As many of you know, the Upper Room’s community guidelines require us to have at least 12 women and 12 men confirmed for attendance 90 days before a walk is to take place. As of the deadline, we had 7 and 3 – well below the needed number. We’re also dealing with very low community participation, and are not confident we can fill the teams in time to begin the training, or have the people working behind the scenes to be able to give the pilgrims the experience they deserve. We simply can’t have a walk without the help of the community, so we’re going to have to hold off on walks 50 and 51 until we get more people who will work to help make this event happen. It’s heartbreaking to have to pause again, but we need to work on our organization as a whole before we can get back on track.
I want to dispel a rumor I’ve heard repeated several times during the last week. FSE IS NOT DISBANDING. We are still a very vibrant and active community made up of over 1200 walk participants who have shared in the encounter with Christ through this worldwide movement. We have the full support of the Upper Room, and our sister communities around the globe. We still have monthly gatherings. We still have a board and the resources that go with it. We still have a lot of people who are passionate and excited about the Walk to Emmaus. FSE will continue each month, and we invite everyone reading this to find your fellow community members – those you sat with at a table, those you sponsored, or were sponsored by – and invite them to rejoin us at gatherings. Matthew 18:12 says, “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?”
For now, we’re going to suspend putting on walks, and change our focus to re-engaging the community through gatherings, with an aim to bringing back the walks. The people on the board have been working above and beyond what has been expected of them to keep this community going. In some cases, they have done the work that would normally be done by an entire committee when there wasn’t anyone there to help them. Other people have taken on multiple tasks to cover for the vacancies we have on the board and in our community. We’re also going to be reaching out to churches and pastors to get new people involved and sponsored for walks. With your help, a future iteration of the board will be able to announce new dates for walks 50 and 51. I have heard too many stories from people who experienced a life changing encounter with Christ on their walks to believe that Emmaus is no longer relevant. It will take time, but I am confident these walks will still happen.
“And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.” – Matthew 18:13
FSE Community Lay Director