Walk to Emmaus celebrates 25 years
1/15/2003 News media contact: Linda Green · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn
Tenn. (UMNS) - The Walk to Emmaus, an international movement for
spiritual renewal and leadership development for service through the
church, celebrates its 25th anniversary this summer.
24-27 anniversary observance will offer the Emmaus participants, called
"pilgrims," an opportunity to gather for spiritual renewal, church
leadership training, learning about God's work through the program and
exchanging faith stories.
"We look forward to a festive
fellowship of people from around the world who have participated in the
Emmaus movement," said the Rev. Stephen Bryant, editor and publisher of
Upper Room Ministries, which launched the program in 1978. "Worship,
music and dynamic presentations will resound as we celebrate the many
colors of God's grace as they shine through the Walk to Emmaus."
program, which gets its name from Luke 24:13-35, develops leaders for
the church, encourages them to live as Christian disciples and enhances
the partnership between clergy and laity. The Upper Room, a ministry
unit of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, sponsors it.
Although connected to the United Methodist Church, the program is
The Walk to Emmaus has transformed the lives of more
than 500,000 Christians in 27 countries, Bryant said. It "has become a
contagious spiritual renewal movement" in which participants return to
their churches "bearing witness to the risen Christ with burning faith,
expanded spiritual awareness and a deeper commitment to serve Christ
through missions," he said.
More than 80 workshops support the
theme, "Making a World of Difference," and will help participants
discover how grace is real in their lives. The workshops focus on
leadership, diversity and spiritual growth and renewal.
The silver anniversary event will be at the Nashville (Tenn.) Convention Center.
speakers will include the Rev. Tony Campolo, commentator and author;
Larnelle Harris, a recording artist and winner of five Grammys and 11
Dove Awards; Michael Hingson, who escaped the attack on the World Trade
Center with the help of his guide dog; the Rev. Isron Tlholwe and the
Rev. Christopher Harrison, key leaders in the development of Emmaus in
Southern Africa; and the Rev. Eradio Valverde Jr., who helped establish
the Emmaus Walks in Spanish-speaking areas, including Puerto Rico and
the United Methodist Church's Rio Grande Annual Conference.
will include Mickey Griffin, director of programming for Kairos Horizon
Communities Corp., who developed a program for the children of inmates
that resulted in family reunifications and restorations; the Rev. Robert
Pierson, whose Tulsa, Okla., church has experienced "extraordinary
growth" attributed to strong lay involvement; and Bishop Graciello
Alverez, member of the team who brought Emmaus into Mexico and Cuba, and
who continues to serve as an Emmaus spiritual director and local church
Special workshop tracks designed for personal retreat
will also be available for those seeking a time to enhance their prayer
life, to practice spiritual discernment, to become more aware of God's
grace and to exercise the disciplines of piety, study and Christian
The four-day celebration will offer opportunities for
praise and worship, music and singing, and fellowship with Emmaus
pilgrims from around the world. Pilgrims are encouraged to bring their
community banners and stands for a parade that opens the silver
For registration information, go to
www.upperroom.org/emmaus/25th. Early bird discounts, group rates and
youth rates are available. For hotel accommodations, call (800) 657-6910
or visit the Web site. Registration is also available for a Vacation
Bible school-like program for children 12 and younger.
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