Pastoral Updates

Read updates from Father Aaron Damiani and Immanuel leadership below.

For ongoing updates about about upcoming events, subscribe to our weekly email, the “Immanuel Digest.”

July 29, 2021

For those who would like to receive updates on the ongoing investigative process involving our diocese, here are some steps you can take:
  • For updates on the province’s ongoing investigative process, bookmark this page on the ACNA’s website.
  • Subscribe to receive email updates from the Provincial Response Team regarding the ongoing investigation here. If you already receive ACNA emails, update your profile to “opt-in” to receive Provincial Response Team updates here.
  • If you have questions or concerns about the investigation, please email

We may at times post updates from this process here, but since we are not always able to do so promptly, we recommend you go directly to the Provincial Response Team page rather than depending on this webpage. 

Thank you!

Jennifer Wood

Director of Communications & Family Ministries

July 12, 2021

Dear Immanuel family,

We want you to be aware of a recent letter that Archbishop Foley Beach sent to the Anglican Church in North America regarding our Diocese (The Diocese of the Upper Midwest). You can read Archbishop Foley’s letter here. 

We will do our best to keep Immanuel’s congregation updated as we continue to hear updates about this situation, but we may not always be able to immediately relay these announcements to you or post on our website in a timely manner. For those who would like to receive all the latest news and announcements, we recommend you subscribe directly to email updates from the diocese and the ACNA.

For a full list of recent letters and announcements, visit our diocesan news page.


  • To subscribe to updates from the Upper Midwest Diocese, visit their website (scroll to the bottom to subscribe).
  • To subscribe to updates from the Anglican Church in North America and Archbishop Foley Beach, click here.

Please continue in prayer for all those connected to this situation.

In prayer with you,

Nichole Sangha, Executive Pastor

July 10, 2021

Dear Immanuel Anglican Church,

I want to make sure you’re aware of an important letter that Bishop Stewart wrote to our diocese this week. You can read the letter here. This letter is the latest follow-up in the devastating abuse situation involving a former member of our diocese, Mark Rivera.

In this new letter, Bishop Stewart announces that he has requested a temporary leave of absence. Archbishop Foley Beach has granted that request, and offered the assistance of the Anglican Church in North America for the Upper Midwest Diocese. Archbishop Foley will communicate soon about the scope of that support.

I’m sure you have questions. As we hear from the Archbishop and his team, we will keep you informed. Our Anglican polity is designed to serve situations like this.

As you process this news, Immanuel leaders are ready to support and pray with you. We will answer any questions that we can. To connect with one of our leaders, send an email to care [at] or come up for prayer after a Sunday service.

Please continue to pray with me for the survivors and all those who have suffered. Join us in prayer for the Lord to walk with our diocese in the days ahead, to bring healing and restoration, and for us all to gain wisdom in how to protect the most vulnerable in our midst.

Yours in Jesus,

Father Aaron Damiani

June 30, 2021

Dear Immanuel Anglican,

I am writing to provide the most recent letter from Bishop Stewart about an investigation of abuse within our diocese. In it, Bishop Stewart expresses his concern to protect and hear from victims of abuse, gives insight about the independent review taking place, and makes clear the key lessons he has learned in this process. I found his letter to be helpful and his leadership response to be credible, transparent and trustworthy. I encourage you to read it yourself.

While Immanuel Anglican is not directly involved in this particular situation, it does involve our diocese, which is part of our spiritual family. For this reason, I want to address how we approach the issue of abuse within the local church.

First, we create a culture where abuse cannot flourish. I agree with Bishop Stewart when he says this: “We are committed to responding to any allegations of abuse within any of our churches in a forthright, godly manner that involves the proper authorities, holds leaders accountable, and protects and honors victims.” There is zero tolerance for predatory behavior in our midst.

Second, we establish systems and practices that protect the vulnerable, especially children. Some of these systems include thorough screening, abuse awareness and prevention training, background checks and policies to protect children and youth. In addition, each staff member receives training on issues of abuse, harassment and reporting. Even though these systems are well established at Immanuel, we do not rest on them. We actively learn from the best practices advocated in the field of abuse prevention and response.

Third, we seek out accountability from those best equipped to provide it, including state and local law enforcement, child and family services, 3rd party investigators and the episcopal oversight provided by Bishop Stewart. While we as the church are ready to provide care and shepherding to each person impacted, we also are committed to immediately notifying proper authorities, conforming with law enforcement and cooperating with any resulting investigations in any event of abuse allegation.

Please reach out with any questions to myself (aaron [at], to Nichole Sangha, our Executive Pastor (nichole [at] or to Josh Evans, the Senior Warden of the Parish Council (yosh.evans [at]

Father Aaron Damiani

June 24, 2021

Please note that beginning Sunday, July 4th, masks will become optional for fully vaccinated attendees in our Sunday worship services and Next Generation ministries.

