The Emmaus Movement has its ancestry in the Roman Catholic Cursillo (coor-see-yo). The early Cursillos were five to seven days long and were held during special occasions, but gradually they were shortened to three to four days. Leadership was strong laity, of militant independence almost to the point of being anti-clerical. In time, these Cursillos evolved into Cursillo de Christiandad -- short courses in Christianity. A National Secretariat was formed in 1963 and received Papal approval. It grew into a shared clerical and lay directed movement, which essentially it is today.
In 1967, Danny Morris, Director of Developing Ministries for The Upper Room, participated in a Luthern Cursillo in Florida and recognized the need for Cursillo to be offered ecumenically. In 1977, Maxie Dunnam, then World Editor of The Upper Room, participated in a Cursillo weekend and, together with Danny Morris, began to take steps towards including Cursillo as an Upper Room program. The Upper Room's first two model weekends were held in Peoria, IL in 1977. They involved the leadership of the Reverend Robert Wood, who then came to the staff of The Upper Room to launch the new Upper Room Cursillo Movement.
In 1981, by mutual agreement with the National Secretariat of the Roman Catholic Cursillo who held copyrights to the Cursillo program, The Upper Room Cursillo became The Upper Room Walk to Emmaus. The primary issue involved in this action was The Upper Room's commitment to being ecumenical. The National Cursillo Secretariat had established a policy that each denomination's expression of Cursillo must be limited to sponsorship of persons of their own denomination. An agreement was struck for The Upper Room to develop a new program based on Cursillo, but with distinctive leadership resources. Further, The Upper Room agreed not to use the traditional Cursillo language carried over from its Spanish origins. The Upper Room then developed the Walk to Emmaus design; talk outlines, and leadership manuals for use by an ecumenical, largely protestant audience.
Bob Wood served as the National Spiritual Director until September 1985. The Rev. Stephen Bryant succeeded him in January 1986. The Walk to Emmaus is not only active throughout the United States, but also continues to grow in Australia, Brazil, and Mexico. A version of Emmaus was developed for high school youth, under the title of Chrysalis. And a version of Emmaus was developed for prisons, under the title of Kairos.
Because of the desire to have a more local community in which to serve, "Heart of the Ozarks" was formed in the spring of 1994 by a group of local people that had taken their Walk to Emmaus with the "Noah's of Ark" Community in October of 1985. In the spring of 1996, members of the "Heart of the Ozarks" Emmaus community in southwest Missouri formed the "Show Me The Way" community.
The Emmaus movement has and will continue to spread to all four corners of the earth,
to everyplace there are people who want to love and serve the Lord.
Men's Walk #74
Women's Walk #75
Baptist Hill Camp
Mt. Vernon, MO
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