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What is a Walk to Emmaus?

In Luke 24 we read the story of the risen Christ appearing to two who were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. He explained the Scriptures and their hearts were warmed. Their eyes were only fully opened to recognise Him when Christ took bread, blessed and broke it, then gave it to them. Filled with joy they rushed back to Jerusalem to share the news with the other disciples.

This story provides the image for Emmaus. The Emmaus movement came to Southern Africa in 1990 from the United Methodist Church in the USA, which in turn developed it from the Spanish Roman Catholic Cursillo de Christiandad ('A short Course in Christianity') which started in the late 1940s. The movement is true to Protestant theology, with some Methodist emphases, but is ecumenical in practice. Emmaus is seeking to find authentic expression in the cultures of Africa while retaining the wealth of Christian experience from other cultures. God is using Emmaus in Southern Africa to bring reconciliation between races and renewal to Christians and their churches.

The Purpose of Emmaus

Emmaus aims to inspire, challenge and equip local church members for Christian action in their homes, churches and places of work. It provides a means by which we can grow together in love, grace and servant-hood as members of the Body of Christ.

What happens at Emmaus?

The "Walk to Emmaus" is a 72-hour experience (Thursday evening to Sunday evening). This time is spent studying, discussing, worshipping and living together at a suitable retreat centre. Fifteen talks, delivered by clergy and laity, form the basis of discussions and projects. These present the themes of God's Grace and how grace comes alive in the Christian Community and expresses itself in the world. You will have the opportunity to celebrate Holy Communion daily and begin to understand more fully the presence of Christ in the body of his believers. The prayers and acts of love of a living support community enhance this experience.

What happens after a "Walk to Emmaus"?

One of the primary strengths of Emmaus is the follow up. Your weekend lasts three days, but you are invited to build on it for the rest of your life through:

  • Expanding your spiritual life through study and congregational participation, and
  • Becoming more active as a disciple of Christ in the world through your home church.
  • To nurture this discipleship, Emmaus offers specific opportunities:
  • A small "reunion group" that meets weekly to maintain spiritual accountability;
  • Monthly Community gatherings for fellowship & worship;
  • Opportunities and training to support & participate in leading future "Walks".

Who should go to Emmaus?

Emmaus is for Christians who are leaders or have the potential to become leaders in their local Church and are open to experience the grace and love of God in new ways. It is for those who will be committed to make a difference as a result of this experience Emmaus is not for people who are undergoing an emotional crisis or are looking for another "spiritual high".