Every week through our ‘Season of Celebration’ (May to July) for the 25th Anniversary of the church building we’ve enjoyed a variety of church members, young and old, established and new, sharing what Emmanuel church means to them.  On Sunday 9 July new members Phil and Ros shared the following and I thought it was worth sharing – with their permission, of course! 

Thank you for the kind invitation to say a few words on what Emmanuel means to us.

It has been fascinating for us to hear more about the history of the church over the last few weeks. Ros and I are relatively new to the Church having arrived in Billericay around December 2015 and started attending the Church the following year.  Whilst we obviously don’t have the same history as some, nevertheless, Emmanuel has become a very special place for us over the last year and a half. We will set out now some of the reasons for choosing Emmanuel as our place of worship and for the affinity that we have for the Church:

E is for engaging.
One of the reasons that we chose to attend Emmanuel was the engaging nature of the Church and the people that we met. From an amazing worship band (thank you Richard, Rob and the others who faithfully lead our worship so wonderfully each week) to the interactive talks that both enhance and challenge our understanding, we chose Emmanuel Church as we knew it would help us grow in our knowledge and relationship with God.

M is for mum and dad groups.
Having become parents in the last year, the family aspect of the church is really important to us. We appreciate all the church does for us as a family – things like the baby prayer shower and all the support and advice from the ladies in the congregation, the Friday morning toddlers group and the Teddies group when Daniel is little older. Phil loves going to “Who let the Dad’s out” on a Saturday morning and spending time with Daniel and chatting to other Dads– and it is a win-win for me as I get to sort the house out and a few hours to myself, which is priceless!

M is for mission.
One of the things that we think is great about Emmanuel is the outward looking focus of the Church. The mission focus Sundays, the shoebox appeal, the Christian Aid collection, the Christmas ‘Toy Service’ gifts to Basildon’s Women’s Aid, Churches together, the Street Pastors and many more. Small things can make a big difference in people’s lives. It is fantastic how Emmanuel is at the heart of demonstrating God’s love in the community and the wider world.

A is for Ash Wednesday.
A fond memory of my time here was being greeted by two robed men (Paul and Dan) at Billericay Train Station giving me (and other commuters) a leaflet on Lent and the offer to put the sign of the cross on me with ash as I started my daily commute….and I still even managed to make my train!

N is for new life.
One of our most special days was when Daniel got baptised here in February. It was a lovely celebration that all our friends and family enjoyed. It is wonderful to know we have the Church’s support as we try to bring up Daniel to know and love Jesus.

U is for unity.
The amazing thing about the Church is that it brings people together. It is not easy having to try to cater for different ages, backgrounds, circumstances, personalities, opinions and people at different stages in their journey of faith. However, what is tremendously special is people coming together to worship and pray, united in praising the one almighty God.

E is for Easter.
We have now been at Emmanuel for two Easters. Both years have been really special – the moving services before and on Good Friday, the family time on the Saturday followed by the great joy and celebrations on the Sunday.

L is for love. 
What is clearly evident is the love that is here….the love that people have for Emmanuel, the love that people have for each other inside and outside the Church, and most importantly, the love that they have for God.

Put that all together, what do we get: Emmanuel!

We feel blessed to be part of this Church. We are thankful for the faithfulness of all those who have been involved in bringing the Church to this point and look forward to seeing what God has planned for the next 25 years and beyond.

Happy 25 years Emmanuel!