What kind of church?
Emmanuel is a ‘roots down, walls down’ Open Evangelical Anglican church. We have a passion for the Bible and a commitment to lively and engaging preaching, and for seeing people respond to the living God through creative worship and openness to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Our congregations represent a wide range of Christian commitment and are comprised of people from Baptist, Pentecostal, Brethren, Free Evangelical, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and New Church backgrounds… as well as Anglicans!
Groups from the church attend New Wine, Spring Harvest, Soul Survivor and Greenbelt. We are affiliated to the Evangelical Alliance. We strive to avoid the partisanship which sometimes characterizes churches like us.
Emmanuel has a worshipping community of around 500 adults (with an average Sunday attendance of 400). If we add the number of fringe, occasional attendees, the figure rises to over 800 adults.
Discipleship and nurture
A key part of our vision is to make Christian disciples who are equipped to live out their faith in daily life. Emmanuel has thirty weekly home groups which are attended by more than 250 adults. These groups provide an important way to belong to such a large church. Each one is lay-led. Oversight of these groups, including the writing of study material, the training of leaders, pastoral intervention and troubleshooting when necessary, is a key part of the ministry of the clergy at Emmanuel. Whilst the traditional weekly home group is effective for some, it is not always the best way to disciple busy people and we are keen to explore other ways to do this through, for example, short term courses, workplace groups, life skills groups, and the use of social media.
In addition to home groups, clergy are involved in delivering regular biblical, theological and life-stage courses and events which seek to equip adult disciples.
Alpha runs twice a year, and the clergy
have also written tailor-made courses
(‘Being Human’ and ‘Puzzling Questions’)
designed to engage local people who were
not yet even asking religious questions.
In a large, thriving church, pastoral care of church members and residents of the parish is shared among many people. It takes place formally and informally in various contexts, with home groups playing an important part. We encourage all church members to exercise care for one another as members of the Body of Christ. The Pastoral Oversight Team, comprised of the clergy and three Southwark Pastoral Auxiliaries (SPAs), also responds to crises, provides one to one care and counsel and aims to provide oversight of the wider pastoral care of members of the church and the parish.
Community ministry and social outreach
Emmanuel is engaged in a variety of community projects including parents and babies/toddler groups, a weekly group for children and young people with learning difficulties, a homeless shelter, English language classes for women, midweek social groups for the elderly, a growing dementia support ministry, and a community food store. Emmanuel also runs and hosts the Croydon Disabled Christians Fellowship.
Croydon Community against Trafficking, while not an Emmanuel project, is chaired and organized by two Emmanuel members. The clergy are actively involved in supporting and overseeing these various projects.
Emmanuel’s work among children involves 75 lay volunteers and has regular contact with 350 children under the age of 11. The Bible is taught in creative, fun and engaging ways, and children are nurtured through to a life of faith by growing their confidence in prayer, learning from the Bible and small group activities. Each year the older children go away for a weekend to spend more time together, and more extensive learning and community time.
Emmanuel has a growing ministry among local primary schools with a Schools Assembly Team which regularly visits four local schools.
An average week in Emmanuel Children’s Ministry involves a wide variety of activities and age groups. We have a thriving toddler group with up to 90 toddlers and their parents and carers that meets weekly in term time. Emmanuel Toddlers is one of the main ways that we make connections with those in our local community.
Bumps and Babies is a group for new mums to find a safe place to meet other mums in similar circumstances, and share experience, anxieties, and a place they can belong.
Friday Night Project is for 7-11 year olds and has really captured the hearts of kids in our local community. Up to 100 children come along each Friday to find a place that they can belong, and to hear about the love that God has for them. With all sorts of activities and fun along the way, it has fast become one of our biggest events, and through connections made in the community, has encouraged families to try other church activities.
Emmanuel runs an annual Holiday Club for local primary children, which sees approximately 180 children join us for the week. Our hope with our holiday club is that children come to encounter Jesus and learn about his love, sometimes for the first time. We also cater for parents by connecting with them in our Holiday Club Café to draw them into community as well.
All this is overseen by a full time member of staff, our Children’s Ministry Coordinator.