May 5, 2021

Dear Immanuel family,

Last night, Bishop Stewart released a very important letter to our diocese. I want to make sure you all have the opportunity to read it.

You can read the letter here.

There is information about how to respond in Bishop Stewart’s letter. Please be in prayer for everyone connected to this situation.

In Christ,
Father Aaron Damiani

April 29, 2021

Fr. Aaron Damiani | January 7, 2021

Dear Immanuel Anglican,

I am writing to call all of us towards united, urgent prayer for peace in our country.

Along with many of you, I watched with shock and great concern as protesters resorted to violence, trespassing and vandalism of the US Capitol building. Even more concerning was the fomenting of violence from the mouth of the President, who encouraged his supporters to resort to “fight harder” in support of his claims that the November results were fraudulent.

I was likewise grieved as an American who is committed to the peace and well-being of our country. The House of Representatives belongs to the people of the United States, not by force but by consent and in accordance with the established laws and norms of our country. Those laws, norms and the common good they represent were trampled on in a foul spirit of revenge. In the process, at least four people died, dozens were injured, and our country’s 200+ year tradition of a peaceful transfer of presidential power was broken.

I condemn on the strongest possible terms the use of Christian flags, prayers and symbols that the protesters-turned-rioters displayed in conjunction with political paraphernalia and symbols of white supremacy. As sacramental Christians, we affirm that Christian symbolism is serious business, and it is a direct violation of the 2nd Commandment to use them to justify seditious, violent behavior or glorify anyone other than the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This riot represents neither Jesus nor his Kingdom nor his Gospel.

On Sunday I will be addressing this week’s events in my teaching from Matthew 3 on the Baptism of Jesus. I encourage you to participate in worship, where we will pray for our country, reflect on the leadership values of Jesus represented in his baptism, and consider how we can be renewed, encouraged and prepared for his Kingdom this year.

In this hour of trial, let us not give into a spirit of fear, but rather hold fast to the confession that our God and his peace will prevail in the end.

A Prayer for Times of Social Conflict or Distress (BCP, p 659):
Increase, O God, the spirit of neighborliness among us, that in peril we may uphold one another, in suffering tend to one another, and in homelessness, loneliness or exile befriend one another. Grant us brave and enduring hearts that we may strengthen one another, until the disciplines and testing of these days are ended, and you again give peace in our time; through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN.

Let me commend to you the statement from Bishop Stewart (link below). I am grateful for his leadership in response to this and the other public crises in recent months. If you are able, please join our diocese-wide day of fasting and prayer this Friday.

Yours in Jesus,

Father Aaron

Posted June 21, 2020

June 14, 2020

June 1, 2020

Dear Immanuel Anglican,

In response to the murder of George Floyd, and in light of our church’s call to be a Spiritual Beacon in the city of Chicago, I invite you to join me in standing with our African American brothers and sisters in word and deed. Specifically, I invite you to “March on Tuesday, Fast on Wednesday.” This is an opportunity to love God and our neighbor with our wholehearted personal presence. Please consider participating in one or both, as you are able.

March on Tuesday: I invite you to join Bishop Stewart, Father Nate Beasley, Father Trevor McMaken, Father Matt Woodley, me, and many others at this march tomorrow evening at 6pm in Bronzeville. This is a peaceful protest led by our African-American brothers and sisters in Chicago. Here is the purpose they have named for this march: “In remembrance of George Floyd and countless other African Americans who have died as a result of police brutality, systemic racism and injustice, we invite you to join Faith Leaders and Congregations on Tuesday, June 2nd at 6:00pm for a peaceful demonstration of solidarity.”

Please consider coming, but of course, do not come if you are immuno-compromised or are in contact with someone who is immuno-compromised.

Fast and Pray on Wednesday: I invite you to fast and pray on Wednesday, June 3rd.  You can fast from one or more meals during the day, and then join us for prayer at 7:00PM CST (email to request the zoom link). Will Eastham will lead Immanuel and other churches from our Chicagoland network in praying for a movement of God in this time of upheaval.  As Will articulated, the vision of this time of prayer and fasting is this: “As so many cities around our country burn with the fires of revolution, let us plead with the Lord for His power––His fiery Spirit of revival and transformation––to fall on His people in this time of upheaval.” 

Additionally, you can participate in a 24-hour prayer vigil (through a Zoom “prayer room”) that will go from 8:00AM on Wednesday until 8:00AM on Thursday (CST). You can sign-up for a prayer slot here.

