Blessing of The Animals - A Community Celebration

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Emmanuel kicks off a new series, First Sundays at Four, with a community celebration of all our furry, fuzzy, feathered, and even scaled friends. Amidst glorious music provided by Emmanuel’s Choir, in the glorious church sanctuary, we will gather with our pets, friends, and family, to praise creation and offer God’s blessing upon absolutely every living creature.

Gather Together: Worship for Families, Worship for All Ages

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A NEW Service on the last Sunday of Every Month!

Looking for a worship experience that is short enough to keep young people engaged while still offering a meaningful liturgy for the whole family? Gather Together is for you! Beginning September 29th at 10:30am, Emmanuel will offer Gather Together on the last Sunday of each month, and you are invited to be a part of it. Not a sing-songy children's liturgy, Gather Together is designed to be both sacred and accessible to all ages and attention spans.

Gather Together retains the same basic form of our Sunday worship, but simplifies and shortens some elements. The sermon is less formal and more interactive, and our music features easy-to-sing hymns and well-known favorites led by a cantor. We invite the children to come forward and gather around the table with the Rector while the bread and wine are blessed using an adapted prayer that may be more engaging for young (and not-so-young) worshipers.

Come and Gather Together with the people of Emmanuel Church, children of the living God. If you have any questions, or just want to chat before attending for the first time, please be in touch with our Pastor, The Rev. Anne Marie Richards (amrichards@emmanueldowntown or 667-212-0169)..

Kevin Crouch's Mass

At our 10:30 service on May 19, our choir and organ scholar premiered a glorious new composition from one of their very own: Kevin Crouch’s “Mass,” his first extended work. If you weren’t able to make it or would like to relive the experience, he recorded the pieces after the service alongside his students from the Wilde Lake High School Chamber Choir. You can find those recordings on his Youtube channel:

1. Kyrie (Mass for Mixed Chorus and Organ)

2. Gloria (Mass for Mixed Chorus and Organ)

3-4. Sanctus-Benedictus (Mass for Mixed Chorus and Organ)

5. Agnus Dei (Mass for Mixed Chorus and Organ)

Thank you and bravissimo, Kevin!

Celebrating Joe!

Worship and Luncheon
Sunday, June 9 (Pentecost)
Please join us to celebrate and wish farewell to the Rev. Joe Wood during the 10:30 service on Sunday, June 9, and then stay after church for a festive luncheon in his honor. 

Contribute to a “Purse”
We will be presenting Joe with a “purse.” Not a stylish fashion accessory, the giving of a “purse” is a long-time Episcopal Church tradition of presenting a departing priest with a financial gift. The “purse” is a donation that honors the incredible gifts of steadfast service, love, and sacramental presence that Joe has given Emmanuel through the changes and transitions of the past several years.

If you would like to participate, please make your check payable to Emmanuel Church, write ”Purse” in the memo line and forward your check to: 

Emmanuel Church
Attn. Walter Ridgeway
811 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

You may also make your donation online by following the donate button above and clicking on “Give to Joe’s Purse.”

Please be sure to make your contributions by June 5, 2019!

Transition Update

Dear Friends, 

After Sunday's exciting announcement about the call of Anne Marie Richards to be Emmanuel's new rector, I would like to give you a timeline for the next several months.

I will be at Emmanuel through April, including Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter Day.  My last Sunday is the Second Sunday of Easter (often called Low Sunday), April 28.  Later that week, Tim and I will head off for several weeks in Vienna (not Virginia).

The Parish Meeting is on Sunday, May 5, at which time members of the congregation will elect new vestry members to help lead the parish into a new season in its life. If you feel called to serve, please talk with either Rebecca Atwater or Matthew Crenson as soon as possible. (In accordance with our bylaws, we are hoping to publish a list of the candidates later this week.)

Joseph Wood will preside and preach at the services on May 5 and 12.

As is customary in the Diocese of Maryland, the Rev. Stuart Wright, Canon for Transitions, will be the preacher on May 19, the Sunday before the new rector begins.

The Rev. Anne Marie Richards presides and preaches for the first time as Rector of Emmanuel Church on Sunday, May 26.  It is a holiday weekend, but I hope as many of you as possible will be here to welcome her and take part in a festive coffee hour in her honor.

