“There is a place…”
Emmanuel Lutheran Church
815-963-4815 Emergency: 815-980-8993 EmmanuelLutheranRockford.org
Emmanuel Lutheran Church 920 Third Avenue Rockford, Illinois 61104

“We are called to act with justice. We are called to love tenderly. We are called to serve one another,
to walk humbly with God.”
–David Haas, song lyric

About Us

Photo by Steve Pitkin

Emmanuel's message comes from a passion for searching and studying sacred scriptures. Wisdom and inspiration is also drawn from a variety of other traditions, prophets, and all men and women who have a deeply personal and intimate relationship with God.

Jesus came into the world with a message and life that was so different, so new, and so revolutionary that it changed everything. The community of people called Emmanuel (which means “God is with us”) does things in fresh and ancient ways that we trust will awaken all who come through our doors and bring us to a new life in Christ.

Everyone is welcome to experience our Sunday activites. Please introduce yourself to the greeters so we can help make you feel comfortable.

Why Emmanuel?

Most of us have been drawn together because Emmanuel reminds us that we are all ministers. We believe that Ministry is a celebration and a joy. As a community we explore this inspiring opportunity of compassion that transforms lives.

What is our mission and purpose?

Emmanuel's Mission

“The Grace of God has brought us together

  • to become Christs
  • to become the New Community
  • to be Light and Leaven for the World.”

Emmanuel's Vision Statement

We are called to...

  • Study and Practice the Spirituality of Jesus.
  • Live as a Safe and Healing Spiritual Community for all who come, regardless of economic conditions, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or Spiritual struggle.
  • Become instruments of God's Grace by:
    • Promoting understanding and unity between religious traditions, encouraging healing of the soul and the community through Sacred Arts (chant, ritual, dance, poetry, visual arts, music) and Spiritual Practice.
    • Reaching the suffering ones among us through ministries of the food pantry, soup kitchen, addiction recovery, half-way housing, and holistic counseling.
    • Working toward healing and protection of God's Sacred Creation.

Parish Nurse

The mission of parish nursing is the intentional integration of the practice of faith with the practice of nursing to promote wholeness in, with, and through the community of faith. 

Parish nursing is a specialty practice and professional model of health ministry. The spiritual dimension is central to parish nursing practice. The practice holds that all persons are sacred and must be treated with respect and dignity. Compelled by these beliefs the parish nurse serves, advocating with compassion, mercy and justice. The parish nurse understands health (body-mind-spirit) to be a dynamic process. Spiritual health is central to well being and influences a person's entire being. A sense of well being can exist in the presence of disease, and healing can exist in absence of cure.

For more information on Parish Nursing at Emmanuel please call Sue Scott, Parish Nurse, at 815-963-4815.

Building and Grounds


Emmanuel strives to make her architecture and grounds a Sacred space were our members and visitors can encounter God. It is a wonderful setting for the energy and artistry that is such an integral part of the spirit of Emmanuel. The awe inspiring beauty of our worship space—with its intricate hand carved wood graced by the light coming through the church's Tiffany windows—is not to be missed. All are welcome to visit us and take a tour. Please call ahead, 815-963-4815, to arrange to have a docent accompany your small group.

Labyrinth Meditation Garden

Labyrinths are meant to be walked silently while praying or meditating. Emmanuel's Labyrinth Meditation Garden was built in 2001 as a Sacred space where our parishioners and neighbors would have a peaceful garden retreat.

A labyrinth is an ancient design usually carved in the rock floor in places used for ritual and private meditation. Then, from the late medieval period onwards, they were created by cutting the designs into the turf of town commons, village greens, and rural hilltops. Labyrinths became even more popular in Great Britain and Germany after Shakespeare mentioned labyrinths in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Visit Emmanuel and take a relaxing walk in our Labyrinth Meditation Garden.


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[-] What is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)?

The ELCA (elca.org) is a community of faith that shares a passion for making positive changes in the world. Our faith is built around a strong belief in God as made known to us through Jesus Christ. Through worship, service, and education we practice our faith, grow our relationship with God, and experience God's grace in our lives.

We also work hard to put our faith into action. In today's complex world, we strive to make a difference in practical, realistic ways.

With nearly 10,500 congregations across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, and nearly five million members, we welcome you to experience this church right in your own community. Explore the ELCA at Emmanuel, and help us celebrate our gift of faith – with action.

[-] Who is the ELCAs governing body?

