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Welcome to Emmanuel!





9:00 am Traditional Service in the Chapel

10:30 am The ReFresh Worship Service is in the Sanctuary in person, on zoom,

and recorded on Facebook.

If you would like to join us on zoom for the 10:30a.m. service, please click the button below.



If you need to be added to the email list, you may sign up for the list(s) for the items you would like to receive, by clicking on the button ("sign up for E'-News") at the bottom of this page. 

We will not have  Bible Study during Lent, which includes Ash Wednesday, 2/22 through 4/5.  Noon Lenten Services will be held at each of the Midtown Churches.  Schedule below.

Bible Study each Wednesday at Noon on Zoom

with Pastor Frank Langholf. 

All are welcome.

To join our Bible Study group,

please click on the button below.


Our next Breathe Service is scheduled for Saturday, April 29, 2023, at 5:00 pm.

Come join us and Breathe


Winnebago County Forest Preserves Interest Hikes

Join Soul Garden for continued hiking experiences in the Winnebago County Forest Preserves. The month of March we will walk on asphalt trails including Rock Cut State Park in case of flooding and mud. Dress for the weather!

Text Holly if you want to join the hikes 815-543-1191

All hikes start at 9:00am

Tuesday, March 28, 9:00am

Rock Cut State Park

7223 West Lane

Caledonia, IL

*meet in parking lot

on the lake by

concessions building


Saturday, April 8, 9:00am

Ferguson Forest Preserve

8602 West Winslow Road, Shirland, IL 61079

*meet at main entrance

Monday, April 24, 9:00am

Oak Ridge Forest Preserve

8322 Blomberg Road, Cherry Valley, IL 61016

*meet at main entrance

Monday May 8th, 9:00am

Deer Run Forest Preserve

5691 River Road, Cherry Valley, IL 61016

*meet at main entrance


Saturday, May 13, 9:00am

Kieselburg Forest Preserve

5801 Swanson Road, Roscoe, IL 61073

*meet at main entrance

Thursday, June 1, 9:00am

Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve

4643 Blackhawk Road, Cherry Valley, IL 61016

*meet at main entrance

Saturday, June 24, 9:00am

Klehm Forest Preserve

2715 S. Main Street, Rockford, IL 61102

*meet at main entrance


Wednesday, July 12, 9:00am

Sugar River Alder Forest Preserve

10255 Haas Road, Shirland, IL 61079

*meet at main entrance


Saturday, July 29, 9:00am

Espenscheid Memorial Forest Preserve

4800 South Perryville Road, Cherry Valley, IL 61016

*meet at main entrance

Link to Descriptions of all 44 Forest Preserves

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Better Balance.  Better Bodies

Faith Community Nurses, Mary and Sue, invite you to 30-40 minutes of gentle stretching and range-of- motion exercises before the weekly Lenten services.  Join your friends (new and old) as we strive to have stronger bodies with exercises (sitting or standing) designed to promote flexibility and balance.  Free.  No registration required.  

We look forward to seeing you there!

Midtown Lenten Services


All Midtown Lenten Services will be at noon and followed by a light luncheon.

Weekly on Wednesdays during Lent, 3/1 to 3/29.

3/22, Calvary (Emmanuel 920 3rd Ave.) Library

3/29, First Lutheran (225 S. 3rd Street) Room TBA

Dear Spiritual Journeyers,

We started our next book on Tuesday, March 14, The group decided to go with Lori Erickson’s book, "Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper."

After her brother died unexpectedly and her mother moved into a dementia-care facility, spiritual travel writer and Episcopal deacon Lori Erickson felt called to a new quest: to face death head on, with the eye of a tourist and the heart of a pastor. Blending memoir, spirituality, and travel, Near the Exit examines how cultures confront and have confronted death, from Egypt’s Valley of the Kings and Mayan temples, to a Colorado cremation pyre and Day of the Dead celebrations, to Maori settlements and tourist-destination graveyards. Erickson reflects on mortality—the ways we avoid it, the ways we cope with it, and the ways life is made more precious by accepting it—in places as far away as New Zealand and as close as the nursing home up the street. Throughout her personal journey and her travels, Erickson helps us to see that one of the most life-affirming things we can do is to invite death along for the ride.

Everyone is welcome to join the Spiritual Journeys group. Questions - contact Karen at

To join the book study click on the button below.

