125 Reasons Why We Love, Like, and Enjoy Emmanuel

Congregation and friends celebrate Emmanuel’s 125th Anniversary



125 Reasons We Love, Like, and Enjoy Emmanuel

Emmanuel’s Congregation and Friends exceeded the Campaign Goal to reach “125 Reasons Why We Love, Like, and Enjoy Emmanuel.” In fact, we received 135 Reasons!! This is a testament from the Congregation about Emmanuel’s spirit– a spirit that should be carried on for future generations. Many of the reasons pay tribute to the past, supply the flavor of Emmanuel right now, and point us to the future.

With inclusiveness in mind, the Communications Committee decided to anonymously feature the first 125 Reasons and to include the subsequent 10 Reasons in this 125th Anniversary Celebration. We felt that each submitted reason was original, creative, special, and reflective of Emmanuel. Our hope is that the spirit of Emmanuel is carried on for future generations!

  1. Emmanuel does a lot of work to support food banks in the community

  2. Emmanuel welcomes people from all backgrounds into its doors

  3. I love the way the sanctuary is decorated during various holiday seasons (Christmas/Easter)

  4. The people. We are a warm, loving, supportive group

  5. How much I’ve learned (discussion group)

  6. Emmanuel’s astonishing beauty outside and inside.

  7. Being part of a church that helps so many causes

  8. The chance to feel part of the church, and using some of my talents

  9. Emmanuel has my heart

  10. Emmanuel women shine in raising money; the men cook great dinners. A reversal of typical gender roles.

  11. Potlucks and picnics offer a wide variety of delicious + nutritious food

  12. The preacher, Rev. Dr. Ken Gill, tells great stories drawn from wisdom all around globe.

  13. Senior worker-bee members from 70 to 90 buzzing around making all kinds of sweet honey.

  14. The Dungeon— seriously, ask someone. Better yet, visit!

  15. Young and old having fun and learning to love each other more

  16. A “wild west” sound and sight system keeping an overstimulated crew trying and learning

  17. An Interim Governance Arrangement that asks a lot and delivers a lot, and leaves plenty of room for fun and surprises

  18. Pastor Judy with a special heart for those of us struggling to keep going strong

  19. A whirlwind Marilyn who is off the charts in creating memorable, delightful and impactful world-class events on a shoestring

  20. Watching and loving the children as they go about being kids, growing up and giving back so much more than we can give them

  21. A grounded, dedicated, focused Moderator who shepherds us through “thick and thin.”

  22. A magical Peace Lounge once adorned with portraits of recent day saints now moving into glory with new, gentle colors and forms that can take us into the future.

  23. Emmanuel – God with us on Hope Street – it seems so right

  24. Beautiful church, beautiful people

  25. Emmanuel members are like family

  26. Our spiritual growth is inseparable from our life at Emmanuel

  27. Longtime friends who have moved away but were once members of EBC

  28. Our first introduction to New Jersey from Cleveland was a recommendation that we find Emmanuel Baptist Church in Ridgewood. That was 43 years ago.

  29. Membership at Emmanuel and faith journey are inseparable

  30. Friendships with former members continue to enrich our lives

  31. like Pastor Gill and the people

  32. good food

  33. welcoming and inclusive

  34. I like to just sit and look at the stained glass windows

  35. good mix of music- hymns and more modern

  36. Love given by Church members

  37. Mission work (especially fighting hunger)

  38. Openness to all who enter

  39. Open to there being many paths to God

  40. That all bring something special to the table of life

  41. Spiritually moving, open-minded, worship style and moments of silence

  42. Mission opportunities and commitment

  43. Plans to invite others to discover God’s love

  44. Efforts to expand outreach to others and improve communication

  45. Sense of community and support for each other

  46. Meaningful, relevant preaching

  47. Friendly/sincere/authentic people

  48. Beautiful sanctuary (especially the large stained-glass windows and the woodwork)

  49. “Dungeon” (room underneath the Sanctuary) personalized for the church youth

  50. Rich historical heritage, yet has a modern outlook

  51. Good worship music

  52. Modern, high-quality sound system for the Sanctuary

  53. ADA compliant (ramps and elevator)

  54. Hearing assistance available for the Sunday service

  55. Fun events: Pasta dinners, Oktoberfest, Italian Festival

  56. Weekly coffee hour

  57. Participation in meaningful local events (pet blessing, CROP walk, etc.)

  58. Membership in meaningful organizations

  59. Church services are streamed – available for real-time participation and/or for review at a later time

  60. Helpful and efficient office staff

  61. Ample parking

  62. I love Emmanuel because we we have a new exciting tradition of blessing the animals and those adopting new ones from Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital.

  63. I love Emmanuel because we can have a first-class Oktoberfest meal even without beer, cooked by men and served raise funds for the the really good Good Shepherd Mission in Paterson.

  64. I love Emmanuel because our Women of Emmanuel and Men’s Fellowship serve a low-cost Pasta Dinner once a month for anyone in the community with no strings attached.

  65. I love Emmanuel because we support the Martin Luther King Celebration each year with our brothers and sisters in Ridgewood including our sister church, Mt. Bethel Baptist Church.

  66. I love Emmanuel because Connie, the wife of our outstanding Pastor, designed and helped the children paint a mural on a whole long wall by the elevator that says “Emmanuel – God With Us” and “Celebrating 125 Years” and is decorated with bright colored flowers.

  67. I love Emmanuel because when the spirit moves him, Artistic and Musical Director, John Giresi can play great, rip-roaring gospel music on the piano with authentic soul!

