Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Jenkins Bridge, is a family-sized parish that traces it roots back to 1686. The church is in a lovely rural area in Accomack County on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, approximately 75 miles north of Virginia Beach.
The environs offer unspoiled beaches; hunting, fishing and boating opportunities; superb bird watching and the charm of a slower-paced lifestyle without neglecting cultural offerings. We share this brief profile to acquaint you with us and with our approach to mission and ministry.
Emmanuel boasts a strong, active lay ministry. This is especially important because historically we have had a part-time priest supplemented by lay leaders. Our staff includes an organist, sexton, and part-time parish secretary. We work closely with our priest who offers spiritual guidance and pastoral care to a congregation with diverse backgrounds. The majority of the congregation falls into the “over 50” age group, but all age brackets are represented.
The people of Emmanuel are firmly committed to outreach, both in the community and in the world. In partnership with community agencies, we’ve reached out to those in need on the Shore. We also reach out to the tourists visiting the area by offering an additional service during the summer months at a chapel in Chincoteague, serving the seasonal population. We are committed to ongoing Christian Education in many forms, including our lay-led adult education program.
Operating on a budget of approximately $76,500 (2017) with about 80 communicants in good standing and an average Sunday attendance of close to half that number, Emmanuel prides itself on being small but powerful. We are a congregation dedicated to the concept of mutual ministry in a beautiful rural setting. We believe that a collaboration between capable and dedicated laypersons and a clergy person skilled in enhancing lay ministry makes a vital difference in the lives of parishioners and persons in the community.
Several years ago, the entire congregation, led by the vestry, developed and adopted the following vision and mission statements:
Our vision is to witness God’s presence by proclaiming his Word and serving his people.
Emmanuel strives to be a welcoming community of loving, caring and nurturing Christians whose mission is to proclaim God’s presence. In fulfilling this mission, we seek to be centered in worship and in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper and are committed to:
Reaching out to a diverse population
Supporting a strong lay ministry
Ensuring life-long Christian education
Providing ministry to those in need
Celebrating all of life’s joys in this holy, historic place.
These statements were not simply adopted, framed and put on the wall. We constantly measure our progress and ministry against our vision and mission as practical guides for all phases of parish life.
Based on strategic goals that emerged from our mission statement, the vestry is organized into “Goal Champions” who are responsible for coordinating efforts in the areas of Outreach, Stewardship, Fellowship, Christian Education, Worship and Building and Grounds. At each Annual Parish Meeting, in a workshop setting, parishioners identify needed priorities for the coming year. Then the vestry, at a retreat, translates these priorities into specific objectives and activities.
Emmanuel, Jenkins Bridge was established in 1686 as a part of what was then called Accomack Parish. The present church building was built in 1860 in the town of Temperanceville, Virginia, about six miles from the present site at Jenkins Bridge. In 1887, the church building in Temperanceville was dismantled and moved to its present site.
The brick floored entrance to the Parish Hall includes the design of a cross, fashioned from old bricks. These bricks were found buried at the foundation of the ruins of the original Accomack Parish Church in Assawoman, Virginia, linking our past to the present.
In addition to this old design, we also have one of the finest colonial chalices in existence as part of our heritage. The chalice is stamped with the London date-letter of 1749 and the inscription “For the use of the Parish Church at Accomack of Assuaman.”
The lovely old stained glass window behind the altar depicts an agrarian theme.