On the Feast of Pentecost (Sunday, June 9), the Rev. Joseph Wood completes his time as Associate Rector and bids farewell to Emmanuel.  Again, I hope as many of you as possible will be here to thank Joe for his splendid tenure at Emmanuel.  He has had three quite different "bosses," and I can say for myself that I could not have done what you asked me to do without his constant assistance.

June 9 also marks the last Sunday of the choir season, so you will have a chance to thank what I think is the best church choir in Baltimore and their director, John Repulski.

All of the above indicates the period of transition in which Emmanuel Church currently finds itself.  The Rev. Dr. Carol Pinkham Oak will lead two sessions on managing transitions on the coming two Saturdays, April 6 and 13, as part of our Lenten offerings.  (The program will run from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm in the Brent Room on both days.) It could not be a more timely topic, and Carol--the retired rector of St. John's in Ellicott City and a regular worshipper here at Emmanuel--brings real expertise to the subject. I would highly recommend attending.

--Jim Holmes
The Rev. James C. Holmes
Interim Rector

An Announcement from Our Senior Warden

Dear Friends:

It is my joy and honor to announce that the vestry has closed the directed search for a new rector with a unanimous vote to call the Rev. Anne Marie Richards to be the 15th rector of Emmanuel Church. I want to thank the diocese, members of the vestry, Jim, Joe, and everyone in the parish who has shared in this discernment as we live into Emmanuel’s future together. 

Anne Marie currently serves as the rector of Trinity Church in Newport, Rhode Island. When she was called to Trinity in 2010, she was charged with revitalizing and growing the historic parish following a period of upheaval. In the intervening nine years, the average attendance has nearly doubled, particularly among families with young children; they have undertaken a multi-million-dollar capital campaign; they have established extensive new community partnerships; and they have worked to increase the long-term sustainability of their stewardship. Previously, she served as associate rector at Trinity Church, Princeton, where her responsibilities included direct oversight of their outreach programs and the full range of ministry in a large parish, especially pastoral care. She received her M. Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary in 2005, after extensive non-profit experience and receiving her B.S. in Organizational Development.

While the vestry is excited about the breadth of ability Anne Marie will bring to Emmanuel, we were first impressed by the candor and depth of the responses in her ministry portfolio. Here’s the short description she wrote of how she understands Christian community: “As disciples of Jesus Christ we gather together and are nourished in Word and Sacrament. And we are sent out to heal the world in ways small and large. And we return again. We live together in this ongoing, transforming rhythm of life and love.”

Outside of her official duties, Anne Marie grounds herself by singing every day, because she believes, alongside St. Augustine, that "[s]he who sings, prays twice." She loves to spend time with friends; her husband, Brook; and their two adult sons, Max and Malcolm—not to mention what she describes as her “fabulous, fun, large Irish-American family.” (She’s a Maryland native!) She’s also an avid traveler, constantly looking for the next new place to explore. Finally, she’s involved with a number of organizations in the wider Episcopal Church, including serving on the board of directors for the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes (CEEP) and as a member of an initiative to encourage and support young leaders in the church, the Gathering of Leaders.

Anne Marie’s first Sunday as our rector will be May 26, 2019. In the meantime, please give her and her family time to say good-bye to Trinity and move before we welcome them in full Emmanuel fashion. Thanks be to God, and welcome, Anne Marie!

With Peace & Gratitude, 
Rebecca Atwater
Senior Warden

Organ & Brass Recital

On Saturday, March 30, at 2:00 pm the Peabody Brass Ensemble (James Olin, Director); Brass of Peace (Sylvia Alimena, Director); and Mi Zhou, Organ, will be offering a free concert at Emmanuel. The program will include works by: Bach, Bruckner, Gabrieli, Gigout, Handel, Respighi, Strauss, and Widor. All are welcome!

Upcoming Outreach Opportunities

As we begin a new calendar year, here are some EEC outreach opportunities to consider:

  • Sunday, January 20: Resource bag assembly in the Gallery following the Q&A with Bishop Sutton and coffee hour

  • Sunday, February 10: St. Valentine’s Day card writing for patients at the VA hospital in the Gallery after coffee hour

  • Farther Out: assembling Easter baskets for our homebound parishioners…

Also, please stay tuned for more information about the Outreach Committee’s grants program and its revised schedule.

