What is the Walk to Emmaus?

a 2 computer walk theme[We] were reminded that Emmaus® is not an “emotional bubble-bath.” It is essentially a journey with Jesus Christ. The main focus is not how wonderfully close we have grown with each other, but how much closer we are to Christ and how much more effective we are as servants in his church. -Clergyman from Illinois

The Walk to Emmaus® is a spiritual renewal program intended to strengthen the local church through the development of Christian disciples and leaders. 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 usually 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 Upper Room® of The United Methodist Church sponsors the Walk to Emmaus® and offers it through local Emmaus® groups around the world. The three-day Emmaus® experience and the 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. Many church leaders acclaim Emmaus® as much more than a program. It is a powerful movement of spiritual renewal that is making a difference for countless individuals and many congregations. Between 1978 and 1995, nearly half a million persons participated in Emmaus®. During this same period, the Emmaus® movement has taken hold in 300 sites around the world, including the U.S.A., Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Germany, and India. Emmaus® is an experience in which growing Christians of all sorts come together in common affirmation of the essentials of the Christian faith. Bishop Adriel de Souza Maia of Brazil worked to take Emmaus® to his homeland because, as he put it, “We need a church renewal movement which brings together the two sides of the Christian life: prayer and action, personal spiritual growth and social concern. Emmaus® holds together these two sides of the coin.”