“I have been an active member of Immanuel United Church since 2003.” says Rob. He grew up in the United Church with his parents being actively involved. “When Margaret, my wife and I moved the last time, what attracted us to Immanuel was the strong congregational commitment to social issues and service including: helping immigrants families, aboriginal justice and reconciliation, LGBTQ equality, environmental concerns and generally supporting and caring for each other in good times and bad. We are a relatively small, aging congregation but I believe our impact in the community continues to be significant and meaningful.”
Linda Pihulak and Judy Bartlett:
“It makes us feel good to greet people on Sunday mornings, including new comers, to make them feel as welcome as we had felt.” Linda and Judy were looking for a church close to home and close to a bus stop. Immanuel met those requirements. They were immediately impressed with the friendly, welcoming manner of the people in Immanuel. “We enjoy helping at coffee time after Sunday service. It’s another chance to greet people, gives everyone a chance to mix and mingle.” say Linda and Judy.
“I started my Ministry at Immanuel United Church in 1985 and I retired in 1994.” Bill remembers fondly his years there. “What drew me to this congregation was the people and how active they are. After my retirement in 1994, my wife, Elaine and I shopped around for a year for a new Church home, but returned to ICU. We couldn’t find any place more exciting. The good things at Immanuel include the study groups, the interaction of the people and their involvement with issues in the community and world was something that drew us to return to Immanuel.” Bill says. “The men’s study group made the bigger difference in my life. It is the most valuable thing in my life. I belonged there, and was welcomed by all.” The group petitioned the provincial and federal government to work towards building a community free of poverty. The outreach is faithfully committed, has strong lay leadership, and has faith in the future. IUC people know the community well. Bill has met many people from neighbouring churches and made friendships through church and at the Good Neighbours groups. Many Immanuel folk have had a great influence in Bill’s life and for that he is grateful.
“My connection to Immanuel United church started at an early age. My grandfather Ralph Donnelly was the minister there from 1965-1977 and it was the church my father grew up in. It was also the church my mother’s family attended and the main reason the two of them met. So I guess you could say that Immanuel is part of the reason I’m here today!
“I had the privilege of growing up at the church and it certainly helped shape the person I am now. The first thing it taught me was the importance of community. There is no better example of this than Immanuel’s annual fowl supper. Everyone contributes how they can. Some jobs include baking pies, doing coat check, cooking turkeys, serving food, and providing a take-out service to those who cannot make it. The community comes together and all are welcome.
“Immanuel also provides lots of opportunities for trying new things. When I was part of the youth group we went on camping trips every year to a variety of different campgrounds. Running out of gas on the highway, sleeping in a tent in a torrential rainstorm and inventing card games are memories I will cherish. The Immanuel Players put on a play each year that I have been fortunate enough to participate in three times. It is open to anyone who wants to volunteer and was a fun and safe way to try acting while keeping my day job. I was also given the opportunity, even as a young person, to read scripture or be actively involved in the worship service which helped me build confidence speaking in front of people. Finally, teaching both Sunday school and youth group helped me realize how much I enjoy teaching children and was a factor in my becoming a teacher.
“I love the feeling of being at Immanuel because it is just such a welcoming place. They are an affirming congregation which, to me, is really important. It is a public declaration of what I have always felt: acceptance for anyone and everyone. I am proud to be part of this community and feel blessed for all of the lessons it has and continues to give me.”