43 Comments

  1. Amber

    The diocese next to mine has promoted a retreat style like this, that I have since found out is common. The cursillo, ACTS, CHIRP, Emmaus… retreat. I was invited to one once and it was really traumatic for me, finding out that people I kind-of-knew from church had reached out to my tumultuous family and private friends to collect letters without my consent. I didn’t understand that the basis of the retreat was “surprises” and I felt lied to and tricked. I ended up backing out at the last minute because I did some googling and found out about some of what would happen there, and compounded with what felt like an invasion of my privacy with the letter collection, I felt like it was just an exercise in manipulation.
    I was told that my not going was an effort of the enemy to derail my faith, I was sent many text messages from people I didn’t know were part of the group pressuring me to attend. I also found out that my workplace had been contacted and were trying to help the organizers have me attend. I felt like contacting my workplace as another invasion.
    In the year since it has been hard in my parish because several times now someone has said something, only to hushed my someone else who says, “She hasn’t made her retreat yet”. Like I am outside of the life of the parish in some essential way – but this too feels like a fear-of-missing-out manipulation.
    Now, the retreat is coming to my parish… It really bothers me that this kind of retreat is ok in my Catholic tradition. I never want to leave the church, but I feel safer with my evangelical friends after my bad experience and now I feel like I want to have even less to do with my parish.
    Is this style of retreat on the rise? I just don’t understand how it is seen as socially acceptable, or Christian even, to invade someone’s privacy and attempt to manipulate them.

  2. I went on my Walk to Emmaus March 14, 2013. I could not feel the love of God or Jesus before going on the Walk. If you leave the Walk before the Morning of the 3rd day, You have missed the most important part of the Walk to Emmaus. The Walk to Emmaus is totally based on the Christian Bible(Old and New Testiments). It is an attempt to help persons feel the experience the two disciples felt as discribed in Luke 24:13-36; The two disciples were walking from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus the afternoon on the Sunday after the Crucifixion of Jesus. They were walking and talking about their fallen savior when they were joined by a stranger. I will let you read the rest of the story starting in Luke 24:13.
    I have never seen an organization that helps people feel the love of Jesus Christ more than the Walk to Emmaus. I have worked 11 walks since 2013 and have another one coming up April 18, 2024. I have seen hundrens of people blessed by the walk. And I have seen a few people who did not want to be there leave on the second day. I assume because they could not stand to hear the praise of God and Jesus. We will all face Judgement Day and I am confident the Walk to Emmaus is intended to be a loving life changing expience that transforms many people into active christians. I can say for certain, every person who works the walk is trying do the work of the Holy Spirit and to make every Pilgim feel loved. Jesus shows up eveyday to have a relationship with us. We are the ones who fail to show up.

  3. Dan Curry

    The Walk to Emmaus is expressly “for the develoment of Christian leaders” and consequently is not for everyone. Those attending a Walk will be challenged to live a deeper level of Christian commitment which makes sacrificial demands on the normal priorities of everyday life. It is perfectably understandable–and not at all blameworthy–that some will not be willing or able to make that sacrifice. The notion that Emmaus is cultish or demonic proceeds from an unfortunate lack of understanding and instruction by the candidate’s sponsor prior to attending. See John 13:1-17.

  4. Sandy

    I consider myself a Christ follower. I’m not Catholic, so cannot compare to anything in that space. However, I went on a women’s walk a number of years ago and was very blessed. The team is constantly showering you with love in the form of prepared food, cards, readings, testimonials, etc. We played games and created skits for scripture and we sang songs and had quiet times of prayer. Anything that was not shared prior to the walk was so that it would be a wonderful surprise. It’s basically as if there is a surprise party for you, so you aren’t informed because it would ruin the surprise. The days are long because they are trying to accomplish a lot in a short period of time. The lack of a clock or phone are just to ensure focus. Many, myself included, kept our phones and just looked at them under the radar. It’s not as if they are searching you for them. If you trust your sponsor, then trust the process. I have a wonderful experience and God spoke to me and blessed me through the experience. And He also used me to bless others that I sponsored. I never sponsored anyone who didn’t have a positive experience. And, although they recommended that you continue with a share group or partner after the Walk. It’s not required.

