Advent and Christmas Season at Emmanuel

December 10 - Second Sunday of Advent

  • 8:15 Service of the Word
  • 9:15 Sankta Lucia in the Sanctuary
  • 11:00 Holy Communion Service
  • 9:00 Norwegian Christmas Service

December 17 - Third Sunday of Advent

  • 8:15 Holy Communion Service
  • 11:00 Service of the Word with Sunday School Christmas Pageant
  • 2:00 Czech Christmas Service in the Chapel
  • 3:00 German Lutheran Church Christmas Play in the Sanctuary

December 24 - Fourth Sunday of Advent

  • 10:00 Service of the Word with Hymn Sing
  • 4:30 Lighting of the Luminaries
  • 5:00 Family Christmas Eve Service
  • 9:00 Candlelight Service with the Sacrament of Holy Communion

December 25 - Christmas Day

  • 10:00 Christ Mass with Holy Communion with the German Lutheran Church

December 31 - First Sunday of Christmas

  • 10:00 One Service, Lessons and Carols

It's Time for Christmas Poinsettias!

Christmas is rapidly approaching!  Again this year, we will have an arrangement of poinsettias around the altar.  If you would like to remember a loved one or honor loved ones, you can order a poinsettia(s) to be placed on the altar for Christmas. You may do this by filling out an order slip in the bulletin beginning on November 26, with a deadline for orders of December 10.  Each plant will be a 7-inch red poinsettia at a cost of $18 per plant. Again this year, the plants will again be coming from Potomac Petals and Plants on River Road.

Linda Fackler

Updated Vision for Emmanuel

After a number of months collecting opinions, thoughts, guidance, and suggestions from our congregation, the Call Committee is pleased to present the new Vision for Emmanuel.  We are very excited about what you have told us you love about Emmanuel today, and what you envision for our church in the future.  Here is the vision Statement you have helped us draw up:

Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Bethesda, Maryland sees itself as a warm, welcoming, ecumenical, and compassionate community that worships God regularly, shares the sacraments, provides a variety of opportunities for learning about Christ and the Gospel, offers avenues for personal spiritual growth and involvement in the church life, has internal fellowship and strives to serve the community by feeding the hungry and providing support to the immigrant, the underprivileged, and the homeless.

With the advent of a new pastor who brings a deep faith, a strong sense of calling and commitment to pastoral care for each person, creativity, energy, and leadership, we envision an exciting and vibrant renaissance for a thriving church with increased involvement by congregants of all ages, strong growth in membership – especially by young families with children -- new and expanded programs, and a deeper commitment to sharing God’s grace and love with the wider community and world.

Vision for Emmanuel: Sunday, September 17

Exciting News!  On Sunday, September 17th, the Call Committee will have reached its first big milestone.  With the help of everyone who took the time to complete the survey, add his/her thoughts to the tryptic bulletin in the Narthex, or talk with one or more of the Committee members, we have come up with our congregation's Vision for Emmanuel, which we will present at the Town Hall in between the services. 

We are very excited, because the vision the congregation helped us write is INSPIRING, FULFILLING, COMPELLING, and UPLIFTING, and we can't wait to share it with everyone!  Copies will be available on the table out in the Narthex as of Sunday, as well.

Reviewing where Emmanuel is today (i.e. what we love about our church as well as what we would like to see changed), and identifying where we want to see it go in the near, middle, and longterm future were essential first steps in understanding what we want from our next pastor, and then to outlining what we seek in our next pastor.  It is the road map for writing the actual pastoral call description. 

Now we know where we are starting, as well as where we are going.  Now we can decide what we want and need to arrive at our destination.

The Call Committee has already begun to draft the pastoral call description.  We will present that at the Town Hall, as well, so that everyone can see what we have identified so far.  Attendees will also have an opportunity at that time to express their thoughts and give us their input.

The Call Committee is grateful to the congregation for all of its assistance to date.  We look forward to seeing everyone at the Town Hall, to sharing the Vision for Emmanuel, and to presenting the first draft call description to you then!

Updates from the Call Committee!

The Call Committee would like to remind everyone that Sunday, September 10th is the final day for getting in your surveys about what you like about Emmanuel, what you would like to see changed, and what you envision for Emmanuel in the future.

We received a lot of surveys in May and early June.  Over the vacation months, the rate of survey return fell off.  In the last couple of days, however, the flow of returns has picked up.  That is great, and we hope that everyone takes the time to submit his or her thoughts and ideas over the next week and a half.  If you have thought of something that you would like to add to the survey you have already turned in, you are welcome to fill out another one, indicating that it is a supplement to your earlier submission.  You can also add your thoughts to the tryptic bulletin board in the Narthex.

The Call Committee now has its own large mailbox in the Narthex, where you can leave your surveys for us.  Thanks for taking the time to be a part of our future!

Although you may not realize it, your Call Committee is working at break-neck speed.  By mid-October, the Call Committee will have completed the same amount of work that is usually done in 2 years!  What work is that, you ask? 

