Greater Waco Emmaus Group

Sponsoring Community

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Quick link to topics on this page: Community Advising Board Member, Walk Coordination, Sponsorís Worship Service, Candlelight Service, Closing Worship Service, Prayer Chapel, ORDER OF SERVICE FOR CANDLELIGHT, Clergy Qualifications

Central Texas Conference

Walk to Emmaus

Sponsoring Community


Revised January 17, 2004


I. Community Advising Board Member (CABM)

A member of the Board is assigned to each Sponsoring Community to provide support, assistance, and guidance in accomplishing the responsibilities of the Community for each Walk. This person is identified as the Community Advising Board Member (CABM). The CABM will contact the Lay Leader of the Community well in advance of the Walk to coordinate this support. The CABM will also be present at the Candlelight Service to conduct the announcements and information portion of the Candlelight Service.

II. Community Ė Walk Coordination

The Sponsoring Community Lay Director should contact the Walk Lay Director before plans and personnel selections for the various services begin. In many cases the Walk Lay Director may desire that certain persons (spouses, Reunion Group members, etc.) who may not be members of the Sponsoring Community participate as leaders, liturgists, clergy, or musicians at some or all of the services. The Sponsoring Community should make every effort to respond to those desires by including the people in the positions the Walk Lay Director requests.

II. Sponsorís Worship Service

The Sponsorís Worship Service is a special part of the Emmaus Model. Here, we start the Walk bathed in prayer by the Sponsors. The spirit of the evening is one of gratefulness for the Sponsorís work to "go make disciples," and of praise to God for what the Holy Spirit will do in the hearts of the Pilgrims.

The Walk Team is responsible for setting up the chapel for the service. They will have the large cross in place and the pilgrim crosses and lanyards laid out, and they will provide a list of the Pilgrimís names. They will also have the communion elements in place. The Sponsoring Community is not responsible for any of the Sponsorís Worship Service setup or cleanup.

The Sponsoring Community is responsible for providing the Lay Leader for the evening and the Spiritual Leader for Communion. The Spiritual Leader must meet the qualifications for a Spiritual Leader as established by the Upper Room for the Walk to Emmaus (see attached Walk to Emmaus Clergy Qualifications).

The Lay Leader is the "guiding host" for the Sponsorís Worship Service. He/she should remember that there will probably be first-time Sponsors in the group and should explain everything that will be done. The Lay Leader will do the following:

Call the group to Worship when the Chapel Servants determine that all Sponsors are present.

Welcome the Sponsors, and explain how wonderful it is that the Sponsors are "going and making disciples" as Christ asked us to do. Express appreciation for the sacrifices that the Sponsors are making for their Pilgrims, and for their willingness to put themselves and their comfort aside just to help their friend/loved one come closer to Christ.

Explain that each Pilgrimís name will be called and that the Sponsor should come forward and receive the Pilgrimís cross from the Chapel Servant. The Sponsor should then hang the Pilgrimís cross on the large cross as directed by the Chapel Servant. If there are Pilgrim Candles, the Sponsor will light the candle at the direction of the Chapel Servant. Also explain that the community should be in prayer for each Pilgrim as the Sponsor is hanging the cross, and that all will respond as the cross is hung with "This is our prayer."

When all the crosses are hung, invite the community to participate in the Sponsorís Worship Service Offering and direct the assistants to collect it.

[Please note that it is very important to take an offering at this special service. Be prepared (make sure there are offering plates), and have whoever you ask to collect the offering give the plates and money to the Chapel Servants.] [Music is appropriate during the offering and during communion in the Communion Service using short, spiritual songs such as "Sanctuary" and "Surely the Presence."]

When the offering has been collected, invite the community to join in the Communion Service, using the Great Thanksgiving beginning on page 30 of the Purple Worship Book. Normally, the Lay Leader will lead the Communion Service, and will stop after the sentence "By dying, He freed usÖ." in the middle of page 31. The Spiritual Leader will normally pick up with the next sentence "On the nightÖ" and will complete the Communion Service including the Prayer After Receiving and the Benediction.

III. Candlelight Service

The Candlelight Service is a focal point for the Emmaus Community. It is a time for everyone to focus all their excitement on their love for Jesus! The Sponsoring Community is the loving host for the community in this great love expression.

The Walk Team is responsible for the physical setup of the Candlelight Service including the altar and the communion elements. The Team will also provide a list of the Pilgrimsí names to be used in the Worship Service.

The Sponsoring Community is responsible for providing the music leader and music personnel for the Candlelight Service. We encourage other musicians to show up, and they are to be welcomed to the music group for the night. The music leader should make every effort to avoid using special music that will prevent all musicians from participating in the selected music. The music leader should also insure that visual materials for leading the music are provided. This can be song books or overhead projection. Song books will be provided by the Walk Team unless the music leader informs them the books are not necessary. The music leader should remember that everyone leaves the Candlelight Service area after the Pilgrims arrive and the Pilgrims stay there for the meditation period. Any equipment used must be removed between the conclusion of the Community portion of the Service and the entry of the Pilgrims or it cannot be removed until after all Pilgrims leave the area to go to the Agape Feast.

