This article first appeared in the April/May 2017 edition of The Pilgrim Magazine.

June 1992 seems a lifetime ago! John Major was Prime Minister, Leeds United were at the top of the foot-ball league and Oasis was dominating the music charts. It is also the time when our congregation ceremoniously marched along Billericay High Street led by the Bishop of Bradwell, The Right Reverend Derek Bond, from Saint Mary Magdalen church to Emmanuel to mark the formal opening of our new home in Laindon Road, which had recently been completed and built on the site of the old Archer Hall. This purpose built, modern facility with a striking geometric design would allow the church to grow in a modern environment conducive to worship.

The halls complex which was part of the original plan, but completion deferred until additional funds could be raised, would eventually complement the church and provide a great asset to hold events and clubs for the church family and the wider Billericay community.

Since then we have been led by three rectors, served by several curates along the way, and the congregation has changed with some old faces departing and new people arriving.

Sunday 25th June 2017 will mark our 25th Anniversary and we are planning a programme of celebrations to mark this important milestone from May through until July. The whole Emmanuel family is obviously invited, and an extended invitation for our main event will be sent to other churches in the team. The uniform groups and Emmanuel clubs such as “Who let the Dads Out” and “Mother and Toddlers Group” will also be included. A formal invitation will be sent to invited guests, including past members of the Emmanuel family who have moved away from the area, and those families who have held baptisms or confirmations in the church. We also propose to invite a couple of local dignitaries.

We will have several guest speakers at Sunday services who have all been part of Emmanuel’s evolvement and a cross selection of our congregation will be asked to complement the preaching by telling their testimony of “What Emmanuel means to them”.

The list of external speakers is as follows:

Date Name 10.30 am Service
7 May Mike Lodge All Age Worship
14 May Peter Ashton Communion
21 May Christine Williams Family Worship
28 May Colin Baldwin Communion
11 June David Lowman Communion
25 June Bishop John All Age Worship
9 July Elwin Cockett Communion
16 July Kevin Wren Family Worship

On Saturday 10th June, we bring our celebrations to the High Street with a drop in at Saint Mary’s for the wider Billericay community and provide light refreshments and a commemorative bookmark to those who call in.

The main event will be on 25th June. This will consist of a Family Worship service starting at 11am where the Bishop of Bradwell will be preaching. It will follow into an afternoon of celebrations including a traditional BBQ and some outdoor games for the children on the overflow and main car parks plus Afternoon Tea served by the Mothers’ Union in the Rectory garden.

On Sunday 23rd July, our celebrations will end with a Holy Communion Service of Thanksgiving and the theme for our Sunday Worship will be based on “Contentment in Generosity” focusing on Philippians 4:10-23. In advance, envelopes will be provided to all the congregation and it is hoped everyone will make a special donation towards the Maintenance Fund to ensure the fabric and assets of the church buildings are kept in a good condition for the forthcoming 25 years and for the next generation of the Emmanuel family to enjoy.

We hope you will be able to one of the celebration events and services so please mark them in your diaries.