The Northern Illinois Synod (nisynod.org) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is a gathering of people created by God in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, called and sent to bear witness to God's creative, redeeming, and sanctifying activity in the world. Our mission is simple: Make Christ Known.

The synod is comprised of 168 individual congregations with a total combined membership of more than 101,000 people. As part of the ELCA, we are:

  • Members of the fourth largest Protestant denomination in the United States.
  • Among more than five million people who belong to more than 10,800 congregations in the United States and the Caribbean.
  • Part of a church body with more than 270 agencies and institutions that are the second largest provider of human services of any non-governmental social services agency.
  • Part of a church body that maintains 28 church-related colleges and universities, enrolling more than 53,000 students each year.
  • Part of a church that provides eight seminaries across the country for the training of pastors and other church workers.
  • Helping to support 400 missionaries in 45 countries around the world.
  • Reaching thousands of men, women, and children by providing more than $12 million annually in hunger relief funds both internationally and here at home.

[-] Who provides Rockford area services for ELCA churches?

Rockford Area Lutheran Ministries (rockfordlutheranministries.com) brings people together to make Christ known through imaginative and creative ministries of witness and service. RALM is a partnership organization of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations in the greater Rockford area. Formed in 1985, it has been granted subsidiary status by the Northern Illinois Synod of the ELCA, and is recognized as an official ministry of the ELCA.

RALM provides a central information site, community outreach coordination, and cooperative programming for adults, children and teens—programming that would be difficult for one church to provide alone.

[-] Does the ELCA welcome openly LGBT parishioners?


ELCA member churches that choose to change their Vision Statement to specifically declare that they welcome openly LGBT parishioners can officially call themselves Reconciling in Christ.

Emmanuel became a Reconciling in Christ church on March 7, 2013.

[-] Does the ELCA ordain gay and lesbian ministers?


On August 21, 2009, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) approved a resolution to allow gays and lesbians in same-sex relationships to be ordained.

The ELCA's highest legislative body voted 559 to 451 during the biennial Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis. It was a moment of celebration for supporters of the resolution, which overturned the denomination's ban on noncelibate gay and lesbian clergy.

The resolution to change ELCA's ministry policies was put forward by the ELCA Task Force on Human Sexuality which had been assigned to develop a social statement on human sexuality as well as make recommendations to the 2009 Churchwide Assembly on changes to policies regarding practicing homosexual persons.

The panel's social statement, “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust,” was narrowly adopted on Wednesday. The document acknowledges that there is neither a consensus nor an emerging one in the denomination on homosexuality and also recommends that the ELCA commit itself to finding ways to recognize lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.

Former Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson noted that he was pleased with the respect that has been shown from both sides of the gay clergy debate over the past eight years.

[-] Do ELCA churches marry committed gay and lesbian couples?

Sorry, no.

The ELCA does not yet have a rite for blessing same-sex unions, but another motion passed at the 2009 Assembly directed its leaders to develop one. Hopefully there will be one soon.

[-] Is there more to “Reconciling in Christ?”

The Reconciling in Christ (ReconcilingWorks.org/ric/) (RIC) program was organized by ReconcilingWorks (ReconcilingWorks.org/) (formerly Lutherans Concerned/North America) in December of 2008. The RIC recognizes congregations and Lutheran organizations that declare themselves welcoming to all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The RIC roster includes about 400 settings, including congregations, synods, campus ministries, colleges, and other organizations, in the ELCA and ELCIC.

[-] What is ReconcilingWorks?

ReconcilingWorks (ReconcilingWorks.org/) (formerly Lutherans Concerned/North America) is an organization of laypeople, pastors, and congregations that are primarily from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) who are working for the full acceptance and inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the Church. It is one of many LGBT-welcoming church movements to emerge in American Christianity in the late 20th century.

The ReconcilingWorks Mission Statement reads: “Working at the intersection of oppressions, Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA) embodies, inspires, advocates and organizes for the acceptance and full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities within the Lutheran communion and its ecumenical and global partners.”

ReconcilingWorks is part of a coalition of organizations called “Goodsoil” working to change church policies and practices regarding same-gender blessings and the ordination of gay and lesbian ministers involved in committed same-gender relationships. The organization was founded in 1974 to promote tolerance of gay and lesbian persons within the various North American Lutheran denominations.

[-] What Is Goodsoil?

Goodsoil (Goodsoil.org) is a collaboration of allies working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families in the full ministerial and sacramental life of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Goodsoil is comprised entirely of lay and clergy members of the ELCA.

ReconcilingWorks is the fiscal agent for Goodsoil.