1. LaTresa

    About 20 years ago, my aunt had been wanting me to go on WTE. I didn’t want to go, but she continued to try to persuade me, and I finally agreed. I left after the first night and the director was NOT happy. She was nice when she was trying to convince me to stay, but when she realized I was just going to walk until I came to a place with a phone, she became quite angry, but allowed my aunt to loan me her car to leave. I wanted out because I had an awful feeling about the whole thing. I recognized that they were using tactics that cults use to brainwash
    members…such as not being allowed to keep track of time, sleep deprivation, limited communication except during daytime activities, emotional manipulation various ways. It’s a cult, and I do my own thinking, so NOT for me.

  2. Jay Johansen

    Pure satanic hogwash…. 100% God’s work and walk. the negative comments are people that usually wake up EVERY day, looking for something to complain about.

  3. David

    I went on my Walk to Emmaus in the fall of 2002. I am sorry that so many here are expressing frustration as the weekend for me was an awakening to seeping my commitment to the Lord our God. It was a learning experience and a heart warming experience. I was with many like minded individuals from many different churches in my community. It can become clickish if it is not addressed, but going on my walk did not make anything special. And on my walk, they said, “your attending a walk doesn’t make you special”. I never heard the “it makes you special” comment as well. Each individual
    Is different and how you react to the retreat is more about you, than the retreat itself. The reunion groups is nothing more than many of the accountability groups that many churches have. God loves us and has freely given us his grace. What we do with it from there is up to us.

  4. Eve Wall

    I, too, was terrified by the experience. My dearest friend sponsored me and was so excited for me to go. It broke my heart for HER. I felt as though I was trapped and was unable to even scream. It was a nightmare.
    When my friend arrived to pick me up, I cannot even express to you how I felt other than I wanted to literally escape out of there as fast as I could. Although I had no transportation during my stay, had the doors not be locked and guarded by the workers at every single exit, I’d have probably run out of there screaming. I literally prayed to God the entire time that He would help me survive till I was picked up on Sunday. Felt like a 3 day anxiety attack. Bothered me for weeks thereafter as well.
    I must state that I am very comfortable with my commitment as a Christian as Christ is the very center of my soul.
    I am thankful the walk has been, and continues to be, so special and life-changing (for the better) for so many.
    I can only speak for myself when I state that is was not for me. I felt it to be very cult-like, terrifying and a great bit of it like an insincere “show.”
    I would NEVER encourage someone not to go; however, in good conscious, I could neither recommend it as well.
    The experience is different for each. This just happens to be my personal reflection.

  5. R Michael

    You are exactly right. As a non-denominational pastor, I was encouraged to attend the event by my friends who were members of the UMC and sponsors for WTE.

    What first raised a level of suspicion was the “secrecy” that seemed to be surrounding the event. Those who had previously attended seemed to be very vague in giving me any info about the event or what to expect. That, in itself, does not speak against the WTE. I can understand people not wanting to share because they want things to be a surprise and special. The problem, I believe, is what comes after

    I can honestly say that I had a good time at the event. I met wonderful people and enjoyed the fellowship. However, the early morning wake-ups that jolted you out of bed reminded me of a boot camp. But again, I can deal with that. Not being allowed to have a cell phone (is understandable for some things) but never got why I wasn’t allowed to know the time.

    Like I stated, its what comes after that’s the problem for me. First, I have witnessed people who seem to think that attending this event has put them into a special class or category of believer. This is not just a few people, but groups of people in various churches.

    Secondly, participants are encouraged to form small groups of WTE only attendees that operate outside of the church family. There’s also monthly WTE gatherings that can only be attended by this ‘special’ group of people. I believe that this is divisive, which is evidenced by some members leaving their home church to be part of WTE church communities.

    If you want WTE to make an impact in your church family, then do away with the the specialized groups. It should be used as a tool that helps people grow…..not grow apart.

  6. Rich

    *** Spoiler Alert ***

    There are three “surprises” that overzealous people make into “secrets” on Emmaus weekend – here they are :

    1) On Saturday morning, there is a prayer service people call “Dying Moments”, where participants are encouraged to give up something that is holding them back in their faith. This is done in conjunction with Communion.