March 22, at Calvary Lutheran Church (Emmanuel's Chapel) at Noon.  Preacher: Pastor Bill Dahlberg


March 29, at First Lutheran Church at Noon

Preacher: Pastor Michael Thomas




Maundy Thursday, April 6th at 6:30 pm

Washing of Feet, Communion, and Stripping of the Altar

Emmanuel's Sanctuary


Good Friday, April 7th at 6:00 pm

15 Stations of the Cross outside the church,

around the block to Emmanuel's labyrinth


Due to an unexpected family commitment, Jim is unable to offer his Holy Saturday meeting.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have created.

Holy Week Services, April 6 - April 8

Play Reading, "Lost in the Forest"

We have added another play reading of "Lost in the Forest" for those who are unable to come to the two below: (also if you want to come 2nd time and learn more), Tuesday March 21 from 5-6:30 pm.  New play reading.

Also at Emmanuel.  I have learned so much from our first Reading last Sunday.  It is really coming "alive" for me & 

and I hope for you.   It now has a life of its own. I so appreciate you and your involvement in this venture!


  Play reading "Lost in the Forest"

Sunday March 12 from 2-4:15 pm   OR

Saturday March 25 from 2-4:15pm,  both at Emmanuel Lutheran Church 6th St & 3rd Av.


They will be the same, but let us know beforehand so we can have a copy of the script for you.  If you have a friend who would be interested let us know.  There is no commitment to be in the play, but this story is for everyone.  And we are still exploring options for its use.


More info below... 


This is an invitation to a reading of a play, "Lost in the Forest".  The play follows a man who has retreated to a forest to be alone.  A wild forest woman appears to see who he is and why he is here.  They begin a mythological journey that introduces him to the unseen community of the forest and especially the "grandmother tree", who is the elder there.  They begin to initiate him into the forest.  He is seen to be alien from the forest.  He is us... swallowed up in the dominant human world, disconnected, orphaned, numbed, busy ...and lost.


The forest begins to teach him ancient and indigenous songs, stories, and the forest chorus of the day and of the night.  Two other wild forest humans, and a enlivened forest accompany them.  On their initiation they encounter the challenge of a forester, a logger, townspeople, a forest fire,

a director who implodes, a requiem for a death in the forest, and an audience that is gradually drawn into the story.


It is our story and becomes real as we find ourselves now on the "edge of the roof"... but hopefully... "together"... maybe more connected to the more-than human community that was lost to us. The forest has to find "us", for we had been orphaned from them, our ancestors.

This is an overwhelming drama being played out on a large scale in our lifetime, and it is urgent.  It is also compelling and juicy to act out a re-uniting with our origins, our home, our ancestors... even our soul.

This is an invitation to play, display, portray the dark night of the soul stirring within...being embraced or run from.   You are those who might not want to run but participate in this venture at a variety of levels.  There are parts to play, music to play, a scene to set, songs to sing, stories to read... it will take a community of people of diverse gifts.  There is possibility of producing this indoors , and  doing this outdoors as well, like at the grove at Severson Dells...nothing is set.  We would be looking toward the next step.  


David Stocker will join us as a producer and help direct staging and music.  We put on, with 18 other crazy and daring people, the "Song of the Universe" in 2016, and 

had a blast as a cast.  You don't have to have theatre experience to be a part of this. But it will be memorable.

We will be telling the story  all read parts, become a forest musician, get a feel for it, and how it might call to you.

If you want to be a part of this, let me know by phone or email, and there will be a printed script for you at the reading.


I see this as a sacred calling, let me know back... if you do.

To radical action, and deep contemplation in a time of chaos... We pray for courage and the blessing of community     

 jim roberts,   779-537-0328


David Stocker    815-519-7599

Christyn Rittenhouse of Smooth Living  presents
"Soul, Spirit, and Self Expedition

What is important to you? What are your unique strengths and gifts? What are your dreams? What are your values?  


 Rarely are we ever asked these questions in daily conversations. Perhaps we get a taste of this on a retreat or at the beginning of a romantic relationship. Think of how you might live your life differently if you knew who you really are deep down. 

Ancient Greeks wrote 'Know thyself.'


