The Altar Guild is an important ministry of every worship service held at Emanuel and relies on many members to accomplish various tasks. Although the members work mainly behind the scenes, their commitment and dedication help to enhance and enrich the worship experience for all of us. We would like to thank everyone who has helped in any way.
Our Flower Committee arranges the altar area with the beautiful flowers for the seasons of Easter and Christmas. After the services each week, they, and their helpers, rearrange the altar flowers into small bouquets for delivery to homebound members or those recuperating from illness. We encourage members of the congregation to assist in the delivery of these flowers—a short visit and a friendly face means the world to shut-ins. Stop in the Luther Hall Kitchen after the service to see where you can help.
Children’s Library Committee
The Children’s Library has hundreds of books, both fiction and non-fiction, in its collection. These books are for all ages, beginning with board books for toddlers and ending with books that are appropriate for teenagers. Beyond that level, there is a group of parenting books to assist parents in raising their children in a Christian environment. DVDs are also available for check-out. The library is open on all Sundays that Church School is in session and a volunteer is always available to assist with locating age appropriate materials and or checking those materials out.
Several times a year Sunday School classes spent their entire class time in the library. The “librarian” of the day read to the children and taught the lesson of the day. Children were encouraged to check out materials and circulation increased dramatically on those Sundays. Children also visited the library at the end of the Church School year to borrow books for the summer and in early December to check out books from our extensive Christmas collection.
We are continuing to add to our book and DVD collections. We continue to add to the popular Veggie Tale collection and this year we have begun removing videos from our collection. We are attempting to replace many of those VCR videos with comparable DVDs.
Cradle Roll Ministry
Bringing young families together with Christ continues to be a blessing. Children are recognized at their birth as well as on their Baptism Day when they receive a cross and Baptismal medallion. Cards are sent on their baptismal anniversary as a remembrance of that special day. Children are also remembered on their birthdays when they receive gifts such as books or a collection of books and activities called Mouseprints, which help teach children about the church year. They might also receive a stuffed bear or lamb, a burp cloth or a wooden Christian symbol. A Christmas and Easter book are also given to the first child in a family as they approach or have just reached their third birthday. As families grow, our variety of educational and Christian gifts also grows. Hand-stamped cards accompany these gifts.
Some Cradle Roll families also receive “SPLASH” materials every month for three years. These are faith formation materials including musical CDs and monthly newsletters. Splash materials are being phased out and the families of new Cradle Roll members receive an online faith formation newsletter called Frolic.This is also received monthly.
The Book of Remembrance in the Narthex is a beautifully illuminated volume filled with the names of deceased church members who have been memorialized by their families and friends. It is a history of Emanuel’s people.
A donation to the memorial fund – both an act of sympathy and an expression of gratitude for a person’s life – can be a great source of comfort for the family during a difficult time. This tangible gesture of condolence recognizes the deceased’s faith and devotion to Emanuel because the money donated is used in perpetuating the church and its work.
As memorial contributions are received, the person who has presented the gift receives an acknowledgement, and a family member of the bereaved is provided with a list of the donors.
The Property Committee team serves Emanuel by ensuring the grounds, buildings, and services are dutifully maintained and improved. Our volunteers comprise a small but committed group of new & old experiences, perspectives, and resources. Together, we support Emanuel’s missions by performing maintenance and enhancements that promote an active & inviting presence for our congregation and community.
SPROUT (Saturday Parish Recreational Outreach)
SPROUT is our outreach ministry at Emanuel that began in September of 2013. It is a nutrition and movement program, designed loosely on Michelle Obama’s “Get Up and Move” initiative. Many children in Hartford live below the poverty level. The children receive breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner at school, but on week-ends there is often little food in the home. The idea is to attract impacted children from our immediate church neighborhood to come on Saturday mornings at 10:00 and eat a healthy breakfast, play active games in the gym, and leave at noontime with a nutritious bagged lunch. The program is designed for second – seventh graders.
The program started slowly with six children in September of 2013, but we have seen steady growth. We now have 30 children enrolled, and average about 28 children each week. We are currently at capacity for the second year in a row, and have a waiting list as children age out or move out of the area. The children who come love the good food, individual attention they receive and the active play in the gym. We have provided each SPROUT family with a $50.00 grocery gift card at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Emanuel members have taken a stocking and stuffed it with age-appropriate toys and games for each child, and also purchased an age appropriate toy much to their delight. Funds for this were also collected from generous Emanuel members and friends. The confirmation classes collected new hats, gloves, mittens and scarves for the SPROUT children, and each child received a packet with all the supplies in December. In addition, we gave each of our SPROUT children a bicycle, helmet and bike lock on the last day of SPROUT in June.
About 60 members of Emanuel have signed up to be SPROUT volunteers. Tasks include shopping for the food, baking cookies or bars for the lunches, registering and welcoming the children on Saturday mornings, cooking the breakfasts and making the lunches, cleaning up, and active play with the children in the gym. We are so grateful to our many volunteers who are the backbone of the program and show up so willingly each week, many wearing our “God’s Work, Our Hands” t-shirts and a smile. Funding for this program comes from a portion of the annual proceeds of the Sandberg Mission Fund and donations from Emanuel members and friends. We are truly blessed as a church to be able to provide this meaningful ministry to our neighbors.