We, the people of Emmanuel, West Hampstead seek to be “faithful to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42), and to authenticate this is acts of love and service to one another and to the community in which we are set, showing God’s radical hospitality to all and infinite respect for one another. *
* Our parish mission statement
As part of the Diocese of London’s VISION 2030 we seek to be a Church for every Londoner with three main ambitions
- Confident Disciples
- Compassionate Communities
- Creative Growth
Our priorities to reach every Londoner we need to reflect the diversity of our city and be a welcoming, safe place. We seek to do this by
- Growing younger
- Being a safer church
- Striving for racial justice
Radical hospitality to all – infinite respect for one another
First and foremost we seek to be a community of prayer, rooted in the celebration of the Eucharist not only Sunday by Sunday, but throughout the week also as we seek to be attentive to God and his will for our lives. In so doing we seek to place our aspirations and all that we are in the broader perspective of God’s liberating and redeeming love for the world. Each day Morning and Evening Prayer is said in Church as we place ourselves within the broader horizon of God’s liberating love throughout the pages of scripture and the rich range of human experience in the psalms.
We believe God seeks the full inclusion of all people in every part of the Church’s life and ministry, irrespective of race, disability, gender or way of life. We see our life together very much in terms of Radical hospitality to all – infinite respect for one another – as we recognise and celebrate the beauty of God’s image uniquely revealed in one another. All are welcome in this place.
In recent years we have developed our church building in its prominent position at the heart of West Hampstead so that it has become a resource for the whole community in all its diversity and in an area where there is presently very little available and affordable community space. Each week we are contacted by a growing number of community associations who wish to avail themselves of our space as we embed this creative vision.
This project enables us to work in partnership with the West Hampstead Community Association, with the Camden Churches Winter Night Shelter and with many other projects seeking to respond to some of the most vulnerable in our local community and who experience hardship and isolation. The project is enabling Emmanuel to become increasingly a centre for music and arts and a venue for all sorts of other artistic expression, including dance and musical theatre and we are already home to a number of community choirs, including the Fortune Green Singers.
Issues of social justice are important to us, including our membership of Citizens UK in its North London chapter, our support for the Living Wage Campaign and Housing Justice. We are also involved in a consortium in the local area in Community Sponsorship and supporting a Syrian Refugee family coming to live locally here in London. We work in collaboration with our friends and neighbours at Hampstead Synagogue in Dennington Park Road on Mitzvah Day and in initiatives to combat anti-Semitism and other prejudice and intolerance in all its forms.
Music also plays a key role in our worship and we are mindful of the evocative and tuneful words of St Augustine, ‘the one who sings, prays twice’.
Children are especially welcome at Emmanuel. Our 9.15 am Joyful Noise Eucharist on a Sunday morning is especially suitable for very young, pre-school age children. At our 10.30 am Sung Eucharist and we have special provision for them in the Crèche and in Children’s Church for those four years old and above at. As an inclusive church, we celebrate the wonderful fact that family life has a diverse range of forms and expressions, which are fully represented among the the members of our church community.
West Hampstead has a comparatively young population, but our inclusive vision also very much includes our older members, who are warmly welcome at all our services and activities. On the first Wednesday of the month we currently celebrate a midday Eucharist followed by a fellowship lunch in the Community Room.
We rejoice in the strong and collaborative links which we have with our Church School, rebuilt and expanded in 2013. The whole school comes into Church for the Eucharist each Thursday during term. We greatly value our growing links with other schools and organisations within the parish and with the West Hampstead Business Association and each year we host many community activities from the West End Green Christmas Market inside the Church building.
We very much hope that at Emmanuel you will glimpse something of the awe and majesty of God’s eternal presence, but also experience the love, fun and friendship which binds us together as the pilgrim people of God as we seek his will for our lives and our sent out into the world to make that vision a reality.
Our Mission action is currently being revised in the light of the Diocese of London’s Vision 2030 and will be published soon.