“At a gathering in West Frankfort, in March of 1991, the proposal to officially become and Emmaus Community was embraced by those in Southern Illinois who had attended a Walk to Emmaus. The gatherings at that time were a great success if we had 20-30 attending!!! Most of the community had attended the Purchase Area Walk to Emmaus but communities from Nashville, TN, Evansville, IN, and the Wabash Valley were represented. The original steering committee included Paul Cotton, Ed West, Roger Russell, Mike Mayfield, Ed Rexroad, Annie Buzzard, Diane Doughty, Pete Donnelly, Darrell Boehne, Paul Jacob, Patti Thurmond, Dick Cary, Don Ness, Gene Turner, Bill Smith, and Dave Cole. Paul Jacob served as Chair and Mike Mayfield as Spiritual Director of the new community.
The first Steering Committee meeting was held in April of 1991 and the name “Little Egypt” was accepted. The intent of the community was and is to raise up and exalt the Lord Jesus Christ. The walk to Emmaus was recognized as a tool to that end. The first set of walks were planned for the fall of 1992, with the Methodist Camp at Little Grassy as the site. The Rev. Bruce Wieman was our local representative from the Upper Room and provided direction for the community and served as Spiritual Director for the first Walks. The committee members chaired the various committees needed to plan the walks and operate the community. The first elected board was elected in the fall of 1993 and began service in January 1994.
Of course we had our share of problems. In the beginning, concerns about finances were very real. However the Lord provided abundantly and beyond our expectations!!! We were able to operate the weekends and meet all our expenses. We also had the resources to operate a scholarship fund enabling all who want to attend the weekend to do so.
We have been blessed to see God honor the efforts of His people to be obedient, first to Him, and then to the Model of Walk to Emmaus. Many lives have been touched by God, and His Kingdom advanced in Southern Illinois as a result of this work of God. To Him be all glory, honor and praises.”
Since the beginning there have been over 52 men’s and women’s walks, and some prison walks