  68. I love Emmanuel because Suanne Aitchison reads Sacred Space every morning for her prayers and loves it.

  69. I love Emmanuel because of the wonderful Davila Family with Annie, Napoleon, Andres, David and Christopher— and that they share all their friends and relatives with us!

  70. I love the fact that I have friends that are willing to drive me back and forth from church now that I don’t drive.

  71. I enjoy Pastor Gill’s sermons.

  72. I enjoy singing the traditional hymns that have so much meaning for me.

  73. I love our special music segments.

  74. I enjoy our coffee hours after church.

  75. I’ve been attending Emmanuel for 55 years now and from day one the people of this church have been the most friendly and welcoming I have ever experienced!

  76. Multiply Ways of Sharing Information, including E-Happenings and Expectations

  77. Margarite’s famous brownies

  78. Renovated Peace Lounge

  79. Marek – our Sexton – good guy

  80. New hallway mural

  81. New website – coming soon to a computer near you!

  82. Having attended Baptist Churches on the East and West Coasts and in Michigan and Ohio, Jo Ann and I revel on our experiences at Emmanuel during the 1978-1983 time frame. We count those days and the friends developed as highlights of our lives.

  83. We regard Bill Clark who first greeted us as we entered the Ridgewood doors as the epitome of how to greet and welcome visitors to a new beginning. It was a second and third visit, and beyond, that cemented our five years at EBC and the continuation of the friendships we developed.

  84. Baptists are a caring group, no better exemplified than at Emmanuel. What Jo Ann learned at the Church in leading the 1980 EMBARC (Emmanuel Beautification and Restoration Committee) renovation helped EBC and her pedigree to be used in Cleveland.

  85. And, as a bonus when we moved to Cleveland, we learned that Pastor Gil Hellwig was ministering in our Shaker Heights area, a plus to us as we moved to different climes.

  86. The warmth we felt at Emmanuel has lasted through the years, anchored by the pleasant and follow-up greetings of Bill Clark. He made greeting a personal attribute that helped us understand that people in different ways can make a congregation thrive.

  87. Bill’s greeting, attributable to the EBC spirit, lives to this day with us.

  88. You can be creative

  89. Opportunities for study

  90. Opportunities for service to the wider community

  91. Meaningful sermons

  92. Worship

  93. Our name: “Emmanuel”

  94. Our caring congregation

  95. Our social justice efforts–past and present

  96. Our welcoming spirit

  97. Our openness to others, their traditions and their ideas

  98. It’s members, a collection of people from many different backgrounds and circumstances who, for the most part, have managed to blend together into a vibrant, caring fellowship

  99. It’s history, e.g. one of the earliest churches to host an AA meeting; a leader in accepting and welcoming Nisei into membership and choir despite the angry member (allegedly, the biggest contributor) who rejected this person who had been released from a detention camp in the West; took leadership role in the community relating to and supporting “PWA” (“Persons With AIDS) by creating a monthly dinner for PWAs and their “significant others;” creating an outreach to Japanese wives in North Jersey and expanding to include South Korean, etc.

  100. Maintaining a strong music program

  101. Self-consciously endeavoring to be what it’s name is: “Emmanuel” (“God-with-us”)

  102. Readily making the building available to community groups, e.g. Scouts, AA, Homestead School, etc.

  103. I always enjoy visiting at Emmanuel. We go back a long way, since 1966. That tells you something!

  104. People are friendly, no matter what, considering I moved away from Ridgewood in 2002!

  105. They are kind and sympathetic when you have family issues. People even wrote to me when my husband passed away, though they had maybe only met him once, on one of our visits “home.”

  106. It is a beautiful church and an excellent example of Gothic architecture.

  107. I love that the chapel near the sanctuary is now open for meditations. It’s a great place to go if you need a quiet space to spiritually reflect.

  108. I love that we have a prayer list so we can pray for those going through a variety of issues, either in the congregation or on a larger scale locally or globally.

  109. I like the beautiful sounding and looking organ in the sanctuary.

  110. I like that we provide worship services online to those who cannot attend in person.

  111. I like that folks can call in by phone to listen to the service if they cannot get to church.

  112. Our annual art show, which is organized by our force-of-nature, Marilyn Clark.

  113. The Ladies of the Fair Lawn Bridge Club love your Oktoberfest and Italian dinners. We also feel your congregation is very friendly and welcoming.

  114. We are a congregation who has the courage to face our need to change, and to try to do something about it.

  115. Emmanuel’s history of activism

  116. The amazing sound of the organ

  117. Light streaming through the stained glass

  118. Memories of Christmas and Easter music performances

  119. The care and love from friends who feel like family

  120. candlelight finishing the Christmas Eve service

  121. One reason I love Emmanuel: it has a great church staff

  122. I love Ethel’s piano is in the sanctuary.

  123. I love the shut-in phone line is live.

  124. I love Holmstead school is part of our community.

  125. I love that I was Baptized outside at Harriman Church picnic.

  126. I love our Church is at the Corner of Hope Street.

  127. Emmanuel has a beautiful little Chapel where one can be alone to meditate and pray.

  128. In times of need, Emmanuel is a refuge where our Emmanuel extended family reaches out with love and prayer.

  129. Missions near and far are a priority.

  130. Love the warm greetings each week

  131. Love the intimate atmosphere where everyone knows each other

  132. Feel the connection to a rich history when sitting in the sanctuary

  133. Emmanuel is family – my own family is the best and right after that comes my Emmanuel family!

  134. Over the years Emmanuel has helped many of my neighbors and friends when they had no place to go. I am very thankful for this “no questions asked” outreach.

  135. I feel at peace and close to God when at an Emmanuel worship service.