Life at Emmanuel
Emmanuel has been described as a “thinking person’s” church. Our Christian formation programs at all levels strive to inspire a thoughtful approach to spiritual growth, to provide forums in which to ask and answer questions about our faith and our role as Christians in the world today, and to renew the inner spiritual light in each of us.
We learn together and from each other.
Emmanuel is a family friendly Church offering Christian Education for children from age 3 through Grade 6. (Professionally staffed child care for children under age 3 is also provided on Sunday mornings beginning at 9:30 a.m.) Each Sunday morning, the Church School students gather inthe parish hall for a “Chapel” service and education led by our teachers. The Children's Chapel includes scripture readings, story telling, singing, and an opportunity to learn more about the Episcopal faith tradition and our style of worship. In recent years our approach to education has involved teaching Bible stories using Legos, with the kids acting out events in the lives of Moses, Jospeh, and Jesus. The scenes are then filmed and compiled into videos, with narration by our children, and shown to the parish on Sunday mornings and at other times. Older children and youth are welcome to assist in the Chapel program. After the 40 minute Chapel time, the children return to the church to sit with their families and to share in Holy Communion with the rest of the congregation. Several times per year, the Worship Committee schedules Church School Leadership Sundays, when the students are invited to lead us in our worship services by serving as ushers, doing readings, and performing songs.
“Church is the place I like best next to home.”
—Student in Kindergarten/First Grade Class
Emmanuel's young people play an active and engaged role in the life and ministry of the parish. youth are regularly involved in outreach programs and participate in diocesan activities, such as Middle School and High School retreats at the Barbara C. Harris Camp, multi-cultural and social justice awareness programs, and more. Youth are encouraged to become confirmed members of the Episcopal Church. Confirmation Classes are typically offered every other year. The most recent group to be confirmed spent a year preparing for this major milestone in their lives, discerning what it means to be an Episcopalian while also exploring and learning about other religions through field trips and a spiritual retreat at the Barbara Harris Camp in Greenfield, New Hampshire.
“When I see 15 or 20 raucous, happy kids burst in [to Church] during “The Peace” each week followed by a handful of dedicated volunteer Church School teachers, I feel happy and I feel a sense of hope for the future."
Emmanuel's Youth Group is not only focused on the classroom. The Youth Group also meets periodically for field trips, such as attending a recent performance of “Jesus Christ, Superstar” at the North Shore Music Theatre. In addition, the youth of our parish are actively involved in our worship services, many serving as Acolytes or readers, singing in the Choir, or helping to teach Church School classes.
Like Emmanuel's younger members, the adults in the parish have a strong desire to deepen their faith and understanding. Our Wednesday evening education program at 7:00 p.m., with dinner preceding, includes adult education every week. Sessions are led by the Rector, seminarians, guest speakers, and parishioners. Topics include world religions, deepening our spiritual life, understanding the Anglican Communion, as well as Bible study.
Monthly sermon reflection sessions are offered during coffee hour following the 10:00 a.m. service. During Advent, Lent, and other times during the year, additional adult education programs are held on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. Recently, parishioners have participated in programs as diverse as an "Introduction to Hebrew Scripture" and “Pursuing God with U2,” a program exploring the religious themes and symbolism in the music of the rock band U2.