Worship is at the heart of congregational life at Immanuel. With gratitude for the gift of new life in Jesus Christ, we gather each week to praise God, to dwell upon his character, and to hear his Word proclaimed. We seek to balance clarity of vision with diversity of expression and creative innovation with genuine respect for our heritage in our worship services. In all things, we strive to distinguish worship from entertainment. Our worship services are intended to provide each of us with opportunities to participate in praising God and the communion of saints.
Order of Service Immanuel's worship service reflects important emphases from the Reformed tradition. Because we believe what Scripture says about our sinfulness, we pause near the beginning of every service to confess our sins and hear the promise of forgiveness through the work of Christ. Because we prize the Bible as God's self-revelation to us, the sermon is central in our service and is almost always an exposition of a passage of Scripture. Because we hold that the Bible teaches the Christian priesthood of every believer, we encourage lay participation in the service--reading Scripture, prayer, communicating a missions concern, or sharing a testimony to God's grace. In all we do in worship, we seek to kindle awe at the greatness of God, holy fear at his perfection, and deepest joy at his love shown to us in Jesus Christ.
Preaching At Immanuel, the preacher of the Word is its servant, who yields to its authority and commits considerable time to studying the Word and preparing to preach it. Previous sermons can be listened to online.
Scot's Form of Communion Scottish Presbyterians believed that the Lord's Supper should symbolize the risen Christ at the covenant meal where believers are nourished by his redemptive work. In the words of Samuel Rutherford, Christians "should sit, as banqueters, at one table with our King, and eat and drink."
For more than a decade, Immanuel has gone forward to the tables in response to our Lord's invitation to receive his grace. In sacrament and song, we share with others in the meal that anticipates our life together in the kingdom of God.
In accord with our practice of the Lord's Supper, children who have not yet made a public profession of faith are asked to refrain from partaking in communion. We invite those children to come to the Table and be seated with their parents with their hands folded as an indication to the serving elder. The elder who serves the elements will offer a prayer of blessing upon each child. It is our hope that this custom will encourage children as they grow in "the nurture and admonition of the Lord" and prepare them for fuller participation in the life of the church.
The Visual Arts Artists in our congregation periodically design art works to be used in corporate worship. They symbolize some truth or help clarify a theme related to the focus of a service or season.
Music Music has been a central part of their experience as long as Christians have gathered together. For that reason, music at Immanuel is not a preparation for worship; it is an act of worship itself. Whether we are singing hymns or choruses as a congregation or are listening to a choir or soloist, we are offering praise to God.
Singing is a unique form of human expression. When we sing in worship services, we affirm our individual and group commitments, receive instruction, and are opened to one another and to the Holy Spirit. Instead of being entertainers, the choir and soloists help lead us in worship by encouraging our spirits. Instrumental music can draw our minds away from ordinary concerns toward a contemplation of God by evoking specific feelings, images, and associations.
The music selected for worship each week is intended to coincide as closely as possible with the spirit and content of the Scripture and sermon for that day. At times, this will mean that we worship with familiar tunes and words, while at other times we may be introduced to new songs and hymns. Whether classic or contemporary, strange or familiar, music at Immanuel is meant to help each of us flourish in our fellowship and in the worship of our Savior.
Music Opportunities There are many opportunities to participate in the music life of Immanuel. The choir leads worship twice a month and on special occasions throughout the church year, such as Lessons and Carols and Holy Week Services.
The Immanuel Orchestra is open to instrumentalists of all ages and performs once a month during Sunday worship. There are also opportunities to participate in contemporary music teams. If you play guitar, percussion or would like to lead, please contact Mary Hopper, Minister of Music, at (630) 393-4400.
In our worship services, Immanuel relies primarily on human voices and acoustic instruments. These are supported by two main instruments.
The first is a Steinway 7' grand piano, which lends a beautiful rich tone to our services. It is used in a wide variety of styles, including contemporary, jazz, and classical and is dedicated to the memory of Sanna Anderson Baker, former worship committee member.
The second is a two-manual pipe organ which adds great beauty and color to our worship services. Like many things in the church, it was acquired and built by our members. Its three divisions contain twenty-five ranks designed on principles of American tonal architecture. While designed primarily to accompany congregational and choral singing, it has sufficient resources to play a variety of solo literature with a wide musical palette. It was dedicated in 2004 to the memory of Ruth Steffler, former choir member.