I was visiting at dinner a while back with a good pastor friend of mine, Cathy, who has been very active in Emmaus. I was pondering out loud to her how I might go about getting people from my church involved in Walk to Emmaus. I couldn’t quite put into words for them why they should bother…why devote 3 days and some cash to going on this “retreat”? Like you probably, I am a member of a fine church that has plenty of bible studies, men’s/women’s ministries, small groups, etc. But for some reason, I still have had this very strong feeling that Walk to Emmaus could really enrich the spiritual life of folks at my church.
Cathy quizzed me a bit on this, getting me to explore what it is about Emmaus that the church needed. Well, I love the time apart…the cloistered environment where you can focus on priorities, learn more about God’s Grace, and spiritual disciplines. But what really did it for me was the Love.
We’ve learned about God’s Grace.. and that God loves us enough to sacrifice His son for us….and this sounds great. But, inwardly, many of us continue to struggle with just how unworthy we all are of God’s love.
On Walk to Emmaus, I experienced (rather than heard about) His Grace. People I didn’t know (and perhaps would never know) poured out their love on me… over, and over, and over again. By the time Candlelight was over and the “angels” had left the building I was overwhelmed by the enormity of it. There was a revelation in it for me. I knew this was just a bit (maybe just a “taste”) of God’s unmerited love; His Grace. This agape love…this unconditional and unearned love that I’d heard God offered…was real! And it washed over me emotionally…Jesus didn’t just give himself up on the cross for mankind… he did it for me.
In the Luke passage of the Road to Emmaus, Jesus was revealed to the two pilgrims in a new and personal way…as he was to me on Walk #83. If there is someone God is tugging on you to sponsor, please pray about it. Consider offering them this beautiful means of experiencing God’s Love and Grace… and having Jesus revealed to them anew.
As you know, Walk to Emmaus is a “once in a lifetime” experience. But, if you would benefit from another taste of this spiritual renewal yourself (and who wouldn’t??), please seriously consider participating in Day Four Restore (see separate article). This is gonna be awesome!
DEC Walk #83, 1997, Table of John
DEC Music & Weekend Events
From a Community Spiritual Director
I had no idea that Jesus loved me so much until I went on Chrysalis when I was 16 years old.
I was highly reluctant to attend the weekend as I was running away from God (and anything church related) as fast as my legs could carry me. But, I went because my mom was tired of my attitude and she thought this “retreat” might help me put things into proper perspective. What teenager likes to admit that their mom was right about anything? But, she was more right than she ever knew.
I attended Chrysalis surrounded by icy walls I had built through skepticism, self hatred, and rebellion. But, in the course of those three days, slowly the barriers began to melt under the fiery heat of the grace of God. The grace of God came through: hearing teenagers talk about how God had transformed their lives, reading letters from family members and friends, and seeing the blazing glory of Jesus revealed through candles that pierced the darkness of the night and the despair of my heart. I thought Christianity was just a show, but these Jesus followers showed me that the love of God was real. In the words of author Brennan Manning, on my Chrysalis weekend, I got ambushed by the love God… and my life has never been the same. I have been ruined for the ordinary.
So, after my Chrysalis weekend, I caught the Emmaus “bug” and served weekend after weekend in behind the scenes roles as well as giving multiple talks as a youth table leader. I was honored to serve as the youth lay director of a Young Adult Chrysalis in college. Working and serving in the Emmaus community helped me discern my own call to ministry. I was so blessed to be able to be a part of the team that planted the Walk to Emmaus community in the nation of Estonia. It is no exaggeration for me to say that I would not be the person I am today without the Walk to Emmaus and Chrysalis community.
And then it happened, I began a slow drift away from the Walk to Emmaus community. To be clear, the drift was neither intentional nor malicious. It just happened through life circumstances as I navigated through graduate school, early years of marriage, raising young children, and ministry as a pastor in a church. And then about five years ago, I was invited to serve as an assistant spiritual director on a Dallas Emmaus Community Women’s Walk to Emmaus team and I said yes.
And on that weekend, I saw once again how God’s grace transforms lives. The women on that weekend were floored by the love of God through Jesus Christ… and so was I. The love of Jesus is real. And even after all these years, I rediscovered that Jesus still works through the Walk to Emmaus.
And so, if you have drifted away from the Emmaus community through the circumstances of your life, let me gently remind you of what I have joyfully rediscovered. Jesus loves you more than you know and Jesus still works through the Walk to Emmaus.
If that rediscovery hits you with any kind force, let me suggest the Holy Spirit might be prompting you to sponsor a pilgrim… or be on the 4th Day team… or serve on a weekend. If so, please listen to that call. I am praying that you do.
However, I can serve as one of the Community Spiritual Directors, please let me know.
If you are reading this, I hope you are having a fantastic Fourth Day.
