We are an active 4th Day community serving Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, and St. Mary's counties. 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.
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.
We currently have over 125 active members in our community. Our multi-county area is divided into three local communities serving the northern, central and southern regions of southern Maryland. We meet on a monthly basis and have numerous accountability groups established throughout our area.
The Walk to Emmaus is a 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 servanthood 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 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 typically 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 three-day Emmaus experience and 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.
The Upper Room, a ministry unit of the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church, sponsors the Walk to Emmaus and offers it through local Emmaus groups around the world. Although connected through The Upper Room to The United Methodist Church, The Walk to Emmaus is ecumenical.
The name Emmaus is taken from the story in Luke's gospel concerning two disciples of Jesus and the stranger they met on their way to the village of Emmaus. The disciples were weary and disheartened. Their world was in ruins, their dreams shattered.
The one on whom they had pinned all their hopes had been cruelly crucified. They shared their disillusionment with the stranger while they walked along the road. As they did so, their hearts were lightened and hope re-kindled. Later, when they were at supper they recognized the stranger as Jesus.
Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we too sometimes fail to recognize the presence of Jesus within ourselves and in others.
Time apart to rest, relax and pray helps us become more attuned to the presence of God in our lives, so that we can better celebrate how much God loves us and walks with us in our own individual circumstances.
FIRST - WE SEEK TO DEVELOP CHRISTIAN LEADERS.
We invite Christians who are active members of local churches to come to the three day weekend. While on their walk, they are challenged to take on the disciplines of piety, study, and Christian action for the rest of their lives.
SECOND - WE SEEK TO STRENGTHEN LOCAL CONGREGATIONS.
We want pilgrims to return to their local churches and continue to offer themselves in service to God through their congregations. They take back their understanding of a life marked by piety, study, and Christian action. They bring home a renewed energy for loving God and neighbor. They bring back a revitalized desire to offer sacrificial love within the church.
THIRD - WE SEEK TO CHRISTIANIZE THE ENVIRONMENT.
We want the pilgrims to return to their homes, places of work, school, neighborhoods, and be faithful witnesses to the grace of Jesus Christ. It is our hope and vision that their witness will make a difference in their world, that their lives will be marked by honesty and integrity, and that the light of Christ will shine through their words and deeds.