The Walk to Emmaus is an ecumenical 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 servant-hood 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 Walk begins Thursday evening and concludes Sunday evening. Men and women attend separate weekends. The Walk to Emmaus is open to Christians of all denominations.
HOW DID THE WALK TO EMMAUS GET ITS NAME? The Gospel of Luke relates the story of Christ joining two friends on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, walking together and sharing their hearts’ deepest concerns. The risen Christ walks with them and explains the scriptures: how it was ordained that Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory. The illuminating climax of this heartwarming experience comes when Christ takes bread and blesses it, he then breaks it and gives it to them. At that moment, the eyes of the two are opened, they recognize him as the risen Christ, and they rush back to Jerusalem to tell the others. (Luke 24:13-35) The above story provides the image for Walk to Emmaus, an Upper Room program that calls forth and restores Christian discipleship. The Walk to Emmaus, a three day experience, takes a New Testament look at Christianity as a lifestyle. The highly structured weekend is designed to strengthen and invigorate the faith of Christian people and, through them, their families, their congregations, and the world in which they live. Emmaus combines the efforts of laity and clergy to renew the church.
WHERE DOES IT TAKE PLACE? A community of Christians from a variety of churches provides a place, leadership, and all the support necessary to conduct the Walk to Emmaus weekend.
HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE? To get involved in Emmaus, each person must have a sponsor who has already attended Emmaus or Chrysalis him- or herself. This frees you from any personal responsibilities that might distract you while on the experience, and supports your 72 hour experience with prayer and other expressions of God’s love. If you have a friend who has been on Emmaus/Chrysalis, ask your friend to tell you about his or her experience with the program. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER? Cleopas and his companion immediately returned to tell other disciples about their encounter with Christ. A regular, ongoing time of sharing together our journey with Christ is part of the follow-up to the experience. Weekly, small-group meetings are open to all persons wanting to grow in accountability for their relationship with Christ.