Finally, we will be postponing our evangelism training with Fr. Rick Richardson on Thursday. Fr. Rick wants to make sure that all of us have space to prayerfully engage with the crisis in our country.

Note: I strongly encourage all City Groups to participate in one or more of these opportunities this week, even if it means postponing normally scheduled meetings.

Yours in Jesus,

Father Aaron Damiani

May 29, 2020


George Floyd was made in the image of God and as such is a person of utmost value. This is not true because a few Anglican bishops issue a letter. This conviction arises from our reading of Scripture. The Psalmist said:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:13-14)

The opening book of our Scriptures declares the value of all human life:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27)

What happened to George is an affront to God because George’s status as an image bearer was not respected. He was treated in a way that denied his basic humanity. Our lament is real. But our lament is not limited to George and his family. We mourn alongside the wider Black community for whom this tragedy awakens memories of their own traumas and the larger history of systemic oppression that still plagues this country.

George’s death is not merely the most recent evidence that proves racism exists against Black people in this country. But it is a vivid manifestation of the ongoing devaluation of black life. At the root of all racism is a heretical anthropology that devalues the imago dei in us all.  The gospel reveals that all are equally created, sinful and equally in need of the saving work of Christ. The racism we lament is not just interpersonal. It exists in the implicit and explicit customs and attitudes that do disproportionate harm to ethnic minorities in our country. In other words, too often racial bias has been combined with political power to create inequalities that still need to be eradicated.

As bishops in the ACNA we commit ourselves to standing alongside those in the Black community as they contend for a just society, not as some attempt to transform America into the kingdom of God, but as a manifestation of neighborly love and bearing one another’s burdens and so fulfilling the law of Christ. We confess that too often ethnic minorities have felt that contending for biblical justice is a burden they bear alone.

In the end, our hope is not in our efforts, but in the shed blood of Jesus that reconciles God to humanity and humans to each other. Our hope is that our churches become places where our life together as disciples demonstrates the power of the gospel to bring together the nations of the earth (Rev 7:9). Such work cannot be carried out by one letter written in the time of crisis. We commit to educating ourselves and the churches under our charge within a biblical and theological frame to face the problems of our day. We likewise commit to partnering with likeminded churches in the work of justice and reconciliation.

The Feast of Pentecost is here in a couple of days. The power of the Spirit is loosed to convict of sin and deliver us from its power. We pray that in a country as diverse as these United States, the Church will be united in the essential truths of Christianity, including its concern for the most vulnerable. So…come Holy Spirit. Mediate to us and all the earth, we pray, the victory of Jesus over the principalities and powers that seek to rule and cause death and destruction in this time between the times. Come Holy Spirit.

Almighty God, on this day, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, you revealed the way of eternal life to every race and nation: Pour out this gift anew, that by the preaching of the Gospel your salvation may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, you created us in your own image: Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and help us to use our freedom rightly in the establishment of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Sincerely in Christ,

Bishops Jim Hobby, Todd Hunter, Stewart Ruch and Steve Wood

“Abide in Jesus”

April 23, 2020

While the feelings of exhaustion, boredom and helplessness rise, the invitation of Jesus is simple: “abide in me.” Discover a simple, practical tool that can help you receive Christ’s love each day.

Post-Holy Week Message from Fr. Aaron

April 16, 2020

Hear a word of encouragement from Father Aaron, as he reflects on Holy Week 2020.

The Hope of Eastertide

April 9, 2020

We’re all longing for the world we once knew. What can we hope for now?

Invitation to Holy Week

April 2, 2020

“For Jesus and his followers, Holy Week was anything but serene and normal…”

Update from Fr. Aaron

March 26, 2020

“We may crave information, but the Father wants to give us the power of the Spirit.”

Update from Fr. Aaron

March 26, 2020

Updated March 19, 2020

Hello Immanuel Anglican,

Here are some brief updates:

#1: We will continue to livestream our worship service on Sunday mornings. You can find us at Gather the family, roommates or neighbors and join us at 10AM this Sunday. Feel free to share this link with friends and family, near or far!

#2: We will not be distributing communion for the next few weeks. Instead, we will change our liturgy for a ministry of what’s called “Spiritual Communion.” During the liturgy, we will offer an opportunity to express our desire for the presence of Christ and receive it personally without the aid of communion.

#3: Our City Groups will become online gatherings via Zoom, a video conference call format. Our vision is that these groups can provide relational connection, practice evening prayer, and serve as a hub to share and meet the needs that arise. Find the list of groups and sign up at

Click one of the links above if you would like to stay in the loop, share a prayer request, connect with a church leader or request more information about online City Groups! In the meantime, watch our social media channels for updates, videos, ways to serve the city and other encouragements.  

I love and am praying for you all!

Father Aaron