The Walk to Emmaus Movement is about creating leaders for our local churches. The three-day event is educational and inspiring as we learn about God’s grace and how we work for God’s plan in the community faith. Our families, our communities, our church depend on us to be the hands and feet of God to help make disciples and to build up God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
But the work never ends. It’s tiring and we sometimes get weary of the work. There are times we run into resistance that is discouraging, deflating and we wonder if it is worth the effort.
I’m here to tell you, that it is ALWAYS worth it.
But everything has its season. Some seasons, we are outwardly focused, serving others and putting God’s love out into the community. And other seasons, we are inwardly focused, spending time in prayer, meditation and study, refilling our souls for the upcoming season of outward focus.
We’ve had a few difficult years in the Dallas Emmaus Community. Walks have been postponed due to the pandemic and lack of pilgrims. Walks have been cancelled outright. It’s been discouraging and we’ve got to find a way to revitalize the community.
Let me tell you about the Day Four Restore events.
Day Four Restore is a one-day retreat model designed to refresh the spirit and renew the commitment of those who have attended any Fourth Day movement event. The one-day event is open to those who have previously been on a Walk to Emmaus or Chrysalis event. The event includes two talks, one by a Clergy, and one by a Lay person. There are table talks and other events, along with a brief communion service.
The Dallas Emmaus Community will be holding several of these events throughout the next several months. We hope to get the community energized and engaged again. Look here in the Koinonia Newsletter for information about these Day Four Restore events. I hope and pray to see you all there.
Community Lay Director
Walk #169, June 2003
Table of John
In the Community
One of the things we want to highlight in the coming months is how members of the Emmaus Community are making a difference in their churches. Please feel free to submit stories with pictures of ways in which alumni of the Walk to Emmaus Event are making a difference in their local churches.
New 4th Day Takes on Multiple Ministries
Why do we walk? We walk to strengthen the local church. Below is a great example!
Specifically, “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.’”
Preston Spigener was a pilgrim on the Dallas Emmaus Community Walk #279 at Sabine Creek Ranch in September 2021. Before attending the Walk to Emmaus, Preston was practicing and exploring his faith at First United Methodist Church Plano. Encouraged by many Emmaus 4th Day, Preston was sponsored to attend a Walk to Emmaus experience.
In his own words, “The amount of God's love I felt during my Emmaus walk was a rare and needed experience. The weekend is an opportunity to prepare fertile soil so God's love can grow in you and become an outward expression to others. The bonds made through God's love with new friends is a glimpse of the possibilities we have in community with each other and has allowed me the opportunity to recenter myself so I can start to better serve His purpose in this world.”
On his 4th day, Preston returned to church with a servant's heart. Today, he continues teaching his Sunday class and is chair of the landscaping and lighting crew. He participated in a state-wide Texas Methodist Foundation C3 “Courageous Congregations Collaborative” initiative. There he travelled to Houston and Galveston with members of other Texas congregations, touring many churches to see the differences in style of worship to gain inspiration for potential new ideas to enhance the local church.
Preston now also serves in “Side-by-Side” which is a one-on-one grief and listening care ministry and will also be co-facilitating Disciple I Bible study, a 34-week deep dive into the Bible.
DEC Board Member
Houston West Men’s Walk #57
Oct 2010, Kaiserhoff Retreat Center
Table of John
Preston Spigener, Dallas Walk #279, Sept 2021, (right) and Joel Allard, Houston West Walk #57, Oct 2010 (left) will co-facilitate Disciple I Bible study at Plano First United Methodist Church in Fall of 2022.
Woman's Walk Postponed
Tee Women's Walk originally scheduled for November 3-6, 2022 at Sabine Creek Ranch has been rescheduled for:
February 23-26, 2023
Catholic Conference and Formation Center
Next time you are on Facebook, search for the Dallas Emmaus Community, then select the "Like" button to be updated on the latest news and events including Candlelights, Gatherings, prayer requests and more. "Share" or "Suggest" the page to your Emmaus friends so they can stay easily connected to the Dallas Emmaus Community too.
The Dallas Emmaus Community has fully converted to Ministry Manager as our database for all community members' information. If you have not already done so please take a moment to log in to verify or possibly update your information. This database is used for team selection so it's important your information is up to date!
Did you know that you can attend any Tuesday Follow-up and find a Reunion Group?
Walk Follow-ups happen on the Tuesday following every walk and include both sharing time for the recent pilgrims and a time for them to try to form Reunion Groups. If you are in need of a Reunion group, this would be a great place to start. If you're interested in attending a Follow-up meeting, send an email to the Lay Director or Head TA of the walk for the meeting location. Contact information can be found on the Dallas Emmaus website atDallasEmmaus.org
Looking for an opportunity to serve in a powerful ministry? Visit Kairos of Texas online to find out about the units and areas of ministries near you.
Kairos is a prison ministry whose success is dependent on the community of faith support in providing agape such as prayer chain signatures, cookies, and financial donations. If you are interested in knowing more about how you can participate, or to find out how to attend a Kairos closing, email the editors for information.
"... whatever you did for the least of my brothers, you did for me."
~ Matthew 24:40