The History 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 1960’s and 1970’s, the Episcopalians and Lutherans, along with several non-denomination 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.
Experience the Walk to Emmaus
The Walk to Emmaus experience begins with a 72-hour short course in Christianity, comprised of 15 talks by lay and clergy on the themes of God’s grace, disciplines of Christian discipleship, and what it means to 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.
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. This program invites and involves the participation of Christians of many denominations. 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