Note: The EBC church office and the Norfolk Food Pantry
remain open following their usual schedules.
May 21, 2020
There will be no in-person worship services this Sunday or next (May 24 and 31). Online worship services continue at ebcnorfolk.org/worship. Plans beyond this date are not yet certain. Other in-person gatherings at EBC remain suspended until further notice. The church leadership continues to meet and work toward reopening the church. Details will be shared as they become available. Please pray for our leadership, as they have many decisions to make these upcoming weeks and months. Thank you.
Letter of Encouragement from Don Ricketts, Elder Chair
We can all agree, COVID-19 created an atmosphere of anxiety and uncertainty over the past two months. God reminds us that he is the giver of endurance and encouragement. As shepherds of the flock, it is healthy to offer words of encouragement in times like these. We hope you are inspired and blessed as you read and reflect.
We thank God for his perfect gift, perfect law of freedom and imperishable implanted Word—the unstoppable gospel of salvation that is bearing fruit and growing worldwide. This message of reconciliation from eternal wrath is the salt and light of all mankind. We are the fruit of his irrevocable call and immutable blessings, as we bear his name and are forever grateful for his unmerited favor and mercy towards us. Therefore, we ascribe power and might, glory and strength to the eternal God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. As he is worthy to be exalted above all blessings and praise. Amen!
Emmanuel initiated “21 Days of Prayer” in January 2020 as a means to pursue God in “dangerous prayers,” for personal breakthrough and inroads to reclaim all parts of ourselves as weapons of righteousness. This theme carried over into February as we endeavor to be a church who prays unconditionally and is not afraid to believe God for the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Not too long after, Emmanuel’s faith would come under fire in the face of COVID-19 global pandemic. However, our faith is undaunted as we know God does not always guarantee ministry success from the outset, but he is God Immanuel, who provides eternal encouragement and is a very present help in time of need.
Therefore, Emmanuel remains steadfast and hopeful, as we are living proof the God we serve does not live in buildings but in the body of Christ made by living stones where his name dwells. For the ministry of Emmanuel is advancing in Norfolk and surrounding towns and the gates of hell shall not prevail. Moreover, we hold fast to our theme Scripture, “I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bandage the injured, and strengthen the weak, but I will destroy the fat and the strong. I will shepherd them with justice.” With great compassion, we tend to the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of saints and seekers in our flock. As we call, facetime, pray, do walk-ins and drivebys in the absence of Sunday assembly.
Jehovah Jireh is a good, good Father. He has established Pastor Pete, surrounded him with a full complement of boards, committees and ancillary ministry teams to fulfill God’s will in 2020. As Massachusetts reopens in phases, Emmanuel’s boards and committees collaborate towards a solution that is appropriate and compliant. We pray God grants Pastor Pete enough fortitude, faith and wisdom from above to proclaim what has been entrusted to him amidst constant change and uncertainty. For we know Scripture says, “He who calls you is faithful; he will do it,” and our God is the fulfiller of all his good promises.
Therefore, let us be bold and courageous in 2020 and not let Satan or fear of the unknown blow out the light of Christ. As he has called us to shine our light before all mankind that they may see our good works and give glory to God.
In Christ's Service,
Don Ricketts, EBC Elder Board
May 1, 2020
To keep in line with government guidelines regarding COVID-19, all in-person worship services, programs, and meetings have been suspended through May 18. To read the state's press release about the extension of various restrictions, visit mass.gov.
As essential services, the church office and food pantry continue to remain open. Worship services and children's resources are put online weekly at ebcnorfolk.org/worship, prayer meetings are held via Zoom each Wednesday evening, and individuals and small groups continue to keep in touch via phone, email, and Zoom. We encourage you to join in the activities above, and to continue to pray for and fellowship with each other and to study the Word together, as you are able. Remember to pray, too, for those in our community, our nation, and the world.
Please contact the church office to...
- Join a group for prayer and fellowship and/ or Bible study
- Receive help, such as grocery delivery
- Volunteer to help in various ways
- Get more information
You may also contact Pastor Pete at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to the time when we can all gather together in person again. May God bless you and draw you close to himself.
April 3, 2020
In order to be good partners with our local leaders and a good neighbor to our community, we will continue to follow the guidelines our federal and state leaders have established. We will be closed through May 3rd and will reevaluate our situation as new information becomes available.
Even though we can’t meet in person, ministry and life go on.
This last week the elders emailed our "Pray for Norfolk" initiative, praying for every home and street in our town. Please review that email and take a look at what streets you would like to commit to walking and praying over. When Emmanuel was first planted, Norfolk was seen as a mission field. We want to invite you to come back to our first mission field. Who knows what God is already doing in the lives of our neighbors near our campus? After all this, who knows who we will meet!
We have been particularly blessed by our weekly Wednesday Zoom prayer gathering. We invite you all to come and share in the life and prayers of one another each Wednesday. Watch your inbox for the next Wednesday night invite.
