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What to Expect When You Attend Emanuel for Worshipyou-are-welcome

Emanuel is wheelchair accessible. A wheelchair ramp is available to bring you into our church building and wheelchair lifts are available for entry into the sanctuary and social hall. Ushers are available to assist you. If you have a visual, hearing or other disability, please call us to arrange accommodations. Come to a barrier-free worship experience.

Dress at Emanuel is informal. However, if you prefer to dress up that is fine too. If you are most comfortable in jeans, so are many others. Even though Emanuel does now have air conditioning, in the summer months, you may still want to dress comfortably for warm weather. Come as you are, dress casually and comfortably.

The Emanuel worship experience is always going to be engaging. We have highly trained professionals who direct the worship music. We have an adult volunteer choir as well as a bell choir, featured congregational instrumentalists and music in the Sunday School program. More importantly, congregational singing is energetic and spirited. Come and plan to have music be a part of your worship experience.

If you are like other members at Emanuel you will be challenged by our pastor’s sermons. You will be told in a variety of ways that the Christian faith is not a spectator sport and that what is required of us is a living faith. The sermons are also posted on the Emanuel website so you if missed a Sunday or would like to read and re-read a sermon, you will find it posted. Come to be challenged and to be stretched beyond your comfort zone.

At Emanuel, every effort is made to lift the language of worship above the limitations of referring to God in exclusively male terms. This effort is made in order to honor the infinite greatness of God and is intended as an act of praise to the One in whom we live and move and have our being. So you will hear God referred to as Creator, Redeemer and Holy Spirit. You probably won’t hear the words Father and Son and Ghost. Don’t be alarmed. We do believe in one God in three persons, we just don’t believe in the gender specific language to describe or pray to such an awesome God. We also don’t believe that ancient language always helps us to understand God’s presence in our lives. Come open to new expressions in the prayer and praise of God.

Holy Communion is the defining sacrament that binds us together as a community and sustains us in our life as a church. All are welcome to receive this sacrament who believe that Christ is present in the elements. To participate, please come forward in the center aisle and kneel at the chancel rail. Reception of the elements is by intinction, taking the Host received from the presiding minister, and dipping the edge of it into the non-alcoholic wine (grape juice) presented in the chalice by the assisting minister. When you have received the sacrament please return to your seat via the side aisles. If you are not ambulatory, just stay in your seat, indicate to the usher that you would like Communion, and Pastor Jeff will come to you. Come and participate in the sacrament that makes us a Christian community.

You can expect to be greeted warmly when you enter church. You will meet members from many ethnic and racial backgrounds as well as members from many other denominational backgrounds. Worship takes place on the second floor in the sanctuary and you will be guided there, walking up the stairs or using the wheelchair lift. Emanuel is a warm and loving community and we do express this during the exchange of peace in the worship service. You will be free to participate as fully or as little as you like. Coffee Hours are often provided after church for food, beverages, and socializing. Come to be welcomed into a warm, welcoming community.

In terms of the worship experience, there are a few other things worth knowing. If you are accustomed to signing yourself with the cross when the blessing is given, feel free to do so at Emanuel. Other than for Holy Communion, we really don’t kneel. If you feel tired or weak, please sit. If you need assistance for any reason, we have ushers stationed in the back of the church to assist you, just wave your hand. If you are lost in the worship booklet, just ask someone standing near you, they will be happy to help. Restrooms are in the social hall, which is in the lower level of the church. There is a nursery on the first floor to accommodate little children. And if you want to mention someone in the prayers of the church, you can write that prayer request on the little slip of paper in each pew and drop it into the offering basket. Come and participate freely in worship.

Finally, after worship, you will be greeted as you leave the church and you will be invited to leave your name and contact information so that we can invite you back. There is no pressure, and all of this is voluntary. There are many activities beyond worship that take place at Emanuel, and you are welcome to participate. We hope the experience feels right to you and that you will return to worship with us. Come and plan to return.