April 20, 2014 | Register |
Welcome to Emmanuel Presbyterian Church

This Week at Emmanuel

(April 14)

Holy Week at Emmanuel

Easter Service, April 20, 10:00 a.m.

{Easter Egg Hunt, following worship}

Sunday Worship
"The Promise", Romans 8:31-39, "[Nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God"
April 20th at 10:00 a.m., Dave Rohrer, Pastor

Upcoming Events

Preschool Picnic

This year's Preschool Picnic for our preschool families will be on
Friday, May 30, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Cedar Grove Park in Bothell.


Monthly Message from Pastor Dave

April, 2014

While at the DeKay’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration the other day I got up to make space at our table when Dave and Anne Shelhorn arrived. As I moved chairs into place, Anne happened to comment: “Wow, you’re really good with this chair thing.” We both had a good laugh about the comment and it awakened me to the potential need to say a bit more to the congregation about the “chair thing” that has been going on in the Sanctuary since the beginning of Lent. Well, OK, that has been going on for much of the last year.

For me the current arrangement of our chairs in the sanctuary has everything to do with building on our strengths as a congregation. We are a parish church where people gather not so much to watch a drama or receive instruction, but to be with one another in a time of worship as we remind ourselves of and give thanks for the identity God has given us in Jesus Christ. Our architecture reflects this truth and I have now been around Emmanuel long enough to know that the way you live your life together as a congregation reflects this truth as well.

So as the pastor, who thinks a lot about ordering of worship, I have been playing a bit with the way we sit together in worship, because I wanted an arrangement of the chairs that gave us the maximum amount of seats, made the best use of our architectural style and gave witness to the character of our life together. The chairs in their current arrangement of three main sections each facing a side of the communion table has helped us to accomplish all of these objectives.

First, in terms of space, the current arrangement gives us 145 seats in the sanctuary. With increased numbers in worship we need an arrangement that both makes use of the greatest number of chairs and also leaves enough space for people to move around during things like communion and the passing of the peace. All but about four of the new chairs purchased after the remodel are currently in use and the arrangement of having multiple aisles reduces the feeling of being locked into a long row of chairs until you are “released” by the pastor’s benediction at the end of worship.

Second, when you worship in a small chapel that is flexible space where we do more than just worship on Sundays, it is best not to try to be a cathedral. Churches that grow out of a European worshiping tradition have often tried to build scaled down versions of the architecture of the great cathedrals. High ceilings, a long and narrow nave, and an elevated chancel with an altar are some of the components of this architecture. This design focuses all attention to the front where the regular drama of the priest elevating the Host during the Eucharist was the high moment of worship. You came to watch that, and then receive communion. However, there is almost nothing in this description of a cathedral that points to who we are, what we do in worship or what our building looks like. So why not live into who we actually are rather than try to press ourselves into a model that neither honors the qualities of our unique space nor pays attention to what actually happens in our worship.

And this brings me to the third reason for the chair thing. Emmanuel is a church that enjoys its life together around the table. Fellowship with one another is a core value. When fellowship with one another is one of the key objectives of worship, it is best not to have a room set up where you are looking mainly at the backs of people’s heads. In the current set up we are literally gathered around the Table. We are a community of faith gathered around the primary symbol of our life together. As we worship we get to look not just at the backs of heads, but into the faces of other worshipers and sing not only to God but to one another as we celebrate our new life in Christ.

If you’ve made it this far in this essay, thanks for indulging me. It may be that you have not even thought about why the chairs are the way they are in our sanctuary, and that this doesn’t even make a difference to you. But if it does matter to you, at least you now know what the “chair thing” is all about. I feel like God has given me a gift in this opportunity to be your pastor. The chair thing has most to do with me both acknowledging the gift you are to me and saying thank you for that gift.

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Sunday Worship 10 AM

19540 104th Ave. N.E.
Bothell, WA 98011




Rev. David Rohrer, Pastor



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