The Walk to Emmaus is designed
for Christians who are active church members and their leaders who want to
rekindle their faith or renew their vision. Less active church members
who are seeking to renew a relationship with God, to grow spiritually, or to
discover firmer foundations for their lives may also benefit from Emmaus.
Emmaus is for people who want to grow spiritually and mature as disciples of
Jesus Christ, who want to build up the church in love and contribute to its
ministry. Emmaus is not an evangelistic outreach to non-Christians.
While the Lord always works His wonders during Walks, the primary purpose of
Emmaus is not to heal individuals, marriages or relationships of physical,
emotional or social dysfunction or illness. It is not for working through grief
or psychological problems. Emmaus teams are not trained for counseling or
group therapy. If you tend toward preoccupation with working through
personal dilemmas, consider waiting to go to Emmaus when you feel freer to
focus on the message of the Walk.
The Walk to Emmaus is mainstream in theological outlook. The content of the
Walk assumes and builds on familiarity with and belief in the basics of the
Christian faith and tries to build on each person's positive relationship with
the church. Emmaus has room for a great variety of Christians who seek to grow,
share, and give themselves to a three-day walk with Christ. Emmaus is a
common meeting ground for the great diversity of Christians in our churches who
celebrate their unity in Christ and feel they can learn from one another.
Emmaus is for fostering unity in Christ, not for theological debate and
arguments about denominations. Emmaus tries to foster appreciation and
openness to the different faith-perspectives of the participants. Bring a
spirit of Christian tolerance and charity toward others, including members of
other denominations. If you cannot affirm your unity with other kinds of
Christians, if you tend to define Christianity narrowly and legalistically or
are intolerant of those who see things differently, then Emmaus is probably not
for you. Emmaus is a concentrated three-day course in Christianity, not a
relaxing retreat. Don't bring work from the office or have hopes of taking an
afternoon off to read. Except for break times, Emmaus is a very full
experience. Come with empty hands and open hearts, planning to give
yourself completely to the Emmaus Walk. Plan to meet with Jesus, to walk
with Him, to talk with Him, and to be changed forever by Him.
WHY THE WALK TO EMMAUS
The above story provides the image for Emmaus, an Upper Room program that calls
forth and renews Christian discipleship. Like its predecessor, Cursillo de
Christiandad (Spanish for "short course in Christianity"), the Walk to Emmaus
is a three-day experience which takes a New Testament look at Christianity as a
lifestyle. It is a highly structured weekend designed to strengthen and renew
the faith of Christian people, and through them their families, congregations
and the world in which they live. Emmaus is a combined effort of laity
and clergy toward the renewal of the church.
The "Walk to Emmaus" is a 72-hour experience.
The weekend begins on Thursday evening and ends Sunday evening. At Emmaus you
will spend three busy but very enjoyable days, usually at a retreat
center. You will live and study together in singing, prayer, worship, and
discussion. Discussions center around fifteen talks given by laity and clergy.
These talks present the theme of God's grace, and how that grace comes alive in
the Christian community and expresses itself in the world. You'll also discover
how grace is real in your life, and how you can live in the life of
grace, bringing grace to others. You will have the opportunity to participate
in the daily celebration of Holy Communion, and to begin to understand
more fully the presence of Christ in his body of believers. You will experience
God's grace personally through the prayers and acts of service of a living
PURPOSE OF EMMAUS
The focus of Emmaus is God as known in Jesus Christ and how that finds
expression in the local church. The objective of Emmaus is to inspire,
challenge, and equip local church members for Christian action in their
homes,churches, and places of work. Emmaus lifts up a way for our grace-filled
life to be lived and shared with others.
WHO SHOULD GO TO
Emmaus is for the development of Christian leaders who: wish to strengthen
their spiritual lives; may have unanswered questions about prayer, study, and
sharing their faith; understand that being a Christian involves responsibility;
are willing to dedicate their everyday lives to God in an ongoing manner; have
positions of responsibility in the church and the world.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER EMMAUS?
One of the primary strengths of Emmaus is the follow-up. Your weekend lasts
only three days, but you are invited to build on it for the rest of your life.
Those who attend a "Walk to Emmaus" are encouraged to do two things following
1. Expand their own spiritual lives through
study and congregational participation;
2. Become more active disciples of Christ in
the world through their churches.
To nurture this process of discipleship, the Emmaus movement offers
specific opportunities. First, reunion groups of four to six people meet weekly
to reflect on their quest for spiritual growth and encourage one another in
their discipleship. Second, there will be monthly meetings called "Community
Gatherings." All people in a particular Emmaus community or area are invited
for fellowship, worship, and informal instruction. Third, through a newsletter,
members become aware of support needs for upcoming Walks to Emmaus and there
are opportunities to work during future weekends in a variety of ways.
HISTORY OF EMMAUS
Originating in Spain in the late 1949, Cursillo moved to America in the late
1950s. It was primarily a Roman Catholic movement until the 1970s. As Catholic
centers started accepting applications from Protestants, efforts began among
some groups to make the Cursillo experience available to all Protestants, In
the late 1970s, The Upper Room (a unit of the Board of Discipleship of the
United Methodist Church) formed The Upper Room Cursillo Community in Nashville,
Tennessee, in 1981, by mutual agreement between the National Secretariat of the
Roman Catholic Cursillo movement and The Upper Room, the name of the Nashville
Protestant community was changed to Emmaus. The Emmaus movement is ecumenical.
Emmaus is open to members of any denomination.