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The Walk to Emmaus

Updated on March 11, 2015

A Three Day Spiritual Weeked - A Fourth Days Community

The Walk to Emmaus began many years ago in Illinois. It's just one of many Fourth Day movements all over the world. Tres Dias, Via De Christo, Kairos, Chrysalis and Journey are just a few similar weekend experiences available.

The Walk to Emmaus was created to empower the laity* of the church to be leaders and partner with clergy to strengthen the church. The weekend itself is a take off of the Cursillo movement which literally means "a short course in Christianity."

Following a three day retreat style weekend, attendees are part of what is known as an Emmaus Community. Emmaus communities are not churches. In fact they encourage their members to become actively involved in their home church and assist the clergy in making the church a strong and vital part of their neighborhood.

Keep reading to get all the details!

*The term LAITY refers to everyone who attends church who are not pastors, ministers, priests or other clergy


What happens on a Walk To Emmaus

First of all, you DON'T Walk!

That's the first question everyone asks. How far do I have to walk?

Not to worry. It's a spiritual walk. Even if you have bad knees you'll be able to make this journey.

If you attend a Walk to Emmaus weekend, you can expect to have quiet times in the chapel every day, 15 talks to help you understand your faith a bit better and plenty of serious times to allow you to focus growing in your walk with Christ. But for all the quiet, serious and meditative moments, you'll find nearly as much time for laughter and fun. From making new friends to table discussions where you can voice your opinion and hear what others think, just about everyone will tell you it's a fun and Spirit filled weekend. You will sing and eat, laugh and cry and if you're like most, you'll find your life touched and changed.

The Emmaus Weekend is led by a team of 12-30, which includes 2-5 clergy, and is served by another team who are there to take care of everything you'll need for the weekend. They have only one goal, to help you know Jesus Christ better regardless of the depth of your faith when you came.

Weekends are gender specific, and Emmaus Walks are for adults. Emmaus' counterpart, Chrysalis, is for High School aged teens while the "Journey" is geared for college aged young adults. All three types of weekends follow a similar pattern offering 10 talks given by lay people and 5 clergy led.

My home community is Ohio Valley Emmaus. It's a rather rural community and is geographically huge. We have members from New Cumberland, WV to Marietta, OH up the Muskingum River to Newcomerstown, back across to the Northern WV panhandle and every place in between. We are bordered by the Three Rivers Community (centered around Pittsburgh), Southern Ohio Emmaus (centered around Parkersburg, WV), New-Ark Community (centered around Newark, Ohio) and Emmauel Emmaus (centered around Beach City, Ohio).

I have so many great friends that I wouldn't have found any other way except through the Ohio Valley Emmaus Community. I invite you to explore the links below and get to know more about the Walk to Emmaus and how it can make a difference in your life.

Many Graphics on this page courtesy of

Why is Emmaus called a 4th Day Community?

Emmaus (and other movements like it) are called fourth day communities because even though the focus is on the 72 hour spiritual journey, its real purpose is the fourth day . . . all the days following those three days. Emmaus members are expected to put everything they learn into action in their fourth days. They are encouraged to participate in fourth day activities like gatherings and reunion/share groups. Gatherings are held in every community, generally once a month. Gatherings consist of a shared meal and a time of worship and sharing. Reunion/share groups offer accountability to members so that they can continue to grow in their walk with Christ.

If you have other questions, check out

the Upper Room Emmaus page

Coming Down from the Mountain: Returning to Your Congregation (Emmaus Library)
Coming Down from the Mountain: Returning to Your Congregation (Emmaus Library)

If you've already been on an Emmaus walk, this booklet from the Upper Room (Emmaus' official offices) might be helpful


The Symbols of Emmaus

You'll find a lot of symbols as a part of the Emmaus Movement. One of the main ones is the rainbow. Emmaus is an outgrowth of Cursillo. The story behind this movement says that it began in Spain when college students travelled far for a week long Cursillo (short course in Christianity). On the way home their bus broke down near a barnyard. While waiitng for it to be repaired they wrote a song. It's called "All the Colors" (better known as DeColores) and the symbol of a rainbow for Emmaus was born.