  • By September 17th, we will have completed collecting and digesting the views and input of the congregation, from which we will have drawn up the Vision for Emmanuel.
  • By September 24th, we will have finalized the job description and written the pastoral call description to submit to the Synod.
  • By October 1st, we will have presented the call description to Pastor Derek, and, pending his continued interest in the call as outlined, we will move forward and schedule the call interview.

In the 21 weeks between May 16th - October 1st, your Call Committee will have accomplished what usually takes at least 2 years, or 104 weeks!  You will have been a vital part of the first 17 weeks of congregational input and 3 Town Halls, and we thank you for your participation and support.

Mark you calendars now for the Town Hall on Sunday, September 17th, during the Fellowship Hour!  Come learn about the Vision for Emmanuel, which the Call Committee will have developed from the surveys that you have submitted and the conversations we have had with you.  We will also introduce the job description we have formulated, and open up the floor for discussion and your input.

The Call Committee Wants to Hear From Those Who Have Not Yet Sent In their Surveys or Added Thoughts to the Bulletin Board!

Do you have an opinion about the Pastor you want to have leading us in the future?  Do you want to have a voice in whom the Call Committee selects?  Have you put off getting your survey in?

Please do not procrastinate any longer.  We need to hear from everyone by September 10th.

Unless we hear from you, we have to assume that you have full confidence in whatever decisions we make, and that you will be pleased with those decisions.  While are grateful for your confidence, and we take that responsibility very seriously, we would be glad to hear from you and to know that we are on the right track.

The survey is only 5 questions long.  You can answer it in a few minutes, or you can take a long time to fully express your feelings and wishes.  In each case, we are listening, and we care about what you would like in our next Pastor.  You can find a copy of the survey on the table next to the "Have a Good Think - Leave a Great Thought" bulletin board here online.  Once you have completed it, please put it in the large Quicker mailbox in the Narthex.  We look forward to hearing from you this week or next!

Giving Input to the Call Committee

On June 11, the Emmanuel congregation bade Pastor Lookingbill an emotional farewell in a moving service and celebration of his 38 years of ministry.  Now, we officially enter the critical period between the pastor we have known and loved for 32 years and our next pastor.

The Call Committee has now shifted into a higher gear, too, working diligently to identify and to call the pastor who will lead us for the next three decades.

Your input is critical to developing the vision for our church and the job description for our pastor.  Have you gotten your questionnaire?  If not, contact any one of us listed below, and we will get it to you immediately!  If you have gotten it, but have yet to fill it out and turn it in, please take time to do so now.  This will not be your one and only chance to convey information and ideas, so don't let concern over forgetting something keep you from completing it.  We need to have everyone's answers by the end of July.  Thank you!

Easter is Rapidly Approaching!

Once again, we will have an assortment of various colors of azaleas and hydrangeas available for order.  If you would like to remember or honor a loved one, you can order an azalea or hydrangea to be placed on the altar for Easter. You may do this by filling out an order slip in the bulletin beginning on March 19th and lasting until April 9th. The cost is $19.00 per plant.

Some details about the plants: Each plant will be approximately 8-inches and available in red, white, pink, or purple for azaleas and blue or pink for hydrangeas. The plants will be coming from Potomac Petals and Plants on River Road, which is the same nursery that supplied our beautiful poinsettias at Christmas.

Website Postings and Enhancements

Now that we have a spiffy new website, we'll be able to greater utilize the opportunities that it can provide. However, please be aware of the following:

When requesting an item to be posted, please provide it to the Support Team no later than two weeks prior to the posting date. This will allow the Team time to review and work with you to ensure the content is as good as it can be. If you have an urgent request, we cannot guarantee our availability to fulfill that request.

When requesting an enhancement or notifying the Support Team of a defect, please be aware that these will be added to a tracker and prioritized for resolution. This means that requests will not be addressed immediately (between 0 and 48 hours) unless it is determined to be critical in nature. We will do our best to address these items in a timely manner and will notify you when it has been completed.

To request a post, request an enhancement, or notify the Support Team of a defect, please contact We will respond to your message as soon as we are able to do so.

Preparing for the Congregational Vote on One Sunday Service

In October and November of last year, the church council held several open forums to discuss the recommendation of the Worship and Music Committee to combine the two Sunday morning services into one. At the forums, members were able to openly share their opinions and preferences on that issue. The good news is everyone in attendance wanted what they believed would help Emmanuel prosper most. We all want to build on our church’s strong foundation of service to our members and to our community. The impact of combining services on Christian Education, Fellowship Hour, and utility usage, along with the outcomes from other churches who have combined services were also discussed. At our January 29th Congregational Meeting for Budget and Finance, each eligible voting member in attendance will get to cast a vote on this resolution.

Below you will find links to articles that have been helpful in raising awareness to both potential benefits and setbacks to this resolution. Should the congregation decide to move to a single Sunday morning service, the change would be implemented with the usual single Sunday service change used for the past several summers. The church council urges everyone to consider what course they believe will help Emmanuel fulfill its mission to God's children already in membership and those who have yet to come through our doors. 

Thank you to each of you for making Emmanuel Lutheran Church such a wonderful House of Worship!

Mike Dixon, Church Council President