By Pastor Charles J. Southall, III |  January 1, 2010

10 PM. on New Year's Eve, a church full of people enjoyed praise and worship to help celebrate 2009 and prepare for 2010. Nestled in the middle of a rebuilding community, the congregation of First Emanuel Baptist Church believes we are just where God wants us to be as we face the New Year. A community of economic, cultural and religious diversity, the church is geared to providing ministries to reach out to those within the shadow of the sanctuary and beyond does God hold before us for 2010? This is the “Year of Praise.” Let me put it this way, we see ourselves riding a Tremendous Wave. This church will go wherever that wave is taking us. God created the wave, we didn't. Our job, our ministry is not to know the destination before us. Instead, our Joy is to ride the wave through 2010 and beyond as God reveals His will and purpose along the way. What a trip!

The Year of Praise has four unfolding “seasons,” each prompting us to grow in a particular grace from the Lord:
(1) Gratitude - To understand and to rejoice gratefully in who we are and who we are called to become - by God’s gracious and loving desire and design.
(2) Healing - To rejoice gratefully in the realization of God’s unfailingly steadfast and forgiving love - revealed in Christ crucified.
(3) Call - To respond enthusiastically to Christ’s call to join him in building up the Kingdom of truth, justice, and love, and peace on earth.
(4) Co-laboring - To live and to work willingly as the hands ,feet ,and hearts, of the risen Lord living and working to his Glory.

We want to make it easy for you to participate in this Year of Praise . Please give serious consideration to joining us in this very important experience for our spiritual growth and development. I am convinced that God is calling us to this Year of Praise in order to help us deepen our collective union of minds and hearts for the sake of service to others. Let us be continually mindful of one another throughout the Year, holding each other in the Highest Esteem while Praising the GOD of our Being.