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Music at Emanuel


Music plays a very important part in the life of Emanuel. Emanuel is a singing congregation that has benefited from the great musical heritage of the Lutheran church but also from the music of other traditions and sources. Living in today’s world, we continue to acknowledge this heritage while simultaneously looking to the present and future for new ways to express our faith through music.

Listen to a sample of congregational singing at Emanuel:

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One reflection of the musical diversity of the congregation is through the variety of liturgies (orders of worship) that are used to guide the worship life of the congregation, and through the variety of sources from which congregational hymns are drawn. We primarily sing from the New Century Hymnal in companion with Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW), the Lutheran hymnbook. Additional sources include the 1991 Hymnal Supplement and Worship & Praise.

There are a number of liturgies utilized throughout the year in our worship services, each of which aims to capture the spirit of that particular church season. As is our practice at Emanuel, adaptations are made in the texts when necessary to ensure that worship at Emanuel is fully inclusive and that God is not made as small as one gender or referred to exclusively as "he." These liturgies include: the "Supplement" service by Marty Haugen, a popular, melody-driven liturgy that is enjoyed by many denominations of Christians; two liturgies that are based in the gospel/spiritual tradition of church music; a plainsong liturgy is used during Advent to establish a meditative preparation for Christmas. During Lent, the congregation's worship is guided by chants from the Taize' Community in France that, while simple and often repetitive, help amplify the reflective mood often present during those forty days.

During the summer months, the order of worship is constructed out of popular hymns that are put in place of traditional pieces of the liturgy and suggest a dignified informality. There is even a liturgy based on prayers and hymns from New Zealand, using the resource of A New Zealand Prayer Book of the Anglican Church. These liturgies, along with the other musical offerings at Emanuel, help reflect our commitment to inclusivity, both through diversity of musical sources and through variety of styles; during any given service, it is our hope that at least one musical element of worship will resonate with you.