Anniversary Adventures #2!!!
(a whirlwind tour of Emmanuel history by Fr. Rob)
to Fr. Paul's pioneering spirit, we have always been on the cutting
edge of church life. Emmanuel was one of the first congregations to have
women lay readers, girl acolytes, and to support women for ordained
ministry. Equal rights and fair housing were important issues in the
parish. We were in the forefront of the charismatic movement, which
lifted up the work of the Holy Spirit and led to a desire for spiritual
growth supported by movements such as Bethel Bible Study, Cursillo,
Marriage Encounter, Faith Alive, and Life in the Spirit seminars.
Outreach ministries such as Million Meals began, connection with Church
of the Epiphany initiated, Fullerton Interfaith Emergency Services,
Martha House, Aids Walk, Crop Walk, Episcopal Service Alliance and a
black Baptist church supported, and over 75 refugees given housing.
During those early years the church building, Havermale Hall, and later
Edwards' Hall were constructed, and in 1977 the church became a parish. I
came to Emmanuel in 1983 and joined Fr. Paul to become the "Grace
Brothers" as these ministries developed and the grace of God proclaimed.
becoming Rector in the mid 90's and later joined by Mo Lyn, we
continued that legacy with Fr. Paul as Rector Emeritus. The Good
Shepherd Hall was built, narthex transformed into the Angel Chapel,
Labyrinth built, Taize begun, St. Francis Garden constructed, and a
variety of new ministries initiated. Those years saw the birth of
Project Dignity, the founding of L'Arche Wavecrest for people with
disabilities, Kairos and Kairos Outside prison ministry, Daughters of
the King, the Alpha program for those new in Christ, and Catechesis of
the Good Shepherd for our children. We instituted new celebrations such
as the Blessing of the Animals, baptism by immersion, Las Posadas, Fifth
Sunday BBQs, and a trip to the Holy Land. We started multimedia
ministry through laptop on Sundays, virtual Advent and Lenten videos,
Emmanuel website, weekly blurb, and various expressions by Emmanuel
artists. In the new millennium Emmanuel had Companions in Christ,
training for those wanting to be Spiritual Directors, Healing Touch,
ongoing Cursillo support and participation, SAGE, LIGA, Legacy Fund, the
Emmanuel Community Demonstration Garden, Peace Pole, Drum Circle,
Supper Groups, Book Club, and-more recently-the Parachute Group, and
T-Party Men's Bible Study. Whew! Emmanuel has also had a significant
impact on the leadership of the church. Over the years we have sponsored
thirteen people for ordained ministry (including one who became a
bishop!) and have had a major influence for Christ on both clergy and
lay people throughout the wider church.
this just scratches the surface! I'm sure you can think of other great
programs and ministries that are near and dear to your heart. None of
this would have happened without the inspiration and perspiration of all
of you who have given so faithfully of your time, talent, and treasure,
and have made Emmanuel the amazing place that it is. Thank you!!!
Through these programs and activities we have lived out our mission to
"discover, celebrate, and share Emmanuel: God with us." Because things
tend to happen so gracefully at Emmanuel, we sometimes don't realize how
many things have unfolded in our relatively short history. It is good
to reflect (at least every 50 years or so!) on the amazing, redemptive,
healing, empowering, joyful, and spirit-filled work that the Lord has
done in our midst. To God be the glory. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
With love in Christ,