Ministry of Outreach
Why We Love & Serve
Ministry is about giving of ourselves and our time, talents, and resources to bless and help others.
When we serve in ministry, we will find our greatest joy and most fulfillment in life.
Outreach at Emmanuel intertwines with almost everything and everyone in our parish. Emmanuel Outreach seeks to serve God and respectfully respond to the worldly needs of those Jesus referred to as “the least of these” (Matthew 25:35-46).
Many of our projects fall into the traditional understanding of the word. We collect used cell phones and recycle them through an organization that supports soldiers. We collect food and donations for neighborhood food pantries. We volunteer with homeless organizations, work with Diocesan missions and ministries, and support places such as The Samaritan Group, The Good Neighbor Fund, and Compass Hospice.
We have several fund-raisers during the year, and the primary purpose of each is to raise funds for organizations and people outside of Emmanuel’s walls. God has blessed us with funds to maintain our building, and the support of our parishioners continues to fund our operating budget. So we are in a position to use fundraising for mission; and we are grateful for the opportunity to make concrete differences in the lives of folks living in the county and beyond.
One of Emmanuel's most popular outreach programs for not only parishioners, but the community as well, is the highly anticipated annual Christmas Bazaar. Each year the proceeds from our annual Christmas Bazaar are given to local non-profit community organizations that provide services to those in need.
Commitment to Social Justice
At Emmanuel we are serious about our commitment to address social and racial injustice issues and to grow as a community dedicated to loving God and loving our neighbor. We do this through prayer, study, learning, conversation, and an ongoing commitment to doing the hard work of racial reconciliation and healing in partnership with others in the community.
In addition to supporting the local NAACP, the Social Action Committee for Racial Justice, and activities surrounding MLK Jr. Day, Black History Month, and the Feast Day of Rev. Absalom Jones, Emmanuel has partnered directly with other congregations to host lectures and prayer services for racial reconciliation and healing, to participate in and sponsor programs such as Sacred Ground, a film-based series on race and faith, and Undoing Racism, and to hold discussion groups.
Give Change to Make Change
Even our Sunday School classes get involved in outreach to the community. Each year the youth of the parish hold a Pancake Supper on Shrove Tuesday. The proceeds from that supper are combined with the money collected during Lent in the Sunday School’s “GIVE CHANGE TO MAKE CHANGE” collection. Last year, the Sunday School packed 20 bags of food for the Community Food Pantry’s Backpack Program and presented the program directors with an additional check.
Laundry Love is Emmanuel’s local participation in a “no strings” giving program to the community, based on a larger national program. On the fourth Thursday, in the late afternoon, volunteers spend two hours at a local laundromat just chatting with community members while providing quarters for washing and drying their laundry. This offering is not based on any need, except the “need” that we at Emmanuel feel to engage with the community. Sadly, the pandemic has caused a pause in this effort, but we look forward to restarting in the near future.
Emmanuel parishioners, along with friends from the wider community, volunteer their time and skills to prepare and serve lunch free-of-charge to the mentors and students of the annual National Music Festival in Chestertown, the Washington College student summer workers, and to the students of the Horizons Program.
Emmanuel reaches out to the community in other ways. Our large Parish Hall serves not only as a space where Emmanuel parishioners gather for parish events, but also as a place where community groups can meet. We have been home to weekly AA meetings and monthly meetings of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. The Community Marching Band uses our hall for practice sessions while the Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble turns our worship space into a concert hall four times a year for their free public concerts. Each summer for two weeks the hall becomes the lunch spot for no-cost homemade lunches for the National Music Festival students and mentors, as well as for the Washington College student workers. Autumn brings the High Holy Days of the Jewish calendar and provides us with an opportunity to affectionately rename the Parish Hall "Temple Emmanuel" as we host the Chestertown Havurah for their special services, as well as other events.