way with the children of Emmanuel.
“Shine: Reflecting the Light that Lightens our Load”
An Advent Sermon Series on Isaiah 40
In Advent we anticipate the dawn of God’s Light. We also anticipate the arrival of the One whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light. The dual meanings of the word light come together in Advent. The light that dawns in Christ is the light of liberty that lightens our burdens and frees us to new life. As we reflect this new life and live with a lightness of being we share a message of comfort and hope with our world. Isaiah 40 is a chapter of the Bible that gives witness to this dynamic. Through the message of this prophet, God’s light hit the faces of a despairing group of exiles in 6th century BC Babylon and empowered them to reflect that light to their world. The prophet brought a message that is just as relevant in our day. We never stop needing those tidings of God’s mercy and comfort, and when we hear them we are equipped to reflect this light and share it with our world.