The summer season begins on Sunday, June 12th!

We'll have one service at 10 a.m.

Summer 2016

Summer 2016

We’re looking forward to another wonderful summer at Emmanuel Church in 2016. Our first service of the summer will be a single service of Holy Eucharist at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 12. Then, we resume our regular schedule, starting June 19, of two services each Sunday: one at 8:15 a.m. (Holy Communion, Rite 1) and one at 10 a.m. (Morning Prayer, Rite 2, except on the first Sundays of July and August, when we will have a service of Holy Eucharist at 10 a.m.). Our last service of the summer will be a single service of Holy Eucharist on Sunday, Sept. 4. We hope to see you this summer!

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Inside and Out

Inside and Out

“Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” Mark 7:14-15

The Reverend Luther Zeigler

August 30, 2015

On Tuesday of this coming week, I will have the great privilege of sitting down with thirty or so brand new freshmen at Harvard College and leading them in one of their very first college classroom discussions. This session is part of freshmen orientation week and the discussion is framed as a “community conversation.” As the Freshmen Dean’s Handbook describes it, the “Community Conversations exercise is a crucial part of the College’s effort during freshman orientation to help the members of the entering class learn about one another and what it means to live in a diverse and inclusive community. Freshmen are typically both asserting their individuality and discovering more about themselves in relation to their peers. We hope that these conversations will give them an opportunity to reflect on that experience in ways that will facilitate their entry into the Harvard College community and also help to shape it.”

One of the primary aims of the conversation is to start these students thinking about human identity and its various threads: how each of one of us can be viewed as a unique fabric woven together from many different threads. Threads of gender, of race, of age, of ethnicity, of language, of religion, of socio-economic background, of differing family histories, of regional identities, and so on. And each year when I look around the room at these entering freshmen, I am always struck by what an increasingly diverse group of young people they are. Kids of many different colors, many different faiths. Most are American, but many students are from other countries as well. Some from fancy private schools, but more from public schools. Some are first-generation college, others are Harvard legacies for generations. Increasing numbers of these students are bi-racial or multi-racial and most of them speak more than one language.

One fairly obvious moral lesson we seek to tease out during our community conversations is just how dangerous it is to make assumptions about another person based on an external characteristic such as skin color or language or gender or physical appearance or economic status or whatever. I encourage the students to give examples from their own experience of the myriad kinds of stereotyping and prejudice that all of us can and do succumb to from time to time – judging others based on this or that surface characteristic, rather than on taking the time to get to know them more deeply. We discuss just how corrosive such biased thinking can be on the quality of meaningful human relationship and community life.

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In Whom Can We Trust?

“…choose this day whom you will serve.” Joshua 24:15

 The Reverend Luther Zeigler

August 23, 2015

I finally broke down this past week and did it; I went out and bought a copy of Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s controversial new novel that is a companion piece to her earlier classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.

One of the reasons the new novel is so controversial is because it seems to burst our bubble about the iconic character of Atticus Finch. The Atticus of To Kill a Mockingbird is a paragon of integrity: compassionate, wise, honorable, a lawyer who uses his gifts to defend a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman in a small Alabama town filled with prejudice and hatred in the 1930s. As unforgettably played by Gregory Peck in the 1962 movie, Atticus Finch was the perfect man — an ideal father, a citizen of conscience, a modern-day saint. And even though he was a fictional character, in real life people loved Atticus so much they named their children after him.   Indeed, many of my friends went to law school and became lawyers because of Atticus Finch. He restored the reputation of a profession often scorned and mocked by the public.

Which is why it is so disheartening to read Go Set a Watchman. Here we see a dark side to Atticus Finch. The new novel is set a few decades after Mockingbird and is written from the perspective of Atticus’ daughter, Scout, who is now a young woman returning home to Alabama to visit her aging father. The Atticus of the new novel is not quite the paragon of virtue she remembers as a child. The new Atticus attends vaguely disguised Klan meetings and criticizes the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education as a meddlesome intrusion of the courts into the culture of the South. Questioning the direction of the civil rights movement, the new Atticus crankily asks his daughter: “Do you want Negroes by the carload in our schools and churches and theaters? Do you want them in our world?” Whereas in Mockingbird, Atticus was a role model and hero for his children, in Watchman, he becomes the source of grievous pain and disillusionment for the 26-year-old Scout.

The overarching emotion one feels in reading the new novel is one of betrayal. We thought we knew who Atticus was, we thought we could trust him to be our unfailing moral compass, our beacon of truth, and yet it turns out he is as broken as everybody else. We feel betrayed. We don’t know whom to believe anymore.

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