When he was at table with them, he took the bread, and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’
Emmaus Groups are small groups of six to 10 parishioners who meet weekly for 90 minutes for the purpose of tending to their spiritual lives and growing in Christian community. The groups are centers of prayer, hospitality, and welcome – small church communities within the larger parish church. Each group has one or two leaders who have received training in facilitating small groups, and the core of the gatherings is attentiveness to the spiritual growth of participants and the experience of authentic community. The groups meet for 10-week “covenant periods,” one each in the fall, winter, and spring. Participants usually join a group at the beginning of a covenant period, and many will continue with the same group indefinitely.
The name “Emmaus” comes from the well-known story from the Gospel according to Luke (24:13-32) about the disciples who encountered the resurrected Jesus on the road to Emmaus. In that story, the disciples have a deep, spiritual conversation with each other and with Jesus as they travel together, but it is only when they reach their destination and break bread together that they recognize Jesus. So also for us, we are always traveling with each other and with Christ (often seemingly hidden or disguised), and sometimes it is necessary to stop and join in attentive hospitality with each other, in order for our eyes to be opened and for the events of our lives to fall in place.
Emmaus groups are built on four pillars:
- Spiritual Reflection
- Mutual Care and Support
You can read more about the four pillars here.
Covenant Periods, 2016-17
Fall: week of September 26 through week of November 28, 2016
Winter: week of January 9 through week of March 13, 2017
Spring: week of March 27 through week of May 29, 2017
How to join a group
To join a group, contact any member of the clergy at St. Stephen’s, or call the parish office, 804.288.2867.