Q: What is the Walk to Emmaus?

A: “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.” During the 1960s and 1970s, the Episcopalians and Lutherans, along with several nondenominational 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.

- from What is Emmaus?
Copyright The Upper Room

Q: What should a participant (Pilgrim) expect over the weekend?

A: The Walk to Emmaus is an ecumenical program that invites and involves Christians of many different denominations. Participants are presented with 15 talks over the course of three days.  These talks are given by either a Lay Person or a member of the Clergy.  After each talk participants are given time for reflection and group discussion. Additional activities are also planned for reflection and fellowship.

The Walk to Emmaus is a tightly designed event that is conducted with discipline according to the Upper Room manual.  This ensures a proven format that is consistent from weekend to weekend wherever Emmaus is offered.

The Walk typically begins on a Thursday evening and ends on a Sunday evening. Men and women attend separate weekends. Husbands and wives are strongly encouraged to attend the same set of Walks. The Walk to Emmaus is administered through the Upper Room ministry unit of the United Methodist Church.  However, the Walk experience is open to participants of all denominations.

Q: What does a participant (pilgrim) need to bring when attending a walk?

A: What to bring on the weekend:

  • Bible
  • Flashlight
  • Umbrella
  • Jacket or sweater
  • Comfortable Clothes
  • Towel
  • Washcloth
  • Toiletries
  • Medication, if needed
  • Any special food that you may need (Please let your sponsor know about any dietary concerns you may have)

Q: Why do I need a sponsor for the Emmaus Walk?

A: Each person attending the Walk to Emmaus must have a sponsor who has already attended the Walk. Your sponsor will assist you with the application, make sure you have what you need for the weekend, assist you in getting to and from the campground, and make a commitment to assist with any needs that you may have during the weekend, so that you are free to fully experience the Walk.

If you are interested in going on the Walk to Emmaus, but do not have a sponsor, please notify us through the "Contact Us" link.   We would be happy to assist you with any questions you may have as well as help you find a sponsor in your local area.  

Q: Why do men and women have separate Walk to Emmaus weekends?

A: The Emmaus experience is designed for individuals to focus on their personal walk with Christ. It is a weekend where distractions are removed to create an environment that allows a person to more fully listen to what God is revealing to them. Things like newspapers, clocks, phones, pagers, televisions, radios, and yes, even the opposite sex, are all removed so that a person can devote their full attention to the Walk experience.

The Walk is not a ministry for couples to reconnect with each other.  Its purpose is to develop strong Christian leaders. Couples are encouraged to attend the same set of weekends because they can then share their experiences with one another. Most often the Walk experience itself strengthens a couples relationship with each other and with Christ.

Q: What is a Gathering?

A: A Gathering is made up of individuals in a local area who have attended the Walk.  A Gathering is a subset of the larger Emmaus community. They meet as a small group for fellowship, singing, Communion, prayer, and encouragement. They also participate in supporting future Emmaus Walks by sponsoring pilgrims, serving on a Walk team, and prayer.

Q: What happens after an Emmaus weekend:

A: You are invited to have a closer walk with Christ for the rest of your life. Where the retreat is 3 days of your life – the days following your walk are referred to as your 4th Days.  Those who attend a Walk to Emmaus are encouraged to:

  • Form or join an accountability/reunion group with 2+ people to meet regularly to walk together as you face the challenges and blessings of a life lived in grace.  The reunion groups in Wisconsin can be found here.
  • Attend local gatherings and events sponsored by the community.
  • Expand your own spiritual lives through worship, study and active participation at your local church.
  • Become more active disciples of Christ in service to the world.
  • Participate in the many opportunities to serve on a future Walk to Emmaus.