We welcome visitors to Emmanuel and are delighted to have folks who are new to Emmanuel come through the door! Ushers will be there to greet you on Sunday mornings and they can help you get acclimated to our service. We enjoy children being in church during the service but also offer a nursery for younger children when parents choose to use it. While Sunday morning worship is at the center of our identity as Episcopalians, there are many other offerings throughout the week and year that may capture your attention and interest. We encourage you to talk to members or make an appointment with the rector, who is the priest/pastor, to learn more about our faith community.
During the service
The 8:00 a.m. service consists of quiet worship based in the Book of Common Prayer, Rite I Eucharist (also known as Holy Communion), with no music. Rite I is a liturgy which utilizes the older Elizabethan English. It is more penitential in nature than the Rite II service.
The 10:30 a.m. (10:00 a.m. in summer) worship service is more celebratory in nature. It is also rooted in the Book of Common Prayer Rite II Eucharist. The organ accompanies us as we sing hymns, ancient and new. As a mission-minded church, we also have a "Mission Moment" each month. We have a children's sermon once a month. We also offer healing prayer once a month as well.
For both services, we begin with the Liturgy of the Word, which includes prayer, Scripture readings, a sermon, the Nicene Creed, the Confession and the Peace. Then we shift to the Liturgy of the Table where the focus shifts to the altar where the bread and wine are consecrated or blessed and given out to the congregation. Congregants unable to walk to the altar area are invited to let an usher know they would like to have communion brought to them. Those who are able to walk easily are welcome to come up to the "Table," which is the altar rail. Folks may either kneel or stand to receive communion and then return to their seats.
After the service
After the final hymn, we have announcements that are pertinent to the parish. One can learn a great deal about the parish through these announcements. Then folks are welcome to linger and enjoy fellowship with one another.
Becoming a Member
It really is quite easy to be a member of Emmanuel. Speak to the rector and she can help you get acclimated. You may enjoy almost all the benefits of life at Emmanuel just by showing up. You can add your name to the church directory and to the weekly email list. If and when you are ready to become an official member you are welcome to either have your membership transferred if you are already a member of another Episcopal Church, or you may be confirmed or received by the bishop of our Diocese of Southwestern Virginia when he next makes a visitation to Emmanuel. Being an official member opens the possibilities for involvement a little wider, which includes being a Vestry member and a Eucharistic Minister (a Chalicist)
Worship is at the heart of who we are and what we do. We worship the Triune God, focusing on the three persons of the One God, God the Father or Creator, God the Son our Redeemer, Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit, the Sustainer. Sometimes in the Episcopal Church we say that our Sunday worship is the springboard for life. In other words, our Sunday worship is not intended to be a segregated part of our week or isolated part of our being but something that is integrated into our week and incorporated into our being. It is a gift that teaches us how to live all the time. The word "liturgy" comes from the Greek, meaning "public works," which refers to all the people of the church, the participation, of everyone who gathers together for worship.
When we pray together through the liturgy we are participating in an ancient stream of worship, over two thousand years old for us Christians, based on Jewish liturgies even older than that. Think about it -- when we pray together in this fashion we are joining the voices of others in the room but also all around the world, today and beyond time. We join all the saints in ages past. Our prayers point to a deep connection to the living and the dead through God. These common prayers have withstood the test of time. What a joy and privilege to enter this mystery that points us to God.