The Music Leader is responsible for the community music that will start at 7:30 p.m. and will continue until approximately 8:00 p.m. or when the Sponsoring Communityís Lay Leader takes over. The Music Leader is also responsible for the following:

Hymn of Praise

Act of Praise

Music during Communion

"Jesus, Jesus" as the Pilgrims arrive

The Sponsoring Community is responsible for leading the eveningís Worship Service which includes providing the following. [If possible, these assistants should come from the sponsoring Community except for persons included in response to Walk Lay Director requests.]

Ushers to collect and count the offering (usually 4 persons)

[The CABM will supervise the count of the offering and take possession of the funds for the Board.]

Communion Assistants (usually a total of 8 persons, the Lay and Spiritual Leaders and six others)

The Lay Leader is typically the coordinator for the evening. The Spiritual Leader must meet the qualifications for a Spiritual Leader as established by the Upper Room for the Walk to Emmaus (see attached Walk to Emmaus Clergy Qualifications).

The Schedule and detailed responsibilities for the evening are contained in the attached SPONSORING COMMUNITY ORDER OF SERVICE FOR CANDLELIGHT.

IV. Closing Worship Service

The Walk ends when the Walk Spiritual Director presents the Team Cross to the Walk Lay Director. Then, as the first act of the Pilgrimís Fourth Days, they participate with their Community in Worship. The actual Worship Service is a Sponsoring Community conducted activity, and the Walk Lay and Spiritual Director are merely members, as are all in the room, of the Community. This means that the answering of the two questions and the gift of the cross are part of the Teamís Closing, and are not part of the Worship Service.

The Walk Team will handle the logistical setup of the Closing, including providing the communion elements.

The Sponsoring Community is responsible for providing a Lay Leader and a Spiritual Leader for the Worship Service that follows presentation of the Team Cross which concludes the Walk.

The Sponsoring Community is responsible for providing the music leader and music personnel for the Worship Service portion of the Closing. While the Team musicians are obviously available, it is desired that Community musicians be used to make the connection to the Community rather than to the Team. The music needs are for a song as the Pilgrims enter the service area from Commissioning, the Hymn of Praise and the Act of Praise in the Worship, and for music during communion.

Procedurally, the Walk Teamís Spiritual Director will conduct the answering of the two questions, and will present the Walk Lay Director with the Team Cross. Then they will leave the front of the room and sit down. At that time, the Sponsoring Community provided Lay Leader for the Worship Service will come to the altar area and say:

My sisters (brothers), your three day journey has ended, and now your Fourth Day begins. It is appropriate that as you begin your Fourth Day, you begin not as Walk #_______ members, but as Community members. You have people here who love you and who want to welcome you to the Community. We are going to take just a few moments to let you go to those who are here for you, to greet one another, and to join together into your Community. Please, greet each other in your Fourth Day as we prepare to worship."

At that time, the Pilgrims, Team, and Community will get up and begin to mingle with one another. There will be a lot of joy (noise). After a few minutes, the Lay Leader should ask everyone to please be seated. Once everyone is seated and quiet, the Lay Leader shall say:

"We are now in our Community, and our Fourth Day has begun. Let us start our Fourth Day in Worship and Praise to our loving and gracious God. Please turn to page 26 in your Worship book."

The Lay and Spiritual Leaders will conduct the Closing Worship service in accordance with the Purple Worship Book (starting at page 26). The complete liturgy shall be used except that there is NO Prayer Time and there is NO Offering. The Spiritual Leader is responsible for providing a devotional message not to exceed 5 minutes in length that should focus on Walking in the light of Christ back in the real world.

V. Prayer Chapel

All Walks will have an on-site Prayer Chapel. The Prayer Chapel will be set up by the team, and is open for anyone to use during the weekend. Many team members, especially members of the Servant Team, will make use of the Prayer Chapel during the Walk.

While there will be Team Members who serve as a Prayer Team to conduct around-the-clock prayers, all Community Members are encouraged to come throughout the weekend and use the on-site Prayer Chapel. Spouses and friends of the speakers are urged to come and be in prayer while the speaker is giving his/her talk. Community Members can come early and/or stay late before and/or after the Sponsor's Worship Service, Candlelight, and Closing. The Prayer Chapel is available for the Community to rally in prayer. As Community Leaders, you are urged to encourage others to come and hold up each Walk on wings of prayer.


7:00 p.m. Social Time

The Sponsoring Community provided Lay Leader should use this time to:

1. Locate Team members, get the Pilgrim list, determine number of scholarships needed, and find out when and where Closing will be.