Advent Bible Study

As part of Emmanuel’s Advent devotions, we’re offering a Bible study on the Song of Songs, often called the Song of Solomon, as a brown bag lunch discussion after the Wednesday noon services. One of the most enigmatic books of the Bible—Is it love poetry? A discussion of the mystical union of Christ and the Church? Something else entirely?—we will move through the Song three chapters at a time, plus a little background along the way. All are welcome, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Rev. Wood if you have any questions.

A Note on Kneeling

A number of you mentioned after last Sunday’s 1892 service that you, in fact, like to kneel for parts of the service—particularly for the Great Thanksgiving, the Eucharistic prayer.  It is only recently that standing for prayer has become common in many Episcopal churches.   For some, this has become the preferred posture for prayer, while for others they do it so as to not be different.   There is an old Anglican adage:  “All may, some do, none must.”  This applies to posture at church.  If you are more comfortable kneeling, by all means kneel.*  If you are more comfortable standing, by all means stand.  Both choices have a long, rich history in Christian worship. I am just glad you are here.

--Jim Holmes

*Kneeling for communion is more problematic right now in our main sanctuary, but the Accessibility Committee hopes to address that when planning for a new platform.

Organ & Brass Recital

On Sunday, December 2, at 3:00 pm, brass ensembles from the Peabody Institute (directed by James Olin) will offer their winter recital right here at Emmanuel—accompanied on the organ by our very own Jordan Prescott. Admission is free, so we would highly encourage any and all to come and enjoy some glorious music to start off Advent right.

Armistice Day Service

This Sunday, November 11, will mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice which ended the hostilities of World War I. In honor of the Emmanuel members involved--including two who gave their lives--and the dedication of our Peace Chapel, we will commemorate Armistice Day with a 10:30 am celebration of the Holy Communion following the 1892 Book of Common Prayer, which would have been in use here 100 years ago. (The vote to adopt it was also held in our main sanctuary during the last time General Convention met in Baltimore.)

Taylor Daynes' Priestly Ordination

God willing and the people consenting, the Right Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan Probe, Bishop of Central New York, will ordain Taylor D. Daynes to the Sacred Order of Priests on Saturday, October 20, 2018. The service will take place at 1:00 pm in Anabel Taylor Hall on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY.

Taylor would love to have members of the Emmanuel community in attendance, but she recognizes that distance will make physical presence unlikely. She knows that we will be with her in spirit, and she sends her continuing gratitude for the role the parish has played in her formation. If you are able to attend and are interested in sharing in communal travel plans, please contact the Rev. Joseph Wood ( for more information by Sunday, 9/23. (The tentative plan is to carpool, departing around 10:00 am on Friday morning; rent a house or houses together; and start back around 3:30 pm Saturday afternoon.)

Some Dates to Watch Out for...

As Welcome Back Sunday approaches, the clergy & staff of Emmanuel Church would like to share the following plans for Fall 2018:

-Sunday, September 30th: St. Francis' Sunday & Blessing of the Pets at the 10:30 Service

-Sunday, October 14th: Emmanuel Day (start of our Annual Giving Campaign)

-Sunday, November 4th: All Saints' Day Celebration (including altars of remembrance)

-Sunday, November 11th: Armistice Day (in honor of the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, Emmanuel will be holding a special service following the 1892 Book of Common Prayer)

-Wednesday, November 21st: Thanksgiving Service at 12:00 pm (noon) in Eccleston Chapel

-Sunday, December 23rd: Lessons & Carols at the 10:30 service (no sermon or eucharist)

-Monday, December 24 (Christmas Eve): 4:00 pm Children's Pageant & Eucharist; 8:00 pm Festival Eucharist

-Tuesday, December 25 (Christmas Day): 10:00 am Holy Eucharist with Carols in Eccleston Chapel

Thank you very much, and we can't wait to share another program year with you!

Backpacks Are Back!

We're partnering again with our very own Antoin Quarles and his organization H.O.P.E. (Helping Oppressed People Excel) to provide schools supplies for children in need around Baltimore. Our goal is to raise enough money to fill at least 50 backpack--which cost about $40 each--and we'll bless the backpacks before they're sent out on Sunday, August 26. (Volunteers to help pack them the Friday before, August 24, are welcomed and very much appreciated.) Please e-mail the Rev. Wood,, if you can help or have any questions.