Church spotlight: Emmanuel Lutheran Church
Name of Church: Emmanuel Lutheran Church
Address: 7763 E. Long Look Drive, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314
Phone Number: (928) 772-4135
Denomination: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org). The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Leaders: Kirk Anderson, pastor; Brita Hammit, faith formation director; Adam Bissell, faith formation assistant; Gene Fougner, music ministry coordinator; Don Dimmel, church council president.
Founded When: Emmanuel Lutheran held its first service Sept. 23, 1990, at the Sunrise Funeral Home in Prescott Valley. Emmanuel officially chartered as a congregation on Sept. 20, 1992. After years of worshiping in gymnasiums and other temporary facilities, Emmanuel held its first worship service in the current facility on March 2, 2003.
How Many in Congregation: about 400 confirmed members plus youth, family and friends.
Services: Sunday worship includes two blended services. The 8:15 a.m. service is a more traditional worship service, with hymns and organ music. The 10:15 a.m. service is more contemporary with acoustic guitar and keyboard accompanying contemporary Christian music. The new 5 p.m. Saturday night worship service is contemplative, with quieter music, one scripture lesson, a briefer message and more emphasis on prayer.
Three words that describe you and/or your church:
Learning: Emmanuel puts a strong emphasis on Bible fluency, with 15 Bible and book studies at the church and in members’ homes. Youth education starts from birth with nursery, Sunday school, confirmation and high school classes. Special learning opportunities include prayer workshops, the Young at Heart monthly luncheon, Cursillo, and special events.
Serving: We believe we follow Jesus by serving as he served, so there are ample opportunities to serve in worship, in fellowship, in caring ministry, and in the community. Service is how we put our gifts to work for the good of our church, our community and our world.
Relationship-building: We believe a church is its members, so relationships are everything. People grow in faith through fellowship activities, music (an adult choir and two handbell ensembles), care and nurture ministry, serving in worship together, and social events like our spaghetti dinner, annual picnic and an annual Oktoberfest dinner.
Church’s mission and goals: Emmanuel’s Welcoming Statement reads – We are an inclusive faith community that seeks to live the Word and Way of Christ’s unconditional love. This means that, like Christ, we believe each person is a beloved child of God regardless of shape, size, economic status, religious background, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender identity, or anything else that could divide us. We give thanks to God for the unique identities with which we are created, and have found here a fellowship of believers that accepts us just as we are. Come worship with us and enjoy full participation in all aspects of our life together, including baptism, confirmation, communion, marriage and burial.
Who would feel most comfortable coming: People who want a worship experience that is authentic, who are longing for a family of faith rather than just a place to go to church on Sunday morning. Emmanuel Lutheran is an active, service-oriented church that is filled with faith-formation, fellowship and families of all shapes and sizes – college students, couples, young families, empty-nesters, newly retired couples and singles of every age.
Community Outreach Programs: It’s hard to decide where to start. Each month, Emmanuel selects a different community organization as its outreach organization. For 2017, these are Agape House, People Who Care of Prescott Valley, Trauma Intervention Program, Only a Child, Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity, Yavapai Territorial Gospel Rescue Mission, Yavapai Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Navajo Evangelical Lutheran Mission, Humboldt Hungry Kids Program, Camp Rainbow, Yavapai Family Advocacy Center, and Project Aware. In addition, there is a monthly Interfaith Meal open to all people on the second Friday of each month. Emmanuel does a food drive monthly for the Prescott Valley Food Bank, does two yearly blood drives, and supports the Humboldt Unified School District with backpacks and school supplies. In addition, every September is a God’s Work, Our Hands National Day of Service, in which Emmanuel members perform community service in the surrounding communities. This year, members completed 19 projects, including painting, clean-up, teacher care kits, beautification, letters to military members, college students and shut-ins, and meal preparation for veterans. Emmanuel also hosts district AA meetings, local quilters and other groups. Each summer, a weeklong Vacation Bible School is open to all children in the community until the classes are filled.