stories

Every person at Emmanuel is important.  The church is a body and every part has a vital role to play (1 Corinthians 12:12-26).  Another picture the Bible uses of church is a family.  To give you a picture of what our church family is like at Emmanuel, we asked a few of them to tell their stories.

 

Abby Baird
I’ve been linked with Emmanuel Church from the beginning I suppose, but I’ll be honest I did feel a little on the fringe of things.  It’s not that people here were unfriendly, quite the opposite in fact; I found I met lots of people who genuinely cared for me and my family.  The problem, I suppose, was a matter of the heart; if anyone would’ve asked me I would have gladly said, “yes, I’m a Christian, I believe Jesus died for me”.  But what was the reality behind my faith?  What impact was it making on my life?  Did I actually follow Jesus’ teachings?  Had I really asked God to be in charge?  Did I read my Bible?  How relevant was the Bible anyway?

Sunday after Sunday I found that the sermons were more and more challenging to me and “my faith”.  In the midst of all this I was going to midweek group studying God’s Big Picture (a sort of Bible overview) and I found that things started to fall into place; God’s plan graciously revealed through this very old book!

So what does this mean for me now 3 years on?  How can I describe Emmanuel and all the things I love about it?  It’s God’s people meeting together, whether that’s during the service on a Sunday, during the week praying together, running a toddler group, studying the Bible at our regular midweek Connect Group, sharing a meal together; Emmanuel is so much more than just where I go on a Sunday, it’s my family, it’s where I rejoice!

 

Alex Bitsios-Esposito
It all started for me at work.  I run a coffee bar in Beeston and I was working far too much.  I would spend seven days a week at work and that was my life.  By being there, however, I met a customer who became a close friend.  She told me of Jesus, what He meant to her, and of Emmanuel too.  She invited me to check it out.

I went having many preconceptions of what church would be like.  I had experienced a Greek Orthodox church and had grown up with parents for whom the church institution played a significant role in their culture, but a relationship with God had no meaning to them and thus to me also.

Upon setting foot into a school hall, looking around for the absent pews and having a hot mug of coffee poured for me, I realised that I was not in the church I was expecting myself to be in!  Likewise, everything I heard from the pastor – wearing not a gown nor a collar – broke every expectation I had of what church was, and I started forming new opinions based on what I was actually experiencing for myself.

I got the chance to talk to doctors, engineers, teachers, church leaders, and a whole host of people I never really expected to be at church, including an atheist!  I asked lots of questions about the Bible and evolution, but ultimately I had a desire to talk about God.  I had always considered myself a philosopher and this was my new discussion class.  I was learning for the first time what was actually in the Bible… and it was far more fascinating (and true) than I had ever imagined.

Several months down the line, I was still not sure of Jesus.  I had started to try to be like God and do God-like, good things, although I was always failing and found it frustrating to be told I could never be good enough for a holy God.  This was where Jesus was supposed to come in to save me.  But how could I know that Jesus was a real person?  So I asked a non-Christian friend and, to my surprise, he told me he didn’t doubt that Jesus was real because there was more than enough evidence to prove He was.  That just sealed the deal for me.

Over that week, I prayed to God to show me if Jesus was real.  I had begun to see that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t be like God.  I needed to be forgiven.  I needed a new heart.  And I needed the Holy Spirit to change me to start living a life that pleased God.  I laid on my sofa for about three hours and I prayed to God to ask Him for His Holy Spirit.  I had the biggest, most life-changing experience.  It felt like my whole body was breathing, even my legs!  It was like being dazzled by light and I had such an uplifting feeling in my heart.  It was in this moment, that I heard God say, “You are a man of God now.  You can be like Jesus”.

Since receiving a new heart, God, through Emmanuel, has helped me to change my ways.  I began slowly to see the things I was idolising, like work and money.  I have been convicted of my own sin by the things I hear and read as I’ve started to devour the Bible.  I began to put together what Jesus’ death really means and why I should rejoice in it.  Through discussion with friends and hearing the preaching, I saw that some of the things I was doing were wrong and were deserving of punishment, but that Christ took up his cross and hung on it so that I wouldn’t have to die for them.  I am no longer a slave to my sin.  Instead, I love Jesus and I feel a desire to change and live a better life, one that honours God.

Two great verses which helped me were “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) and, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)  If I hadn’t asked God, I would have found nothing.

At Emmanuel I’ve learnt that church is not a building, it’s the people; your brothers and sisters in Christ.  I was welcomed as a non-Christian with open arms.  I was invited to participate in Bible study and go to events where the gospel was explained.  I could engage with and learn from the teaching, and I continue to do so!  Emmanuel has been so good for building relationships and, through them, to learn about God from people who really love Jesus.  God has really put great people and great relationships in my life, and out of all of those, He is number one.  We speak every day.

 

Joan Ardill
I moved to Nottingham in 1984 with my husband and three daughters.  Three years later the marriage broke down and I was on my own with three almost teenage girls.  I’d become a Christian at college and I think it was the knowledge that God cared for
me that kept me going through the divorce and difficult years that followed.  We stayed in Nottingham where the girls were now settled and I started work at the University.  As well as three lovely daughters I now have two adorable grandsons.

When Emmanuel started I was at the point of retiring.  This gave me time to go to the Tuesday prayer meeting and help with Pebbles Plus when that began.  I enjoy our Sunday services – the music and the teaching – and I feel part of a ‘family’ of all ages who care for each other and strive to grow in our Christian walk.

 

Cathy & Dave Ross-Waddell
We were both introduced to Christianity as children and went regularly to church, yet none of our parents put Jesus at the centre of their lives or encouraged us to do the same.  In our twenties we both independently drifted away from God and it was only once we had met, married and were expecting our first child that we looked for a church.  Bringing a child into the world made us ask fundamental questions about Christianity  and we wanted to understand and learn more.

We have been at Emmanuel since it began and both this church and our original one have helped us along a long path of discovering Christ and accepting Him as our personal Saviour.  We have come to realise that being a Christian is not about what we do or about earning a place in heaven by good deeds, rather it is accepting that Christ took the punishment on the cross for us.  We deserve punishment for all the bad things we do and think yet Christ has wiped all that away if we accept Him.  This realisation has meant that we can look to the future without fear of hard times or death because God is always and will always be there.  We now want to try to do and think good things to please him.

Like most couples, we have had to deal with some difficult times during our 20 years together – heart disease, depression, redundancy, unemployment and the death of loved ones – yet through all this our faith has strengthened as God has carried us through and we have realised that as Christians we are not exempt from hardship.  The teaching and support of our Emmanuel family has helped us to rely more and more on God and less on ourselves as we understand more of the Bible and its teaching.  Emmanuel has also challenged us to try to live out our faith in our everyday lives and to witness to the many non-Christians we meet in various areas of our lives.

The excellent children’s work at Emmanuel has meant that all 3 of our children are acquiring a good knowledge of Christ’s life and why he came to earth, and of how God has blessed us as a family even when times have been difficult.  One of the most important things for us as parents is to help our children come to know Christ for themselves and Emmanuel has helped and guided us in this challenging task and continues to do so.

When and Where

Sundays at 10.30am at Bramcote College, Moor Lane, Bramcote, NG9 3GA

Legal Info

Emmanuel Church, Bramcote is a registered charity in England and Wales (1157080,). Registered as a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales (08898983).

This means that our accounts are regularly submitted to the charity commission and companies house for scrutiny and that financial gifts to Emmanuel can be gift-aided.

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