James Tissot painting of Walk to Emmaus

The Pilgrims of Emmaus on the Road by James Tissot

For over 40 years, people have been experiencing life-changing spiritual growth on the Walk to Emmaus.  Over one million pilgrims have gone on a walk, and it has expanded to serve young people with Chrysalis weekends, as well as other services. Emmaus communities are found worldwide.

If you are not located in the region of Southern Nevada, find a community near you at the global Walk to Emmaus website: http://emmaus.upperroom.org/finder

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens on the Emmaus Weekend?

You will enjoy three days of singing, learning, laughing, worshiping, reflecting, praying and participating in small groups.  Discussions center around fifteen talks given by laity and clergy.  These talks present the theme of God’s grace, how that grace comes alive in the Christian community and how it is expressed in the world.  You’ll also discover how grace is real in your life, how you live a life of grace, and how you bring that grace to others.

You will have the opportunity to participate in the daily celebration of Holy Communion and to understand more fully the body of Christ.  You will experience God’s grace through the prayers and acts of anonymous service offered by the Emmaus community.  You will leave with an experience of Christian love in action that will equip you for new levels of grace-filled service and leadership.

What is the history of the Walk to Emmaus and Chrysalis?

The Walk to Emmaus is an adaptation of the Roman Catholic Cursillo (pronounced cur-SEE-o) Movement, which originated in Spain in 1949. Cursillo de Cristianidad means “little course in Christianity.” The original Cursillo leaders designed the program to empower persons to transform their living and working environments into Christian environments. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Episcopalians and Lutherans, along with several nondenominational groups, such as Tres Dias, began to offer Cursillo. In 1978, The Upper Room of the General Board of Discipleship adapted the program for a primarily Protestant audience and began to offer it under the name The Upper Room Cursillo. In 1981, The Upper Room made further adaptations and changed the name of the program to The Upper Room Walk to Emmaus. In 1984, The Upper Room developed a youth expression of Emmaus called Chrysalis.

What is the meaning behind the name “Walk to Emmaus?”

The Walk to Emmaus® gets its name from the story in Luke 24:13-35, which provides the central image for the three-day experience and follow-up. Luke tells the story of that first Easter afternoon when the risen Christ appeared to the two disciples who were walking together along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Like Christians and churches who are blinded by preoccupation with their own immediate difficulties, these two disciples’ sadness and hopelessness seemed to prevent them from seeing God’s redemptive purpose in things that had happened.

And yet, the risen Christ “came near and went with them,” opening the disciples’ eyes to his presence and lighting the fire of God’s love in their hearts. As they walked to Emmaus, Jesus explained to them the meaning of all the scriptures concerning himself. When they arrived in Emmaus, Jesus “took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them,” and their eyes were opened. They recognized him as Jesus, the risen Lord, and they remembered how their hearts had burned within them as they talked with him on the road. Within the hour, the two disciples left Emmaus and returned immediately to their friends in Jerusalem. As they told stories about their encounters with the risen Lord, Jesus visited them again with a fresh awareness of his living presence.

However, the story of Jesus’ resurrection does not conclude with the disciples’ personal spiritual experiences. Jesus ascended to the Father, and the disciples became the body of the risen Christ through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The disciples were sent forth by the Spirit to bear witness to the good news of God in Jesus Christ. They learned to walk in the spirit of Jesus, to proclaim the gospel to a disbelieving world, and to persevere in grace through spiritual companionship with one another.

The Walk to Emmaus offers today’s disciples a parallel opportunity to rediscover Christ’s presence in their lives, to gain fresh understanding of God’s transforming grace, and to form friendships that foster faith and support spiritual maturity. While Emmaus provides a pathway to the mountaintop of God’s love, it also supports pilgrims’ return to the world in the power of the Spirit to share the love they have received with a hurtful and hurting world.

—from What Is Emmaus? ©The Upper Room.

What is the structure and organization?

The Walk to Emmaus® is grounded theologically and institutionally in The Upper Room ministry unit of the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church.

However, The Walk to Emmaus is ecumenical. The program invites and involves the participation of Christians of many denominations. Emmaus is ecumenical not only because members of many denominations participate, but because Emmaus seeks to foster Christian unity and to reinforce the whole Christian community. This is one of the great strengths and joys of the Emmaus movement.

The fact that Emmaus is ecumenical does not mean it is theologically indifferent. On the contrary, The Walk to Emmaus is designed to communicate with confidence and depth the essentials of the Christian life, while accentuating those features that Christians have traditionally held in common.

The Upper Room Walk to Emmaus is a tightly designed event that is conducted with discipline according to a manual that is universally standard. Emmaus is offered only with the permission and under the guidelines of The Upper Room. This ensures a proven format and a common experience that should be trustworthy from weekend to weekend wherever Emmaus is being offered.

Each community is administered locally through its local Board of Directors. The program is administered globally through the International Emmaus office in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

—from The Upper Room Handbook on Emmaus, ©The Upper Room.

How can I attend a Walk to Emmaus or Chrysalis weekend?

To get involved in Emmaus, each person must have a sponsor who has already attended Emmaus him- or herself. If you have a friend who has been to Emmaus, ask your friend to tell you about his or her experience with the program. Your friend can help you decide whether or not you would find an Emmaus experience helpful.

If you don’t know anyone who has been to Emmaus, contact us.  For other locations, please visit the worldwide Emmaus website and use the Emmaus Finder & Community Map to locate an Emmaus community in your area. Once you have found a nearby community, contact one of the community’s representatives and ask him or her to help you consider attending Emmaus and finding a sponsor.

For more information, please contact us at info@snwec.org