Walk to Emmaus
The Walk to Emmaus is a spiritual renewal program intended to strengthen the local church through the development of Christian disciples and leaders. The program's approach seriously considers the model of Christ's servanthood and encourages Christ's disciples to act in ways appropriate to being "a servant of all."
The Walk to Emmaus experience begins with a 72-hour short course in Christianity, comprised of fifteen talks by lay and clergy on the themes of God's grace, disciplines of Christian discipleship, and what it means to be the church. The course is wrapped in prayer and meditation, special times of worship and daily celebration of Holy Communion. The "Emmaus community," made up of those who have attended an Emmaus weekend, support the 72-hour experience with a prayer vigil, by preparing and serving meals, and other acts of love and self-giving. The Emmaus Walk typically begins Thursday evening and concludes Sunday evening. Men and women attend separate weekends.
During and after the three days, Emmaus leaders encourage participants to meet regularly in small groups. The members of the small groups challenge and support one another in faithful living. Participants seek to Christianize their environments of family, job, and community through the ministry of their congregations. The three-day Emmaus experience and follow-up groups strengthen and renew Christian people as disciples of Jesus Christ and as active members of the body of Christ in mission to the world.
Structure and Organization
The Walk to Emmaus is grounded theologically and institutionally in The Upper Room ministry unit of the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. However, The Walk to Emmaus is ecumenical. The program invites and involves the participation of Christians of many denominations. Emmaus is ecumenical not only because members of many denominations participate, but because Emmaus seeks to foster Christian unity and to reinforce the whole Christian community. This is one of the great strengths and joys of the Emmaus movement.
The fact that Emmaus is ecumenical does not mean it is theologically indifferent. On the contrary, The Walk to Emmaus is designed to communicate with confidence and depth the essentials of the Christian life, while accentuating those features that Christians have traditionally held in common.
Where Did the Name Come From?
The Walk to Emmaus gets its name from the story in Luke 24:13-35, which provides the central image for the three-day experience and follow-up. Luke tells the story of that first Easter afternoon when the risen Christ appeared to the two disciples who were walking together along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. As they walked, Jesus explained to them the meaning of all the scriptures concerning himself. They recognized him as Jesus, left Emmaus, and returned immediately to their friends in Jerusalem. As they told stories about their encounters with the risen Lord, Jesus visited them again with a fresh awareness of his living presence.
However, the story of Jesus’ resurrection does not conclude with the disciples' personal spiritual experiences. Jesus ascended to the Father, and the disciples became the body of the risen Christ through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The disciples were sent forth by the Spirit to bear witness to the good news of God in Jesus Christ. They learned to walk in the spirit of Jesus, to proclaim the gospel to a disbelieving world, and to persevere in grace through spiritual companionship with one another.
The Walk to Emmaus offers today's disciples a parallel opportunity to rediscover Christ's presence in their lives, to gain fresh understanding of God's transforming grace, and to form friendships that foster faith and support spiritual maturity. While Emmaus provides a pathway to the mountaintop of God's love, it also supports returning to the world in the power of the Spirit to share the love received with a hurtful and hurting world.
How to Attend a Walk
To get involved in Emmaus, each person must have a sponsor who has already attended Emmaus him or herself. We will be happy to sponsor you! Contact Nancy and we'll set up a time to talk in detail about the weekend. If you want your spouse or another friend or family member to join us, this would be great! Look over the Emmaus Walk dates coming up in our area and see which dates will work best for you. All Walks begin Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. and go through Sunday to approximately 7:00 p.m. You’ll want to make reservations early as Walks fill up quickly. Begin to pray intensely about your participation in the Walk. Ask for God's divine guidance and direction as you take this journey. We'll look forward to supporting you on this journey! Call Janis Browning, firstname.lastname@example.org