    2) Saturday night there is a special Candlelight Worship service where the Community gathers, celebrates Communion, and serenade s the Participants with a worship song (“Jesus, Jesus”)
    3) on Sunday afternoon, participants receive handwritten letters from friends and loved ones encouraging them and expressing their Love for them.

    These “surprises” are what people get so wrapped up about. I generally don’t share these with people I sponsor (unless they want to know) because I don’t want to ruin the surprise for them. That said, if they are insistent (as one person was), I tell them.

    Emmaus has no secret “snake handling”, no “naked donkey rides “. It’s just one beggar trying to help another beggar find food.

    Hope that helps…

  7. Rich

    I’ve been involved with the Walk to Emmaus for 26 years. Like so many things, it is what people make of it. It is Ecumenical, so it tries not to focus on the traditions of any one denomination, but rather, on the love and grace of Jesus.

    There are 15 talks (delivered by both Lay persons and Clergy) – ranging from “Priority” to “Study” to “Piety” to “Action”. Included are 5 talks on aspects of God’s Grace.

    Participants are assigned to Tables where they discuss what they hear in each Talk, and share how they might apply the principles in their Christian Walk.

    A Spiritual Director oversees each Walk. Given the ecumenical nature of the weekend, the Director acts more like a non-denominational Army Chaplain, focusing on the areas of faith that Christians have in common vs. Differences. The point is to allow participants to explore their faith in their own personal way – their own tradition. Example, regarding baptism, we don’t debate the method (sprinkle, dunk , infant, believer), but rather we focus the outward expression of an inward condition… And our love and dedication to Jesus and biblical scripture.

    A key element of the weekend is NOT to make Emmaus a church, but rather, to go back to their home church, talk to their pastor, and see how they can best serve the local congregation.

    All that said, people sometimes miss the mark. There are no “secrets” at Emmaus… (Heck… If you want to know anything about it, I’ll tell you… Just let me know…); however, for some reason some participants walk away telling others, “I can’t tell you…. ” Which puts on an air of secrecy. But that’s not what the program says… That’s the people mistakenly doing it.

    I will tell you, the Walk to Emmaus is not for everyone. If someone is struggling emotionally, are fairly dogmatic or rigid in your traditions, or has an ax to grind against “the church”, Emmaus isn’t for you.

    If you ask your potential sponsor about it, and they say, “I can’t tell you about it,” they aren’t doing they job as a sponsor. Seek a different one. I tell people I’m sponsoring I’ll tell them whatever they want to know… Just ask. My job as Sponsor is to prepare and look out for you and your family throughout the weekend. After the weekend, if you want to come back and help out with Emmaus, great, but PLEASE don’t let that interfere with serving in your local church…

    Again, I think individuals sometimes become overzealous in their own experience and try to project their experience onto others. My experience is some folks walk away with a nice weekend in the country. Some have an emotional high, but the things they hear don’t take root. Some have a life -changing Event. Kind of like the parable of the farmer casting the seed.

    I hope that helps. Again, I’m glad to answer any questions…

  8. Dionne

    I finished my “walk” yesterday. It was the most uplifting, rewarding experience of my life.
    I would do it again TODAY!!!

  9. Diana Taylor Woods

    Katherine. Your words articulate what I have struggled to describe. I attended a walk which was a wonderful retreat experience but what came after caused me to distance myself from it. Church members disappeared in and out of Church escaping into Emmaus gatherings when they didnt like the pastor, was tired of responsibilities in the church etc. Eliteism and clichishness (sp) abounds

  10. John

    I can tell your from my experience when my wife attended a Walk in 2015 the organization has lots of flaws and big flaws at that. their emergency notification system was a joke. The group refused to accept any responsibility for their incompetence.