2. Locate the other Service leaders (Spiritual Leader, Music Leader, Communion assistants & Ushers).

3. Locate the CABM and share information about Closing.

4. Build the evening on a foundation of prayer by praying with the Spiritual Leader and the CABM.

5. Review the order of worship with the Spiritual Leader to ensure that you are in agreement on who is doing what (such as who will do prayer time and read the list of Pilgrimís names).

6. Review the Altar area to make sure everything is ready:

Enough Communion Elements for Four Stations

Offering Plates

Check the Microphones


7:30 p.m. Community Singing


8:00 p.m. Community Worship Service

The Lay Leader should introduce him/herself, tell where he/she is from, and when and where he/she took his/her Pilgrim walk. The Lay Leader should introduce the Community Advising Board Member who will conduct the announcements and information portion of the Candlelight Service.

At the conclusion of the CABM portion of the Service, he/she will announce, "Let us go to God in an attitude of worship as we begin our service." The CABM will return the service to the Lay Leader and Spiritual Leader who will immediately start the Worship Service portion on page 26 of the Purple Worship Book.

Worship Service Notes Typically Done By

a. Greeting Lay Leader

b. Hymn of Praise Music Leader

c. Confession & Pardon Lay Leader

d. Act of Praise Music Leader

e. Prayer for Illumination Lay or Spiritual Leader

f. Sermon Spiritual Leader

g. Affirmation of Faith Lay Leader

h. Prayers for Others Lay or Spiritual Leader

We are going to pray tonight for the Pilgrims on this Walk. As each name is read, the Community will respond with "This is our prayer." Let us prayÖ.

i. Offering Lay Leader

Announce the number of Scholarships needed for this Walk.

[The ushers will give the offering to the CABM, who will supervise the counting of the money and will take possession of the funds for the Board.]

j. Great Thanksgiving Starts with Lay Leader, finished by Spiritual Leader

k. Lord's Prayer Spiritual Leader

l. Breaking Bread Spiritual Leader

m. Giving of Elements Spiritual and Lay Leader (and assistants)

n. Prayer after Receiving Spiritual Leader

o. Benediction Spiritual Leader


[After the conclusion of the worship service, look to the Team for an update on the arrival status of the Pilgrims. If they are not yet ready to come, this time can be filled with music. Candles are not lighted until the signal is given.]


9:30 Pilgrims arrive.


Walk to Emmaus

Clergy Qualifications


The team Spiritual Director for an Emmaus Weekend must be a clergy person in the eyes of the church (active or retired). He or she must be engaged in professional ministry, have the theological and pastoral education required for that role, and be authorized to administer Holy Communion in a setting (e.g., Emmaus) beyond the local church to which he or she is assigned.

In the United Methodist Church, this includes seminary trained, ordained elders who are in good standing with their annual conference. An ordained deacon or "local pastor" who has completed his or her course of study may only qualify as the team Spiritual Director if and when the presiding Bishop extends his or her appointment to include Emmaus. This is because the deacon's and "local pastor's" authority to preside over the administration of the sacrament of Holy Communion is limited to the local church to which they are appointed.

If, however, such permission is not granted, that person should not serve in the head Spiritual Director role. To have an assistant consecrate the elements in the place of the Spiritual Director of the weekend could lead to confusion on the part of the Pilgrims, or a sense that the Spiritual Director was not properly qualified to have that role for the weekend. It might also, unintentionally and unconsciously, lead the community to a less rigorous standard for clergy qualification than should be consistently applied. The Board is responsible to insure the quality of the weekends, and is therefore rightly concerned about how this situation communicates not only to the Pilgrims and community, but also sets the tone for future walks

Qualified Spiritual Directors from other recognized denominations must also be fully ordained clergy persons in good standing with their denominations. They must be engaged in the ministry of the Church, have completed theological and pastoral training required of clergy in their denomination, and he authorized to administer Holy Communion in the Emmaus setting. They must also be able to maintain mainline theological balance while being sensitive to the variety of perspectives in this interdenominational setting.

The assumption underlying the manual is that the Community Spiritual Director should meet the minimum qualifications of Walk Spiritual Directors, and therefore should be ordained and recognized by the larger community served by the Emmaus community as a competent spiritual leader.

There is no general requirement that he or she be a United Methodist. On occasion, however, it may be beneficial to consider utilizing a United Methodist in the position because of the association of the Upper Room Emmaus program with the United Methodist Church through the General Board of Discipleship. From time to time, issues may arise in the community about which the International Office should be consulted. These issues may involve theological issues and language which a clergy in the United Methodist tradition may have a greater ability to interpret to the Emmaus community due simply to the similarity of the Emmaus movement with that tradition.

Provided by the Upper Room Walk to Emmaus International Office - May, 2000

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Last modified: 09/14/12