If you are in a small group, we encourage you to keep zooming, sharing both your lives and what that Lord is teaching you in this time of waiting on Him. We all can be ministering to our small group communities in a new way as well as to our neighborhood community. Now is the time for the Church to be reaching in and out in some way, either by prayer or a conversation on the sidewalk. Let’s all be prayerful and creative, watching for new ways the Holy Spirit would use us today.
Each day we are making phone calls and checking in with people and we are encouraged to hear your voice. Let's all continue to reach out and pick up the phone, sharing life and needs and prayer, mutually encouraging one another.
Continue to participate on Sunday as we offer online resources each week for EBC’s worship service. Although we may be apart, the Church is not a building and we can raise our voice and lend our minds in unison each Sunday to our Savior Jesus. Share with one another a thought or action point from a sermon you heard.
We have hope because of who Jesus is and look forward to hearing about what God has been doing in this season. Let’s continue seek Him with our whole hearts in spirit and in truth and make every effort to stay attached to the Vine. His joy is there, we simply need to remain in Him.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:9–11
We love you and are praying for you.
March 27, 2020
Dear Emmanuel Family,
We hope that you and your families are well. We are praying for you. We want to continue to be the church that gathers together to worship the one true God. As a friendly reminder, the Church is not a building, but a people who have been called out of the world to be God’s ambassadors to the world. Although we are not physically meeting, the ministry of Emmanuel in Norfolk and our surrounding towns continues to hum on. The Word continues to be preached. We are still supporting missions foreign and national. Maintenance and upkeep are still going forward. We are still tending to the needs of the flock as well as the community around us. Our Sunday service has changed, but the mission and ministry of EBC continue to move forward. As we partner with our local authorities, we want to be good neighbors in our community and remain safe when we do meet.
At this time, the mandate for social distancing, lockdown of non-essential vendors and availability of critical vendor services will remain in effect until Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Emmanuel's Sunday services will remain suspended and will be revisited on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 for discussion and determination.
- We will continue to provide resources online for your family worship time
- No in-person meetings will happen at Emmanuel through April 7 and we will reassess after that date based on the local authorities.
- The church office is open to receive deliveries, tithe checks and basic necessities for Food Pantry operations.
- Our facilities have been cleaned top to bottom so that when we do begin meeting together, our spaces will be clean, fresh and safe.
Like the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, let’s take this opportunity to help meet the needs of our neighbors and those around us who need help. Let’s engage with our neighbors, loving them by sharing and serving them with an attitude of “What’s mine, is yours, if you need it.” This is an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus, meeting the emotional, physical, practical, and spiritual needs of our community.
Our Plan for Serving Others:
I CAN Help: If you are interested in helping, please email the office and let us know how you can help during this crisis. Perhaps you could help by praying for requests, giving a phone call to those who are lonely, or delivering groceries or prescriptions to those who are unable to get out? Let us know by calling or emailing the office. We will direct you to the appropriate team.
I NEED Help: For those who need prayer, a friendly phone call, or groceries or prescriptions delivered to them, call the church at 508-528-5862 or email us at email@example.com. The office and your request will be directed to the deacon or deaconess board.
GIVE to Help: Continue to give online at ebcnorfolk.org/give, or by dropping off your tithe at the church office (which remains open) or mailing it to EBC c/o Financial Secretary, PO Box 145, Norfolk, MA 02056. Perhaps on top of your regular tithe, you would like to give to the Deacon Fund toward the potential increase in needs that may be coming associated with providing help to our faith family and neighbors.
As we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, we know that the God who brings us together is also the God who scatters us into the community to share our resources and to share hope. Know that we are praying with you and praying for you. We look forward to the time we can get together to celebrate the goodness of God, but until that time, let’s continue to meet for family worship and over Zoom, and be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community.
God Bless You, Emmanuel,
Don Ricketts, Elder Chair
Rick Eldridge, Admin Chair
March 13, 2020
Dear Emmanuel Family,
We the Body of Christ at Emmanuel have been given a great opportunity to be living examples of Christ to our communities and families during this time of fear and uncertainty.
Psalm 46:1-2 “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.”
The leadership of Emmanuel has decided to exercise caution, to keep everyone safe from exposure to the Coronavirus (Covid19). It would be almost impossible to have a congregation of 200 people gather in the small confines of the sanctuary without elevating the risk of exposure to the virus.
Therefore, we would like to announce that worship service and all meetings and events will be suspended for the next two weeks. There will be no public gatherings at Emmanuel from March 15 to March 29, this includes all committee and board meetings, as well as AWANA and other youth group programs.
Scripture has called us to worship in “Spirit and Truth” but has not limited us to worship in a specific building as we “are the living temple.“ Therefore, we be uploading Pastor Pete’s sermons on the website for all to participate in worship and prayer in their homes on Sunday morning.
We ask that everyone be diligent in prayer, that God will be glorified through our actions during these challenging times and that our community will see the love of Christ through our compassionate love for each other and our neighbors.
If you have any questions or are in need, please contact the church office.
In Christ’s Love,
EBC Elder Board