    My advice would be to stay as far away form that organization as possible

  11. Thomas

    I too have participated in the Walk to Emmaus, both as pilgrim and as a staff member and found it to be a wonderful experience. In fact one of the best experiences in my life for spiritual renewal and bringing me closer to others and maturing my relationship with Christ. I cannot imagine what negative consequences or feelings others may have had but am deeply sorry they came away feeling the way they did. I wish I could do it again for the first time but it isn’t possible

  12. Katherine Hart

    The Walk to Emmaus was a HUGE factor in the ‘split’ of our beloved church over a decade ago. While my spouse & I both attended a ‘walk’ and had an overall positive experience…it was what came AFTER that weekend. If the goal of WTE is to encourage Christians to become more involved in their ‘home church’…then the ‘community’ & reunion groups should be ended. I/we found that the NUMEROUS WTE activities & related WTE financial requests/expectations actually ‘pulled’ people AWAY from their home church(es), and the people that left/split from our flock….started their own church which is-to this day- HEAVILY involved in WTE. In other words, the WTE is ‘cult-like’ in its organizational structure. Furthermore…The Church(as defined in the Bible) is the ONLY Bride of Christ. The WTE is a highly camouflaged ‘other woman’… in other words, a form of spiritual adultery. What if your spouse came home telling of the FABULOUS time they had spent with another man(or woman)…& upon your objection…they stated…’we talked about you! and how wonderful YOU are!’ Involvement in WTE keeps the participants with one foot in The Bride’s house, and the other foot in the house of the ‘other woman’. WTE also plays heavily to the emotional side of us…but we are not meant to ‘live/stay on the mountain top’- (refer to Christ’s Transfiguration). WTE appears to be a friendly, well intentioned girlfriend….but Christ has only ONE Bride….The Church. Not a religious organization….even, and especially if, it appears like a ‘wonderful Christian group.’

  13. Jan Otto

    You have to be kidding! I have been a part of the various cursillo movements in protestant churches for years and have NEVER EVER experienced anything even remotely demonic. I think someone has some personal issues that emerged on the weekend and it had nothing to do with Walk to Emmaus.

  14. Lisa Lewis

    Men at the Methodist Church have been talking about the wonderful experience they’ve had at FAITH WALK. I know a year ago or so I always heard about the Emmaeus Walk. Are they one in the same? We know how they love to change the names of things when they are exposed.

  15. Shelley Hettinger

    Yes, I too would have liked to hear what took place during this “retreat” we do need to be able to tell people who might cross our paths who may be intending to go to this how it is unbiblical and ungodly and what takes place. God is so faithful to keep and protect His people like He did for Kayla! Thank you Lighthouse Trails for all you do to warn and inform the Church. It was six years ago that I stumbled upon Lighthouse Trails and my eyes were opened and I have been researching and learning ever since. May God continue to bless this ministry ~ S.H.

  16. JDV

    “From the Upper Room website (link now removed)” Perhaps it didn’t play as well up front, so they may figure waiting until people are deeper into this experience (sic) to unveil the insertion of pagan practice.

  17. Elizabeth Bennett

    I hope Kayla left that church! It is important that we know the step by step details about what happened, or maybe K. can write a book about this. Others need to be warned.

  18. Elizabeth Bennett

    My heart goes out to Kayla! I thank the Lord that she was preserved through the horror she experienced of demons during this supposed 3-day retreat. I pray the Lord will bring her peace and healing. Lighthouse is correct in condemning spiritual formation/contemplative prayer. I read Castles in the Sand many yrs. ago and now know it was all true, even though it was a conglomerate of many observed experiences in America. Mantras, even though they say Jesus, provide the same results as a Hindu mantra. My son is a missionary in Spain but has always been aware of the dangers in Spiritual Formation.

  19. patrick

    I would like to know what Kayla experienced that was “horrific”. I went through the Walk several years ago and left the second day. After dinner the second day there was a chapel type service with everybody and the leader was reading out of a script to visualize your self walking down the road then visualize Jesus walking up to you and so forth. I recognized this technic as guided visualization. That was it for me, I left. I think she should have clarified at least one or two details of what was horrific, instead of a blanket statement of to many to share.

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