Sue and Andy Kalbfleisch travelled to the UK in September 2009 to explore fresh expressions of church, and are liveblogging their travels here.
Sue and I first visited Emmanuel Church in Loughborough in the mid 90’s. Back then it had a traditional interior, dark pews, an organ and a piano. It was a Sunday when they as a community were discerning whether they should proceed with an ambitious scheme of building a new hall and office complex. Well it’s now complete and during the time of building the addition they also undertook to renovate the church – replacing the pews with moveable chairs, installing A/V equipment and so on. Today it is a vibrant and growing church that offers a variety of opportunities for people to connect with God. They are currently raising money for a new organ.
Loughborough is a University and College town so students and young families are of great importance to Emmanuel’s mission in the community. They have a 6:30 pm Evening Praise service every Sunday that is geared to students and young adults and the young at heart folks (i.e. Sue and I). The Rev’d Canon David Newman, Rector, preached in a teaching style that engaged all in attendance. Prayer was mostly meditative after David set the theme and was supported with soft violin, flute and keyboard music. The worship songs were sung enthusiastically by all (120-140) present. Often the attendance approaches 200 when students are back in term.
The 10:00 am morning service with an attendance of 240 (40 children) was in a liturgical/praise style and Eucharist was celebrated. It was the start up of the children’s program so the adult child and family ministry volunteers were asked to come to the front to be installed – all 30 of them!
David has recently been appointed the Archdeacon of Loughborough so he will be departing Emmanuel sometime in October after which the parish will be looking for a new Rector that will continue David’s ministry in the church and the wider community.