Join Christyn for a 6-week deep dive into who you are at your core in this group life coaching series. While the focus is on the self, the benefit of learning in community cannot be understated. The process turns dynamic when we are together, witnessing one another, in a safe and courageous space. This is an opportunity to explore and discover where and who you are, where you want to be, what inner resources you have and how to leverage them into resilience while also uncovering the things that hold you back or cloud your path.


Monday evenings, March 20-April 24,  6:30-8:00

Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 920 Third Ave

$75 for the 6-session series        

 To register, contact Christyn, 815-289-7110, or


Soul, Spirit, and Self Expedition Six-week series 

1.            Wheel of life- create your personal map and intentionally set your compass towards what you desire most.

2.            Inner resources – tapping into the power of your inner leader, personal allies, and the value of values.

3.            Saboteur awareness and Sage growth Managing your inner dialog, connecting to your inner wisdom

4.            Decision making pt. 1. ‘How did I get here?’ Decoding past decisions.

5.            Decision making pt. 2. ‘My conscious future.’ Impactfully considered choices

6.            The wheel of self-love. Worthiness and belonging. Exploring your relationship with the most important person in your life – YOU!

Equinox Retreat: "Balance;
Dark and Light, Soul and Spirit"

Friday, March 24th, 7:00 pm to Saturday, March 25th , 1:00 pm.


7:00 pm, Opening Circle

7:30 PM   Altars are open for private meditation and reflection

9:30 PM   Music to deepen The Balance of Light and Dark, Soul and Spirit

11:00 PM Dream Invocation

You can stay overnight at the church if you wish.


6:30 AM Doors are open

7:00 AM   7-Directions Prayer led by Jessie Crow Mermel.  Breakfast on your own following the Prayer, and continued reflection and meditation

9:00 AM Ecstatic Dance in the Dance Studio  led by Susan Hurley Whitacre

10:30 AM  “Creating Magic: Awakening to Spring” led by   Sally Roberts

Noon:  Potluck Lunch

1:00  Depart:  (Altars can be taken down, and other clean up done.)

Sunday March 19 from 5-6:30 pm

at Emmanuel Lutheran Church
6th St & 3rd Av.

Hafiz (1320-1389 Persia)  is one of the greatest spiritual poets

in our solar system.  We will dive into his poetry with the arts.

Bring a poem you love (he lives on, on u-tube) , try memorizing

a shorter one, bring a drum and a friend.  No cost. If you wish,

give something to Emmanuel.  We will be in the sanctuary.  Be

on time... we will start with music while in silence.

Questions,  call Jim@ 779-537-0328


"You have been invited to meet

The Friend.

No one can resist a Divine Invitation.

That narrows down all our choices

to just two:

We can come to God

Dressed for Dancing


Be carried on a stretcher

To God's Ward."     Hafiz

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Arts@Emmanuel has started up again! We are excited to be welcoming friends back to Emmanuel for art shows, art workshops and other interests celebrating the divine creative spirit which enlivens and enriches our lives. Nothing like art to inspire, heal and bring people together. Arts@Emmanuel is looking for more people to be on the committee. If you are interested we would love to hear from you. We are planning on having meetings bi-monthly on Sundays at 11:30 am. If you are interested in the Arts@Emmanuel committee, contact Susan Hurley Whitacre, 708-845-207 or email

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Special Food Pantry Notice      

PLEASE NOTE: As of January 1st, the Emmanuel Lutheran Food Pantry will no longer be open on Mondays.  We will continue to be open 9:30  - 11:30 a.m. on all Fridays, except holidays as posted. 

 140th Anniversary of Emmanuel Lutheran Church

Emmanuel celebrated its 140th anniversary on July 17, 2022.  Emmanuel’s history and evolution began with the Swedish immigrants’ courage, boldness, and hard work, conserving some of their Swedish Lutheran traditions all while adapting, in a new context with a new language. 

Emmanuel continues to evolve, enriching the Spiritual Life of the Community with the Arts including music, poetry, artwork, dance, communing with nature, retreats, and other expressions of our Spirituality.  We meet you where you are on your journey.    



9:00am - Traditional Worship (Chapel)  

10:30am - ReFresh Worship (Sanctuary) 

Breathe Meditation Service:

      (Meets Quarterly, January, April,     September and November.)   

All are welcome to come as you are to our worship services!


Parking is available on Third Avenue or the parking lot north of the church.

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