Another symbol of Emmaus is the rooster. Because the song was written at a barnyard, one of the more than 100 verses is about a Rooster, Chicken and peeps.

Yes, this song has had a lot of influence in the Emmaus Movement. And in case you are wondering, DeColores is the song that your kids have learned on Barney. Perhaps you thought that's where the song originated, but now you know the whole story.

If you have more questions about Emmaus, I would love to be able to answer them for you. If you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, I highly recommend this spiritual weekend. If you've never met my Savior, I encourage you to find a Christ centered church near you or visit this webpage to find out more!

What My Emmaus Weekend Meant to Me

That's a question we answer following our weekend. It's good to reflect. The other question is "What am I going to do with this?"

But I'll start with this one . . . "What did my Emmaus Weekend mean to me?"

I went into my three day weekend looking forward to being there. Not everyone feels that way. When you talk to people about their Emmaus experience, you'll find as many who came on Thursday evening ready to go home as you find folks, like me, who are excited about the opportunity. However, of the 1600 or so people who've been on an Emmaus Weekend in our community, I've only met a handful who came away from the experience without a love for the weekend and the community.

I describe my weekend in just a few simple words. I felt as though I spent the weekend sitting on the lap of Jesus. The love that was shown was amazing, more than I could even imagine. The peace that I felt as well as the way that the Holy Spirit moved was tremendous. I wish I could say more, but quite frankly, the weekend was really more amazing than human words can describe.

On top of all that, I've made some of the most valuable friendships of my life through the Emmaus community. Here I find fellowship with true believers in Jesus Christ. These are people who want to do more than just provide lip service to our Savior. It's so refreshing to go to a gathering and sing praises. The entire crowd actually sings! People don't worry about how good or bad they sound. These folks simply love to praise God!

I encourage you to find a community close to you. Just visit a gathering. Meet a few folks and ask some people that one question, "What did your Emmaus Weekend mean to you?" You'll get a different answer for each person you ask, but you'll also find that every one has a story. And they'll love to share it with you!

You can learn more about my home community by visiting

What's Your Experience with Emmaus?

Were you familiar with the Emmaus Community prior to visiting this page?

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Your chance to share - Have you heard of Emmaus before?

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    • iwrite100 profile image

      Maribel Forayo 4 years ago from Philippines

      I wish I could make that walk soon. Spiritually inspiring lens.

    • profile image

      trich-wesley 5 years ago

      I did my walk (#66) in March of this year and must say that it was a spiritual awakening for me. I also just finished working walk (#67) and I felt as if it was my walk all over again with an extra dose of spiritual renewal. My goal is to work a walk a year.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I did my Walk to Emmaus in 1998 in the Great Smoky Mountain Council in Knoxville, TN. Walk #32. I maintain a Christian Blog: A Blog of a Courageous Father (

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have always liked Emmaus. I always remember or read this when I go for my retreat. How often do we miss the ones with us in our daily walks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      My name is L.D. Migneault. I attended the Georgia woodlands walk to Emmaus #16. I sat at the table of Mathew. Its my 4th day. If you want to understand and feel God In a deeper light I would not walk but run to it as fast as can. Trust me you will be rewarded and loved like you have never experience before. God Bless Penguin

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 8 years ago

      I have heard of this before. Great lens--5*s! Welcome to the group All Things Christian! FREE Samples and Freebies

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I attended the Ohio valley Emmaus walk in March. I am recently divorced and I wanted to focus more closely on my walk with my Lord and Savior. The walk changed my life so much and made me realize that I had hurt that was deeper than I had believed. I left my burdens at the foot of the cross at Emmaus and came home a stronger Christian than when I left. I now focus my life on my Christian walk and know that no matter what situations I have in my life, God will see me through. If God brought it to us He will see us through it.