Our story begins eleven years ago in 1998, when our daughter, Riley was three months old and we were searching for a day care provider. I remember feeling so discouraged because not one center made us comfortable enough to have our firstborn cared for by them. One afternoon, my mom came with me to put down a deposit with a center we were settling for. Afterwards while at lunch, my mom and I were talking about how discouraged and uneasy I felt and there just has to be a place that would be warm, welcoming and caring. Just then, two elderly ladies came up to our table telling us how cute the baby was and how they just came from their church that has a day care center where they go often to rock and hold the babies that were there. At that moment, it was as if a heavy load was taken off my shoulders. I just knew we had to go and check this place out. They gave us directions and my mom and I, with Riley in tow, went to their church, Emanuel United Church of Christ. We immediately felt that warm, welcoming and caring feeling we were looking for and more. After the tour of the center, I called Don, my husband and told him that I found the place we were searching for. After sharing with him everything about Parks Edge he agreed that I should go right back in and sign all the papers and put down a deposit. Which I did and by the way, we did loose the deposit from the first center but it did not matter because we found the perfect spot for Riley.
Within the first months at Parks Edge we met so many families that we became friends with and found that they were members of the church as well. They had asked if we would like to attend one of the services. We did and found ourselves looking forward to attending more and more. Soon after those first visits we became members of Emanuel. I have always felt it was Divine Intervention that we met those ladies at lunch that day. We have not only made many friendships as members of the church but also developed a church family.
Don and I have become elders of the Emanuel and we both have served on several boards and committees such as Board of Christian Education, Parks Edge Preschool Board of Directors, along with teaching the youth Sunday school program.
Confirmation of the Divine Intervention occurred four years later when Brady was born. He has had a chronic illness since he was born. I know with no uncertainty that our family’s founded faith from our church family helped us through this time. We are so grateful that God sent us to Emanuel United Church of Christ.
Dennis and I were a fairly newly married couple who were transplanted to the Milwaukee area and in search of a church. We were both raised in Christian families of different faiths, Catholic and Presbyterian, and had found it difficult to find a church where we both felt comfortable. We visited Emanuel and were instantly struck by the “realness” of the congregation. People seemed genuine and friendly. We were also struck by the varied backgrounds and interests of the church members, as well as the vast talent and diversity of its ministries. Emanuel’s commitment to mission, community outreach, and spiritual growth at all ages and levels of faith journeys was refreshing. It seemed there was so much available to people who wanted to get involved in church-related activities within and outside of worship, and yet it was also OK if the only involvement chosen was an hour on Sunday mornings.
Since joining Emanuel, we have baptized and confirmed our 3 sons, as well as been involved in music, mission, finance, social activities, and camps, and are happy to count many of our Emanuel family among our closest friends. The boys have been cutting the grass in the cemetery for the past 10 years. Besides serving on the various boards of the church, we are both in the hand bell choir. Beth directs the Chime Choir and Dennis has been on the Parks Edge Preschool Board of Directors for many years. Some of our happiest memories as a family revolve around holiday worship, church picnics, and Children’s Christmas Programs. Our lives are intimately entwined in the life of Emanuel and we are thankful for the happiness, strength, and fulfillment it provides.
As a child, I was drawn to our town’s Congregational church for worship, Sunday school, youth choir, etc. I remember walking up the steep hill of Main Street on Sunday mornings to attend church while my family might have remained home. It was always a place where I learned something new and felt good.
During my adolescence, I drifted away from formal religion and tried other ways to feel spiritually connected. When I met my husband, we began to search for a church where both of us would find what we were looking for in a place of worship and spiritual growth.
My husband and I moved to the Milwaukee area during the summer of 2001; at that time we also discovered that we were expecting our daughter. We worked to get settled into our new house and jobs through the summer and fall. We attended church with Greg’s mother, but did not feel that it was the right church for us. As we were preparing for Annie’s arrival, we visited day care centers to select on for our baby. Park’s Edge Preschool was on the list to be toured; we were immediately impressed with the environment and the staff. The Assistant Director who provided our tour showed us the sanctuary with pride and invited us to attend worship on Sunday – we did and not only enrolled Annie in Park’s Edge Preschool, but also became members of Emanuel United Church of Christ.
I love Emanuel because the atmosphere is friendly and inviting; from the architecture of the sanctuary to the pastor to the members of the congregation! I have always felt comfortable and welcomed. Emanuel is like being with extended family for me – it is a place where I can be involved with ongoing events or sit quietly and reflect.