  5. Yahoo, thank you for your warning about the Walk to Emmaus. However, we have concerns also about Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and other meditation techniques. If you would like to read something we’ve published on meditation, send us your name and mailing address to editors@lighthousetrails.com, and we will send something complimentary. We will keep your name and address confidential.

  6. Yahoo

    Sanskrit is a classical language of India, and a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

    These Walks are idolatry and demonic, full stop. This is NOT how Catholics meditate. Learn Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and meditate with Scripture. Meditate with your Rosary.

  7. James,
    We absolutely disagree with your summation. You see, in the contemplative prayer movement (of which Walk to Emmaus is part) it is believed (and taught) that those who enter into this special “sacred spirituality” have reached a higher plane (spiritually speaking), and it takes someone who is seeking this “deeper” life to really experience it. Much like those in the charismatic movement, who say, “Oh the Baptists and other non-charismatics are saved, but they are missing out on this higher deeper level.” Your conclusion that those who had a negative experience with Walk to Emmaus were “not ready” because they either didn’t know the Lord and/or were not a spiritual leader. You are basically saying that those people went to Walk to Emmaus for the wrong reasons. If only you could hear how wrong it sounds to say that these people weren’t ready for “this very spiritual experience” and that those who go and have a positive experience are on a higher level than the others. Why didn’t we hear Paul, or Jesus, or the disciples talk this way? If these contemplative experiences are so important for the spiritual life, how is it they left this instruction out of God’s Word?

    The following is from our booklet: Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation:

    When God, through Jesus Christ, is living in us, He begins to do a transforming work in our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:18). Not only does He change us, He also communes with us. In other words, we have fellowship with Him, and He promises never to leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

    This life of God in the believer’s heart is not something we need to conjure up through meditative practices. But if a person does not have this relationship with the Lord, he may seek out ways to feel close to God. This is where Spiritual Formation comes into play. Rather than a surrendered life to Christ, the seeking person begins practicing the spiritual disciplines (e.g., prayer, fasting, good works, etc.) with the promise that if he practices these disciplines, he will become more Christ-like.

    But merely doing these acts fails to make one feel close to God—something is still missing. And thus, he begins practicing the discipline of silence (or solitude), and now in these altered states of silence, he finally feels connected to God. He now feels complete. What he does not understand is that he has substituted the indwelling of Christ in his heart for a works-based methodology that endangers his spiritual life. Dangerous because these mystical experiences he now engages in appear to be good because they make him feel close to God, but in reality he is being drawn into demonic realms no different than what happens to someone who is practicing transcendental meditation or eastern meditation. Even mystics themselves acknowledge that the contemplative realm is no different than the realm reached by occultists.

    Bottom line, it is not possible to be truly Christ-like without having Christ inside of us because it is He who is able to change our hearts—we cannot do it without Him.

    It is interesting to note that virtually every contemplative teacher has a common theme—they feel dry and empty and want to go “deeper” with God or “become more intimate” with God. But if we have Christ living in us, how can we go any deeper than that? How can we become more intimate than that? And if going deeper and becoming intimate were so important, why is it that none of the disciples or Jesus Himself ever told us to do this? As Larry DeBruyn states:

    Why are Christians seeking a divine presence that Jesus promised would abundantly flow in them? . . . Why do they need another voice, another visitation, or another vision? Why are some people unthankfully desirous of “something more” than what God has already given to us? Why is it that some Christians, in the depth of their souls, are not seemingly at rest?

    Anyone reading this comment thread and is trying to figure out what the contemplative prayer movement is and why it is wrong and dangerous, we encourage you to read Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing. Write to us at editors@lighthousetrails.com, and we will very happily send you a copy. Including you James.

  8. James D

    Emmaus Men’s Walk #25.
    The problem that I see here in all the negative comments on the Walks some have gone on, was that they were not ready to be on a walk. These Walks are designed for those who are already in a walk with Jesus Christ and already a spiritual leader in their church. Sometimes it is likely this way, I want to do this because everyone else is going so do I. Church is sometimes looked at as a club, all my friends go so will I. I’m sorry that some of you had a bad experience and you are not wrong to feel this way, I place blame on your church and those that thought you were ready for this very spiritual experience, they were to be in prayer over asking any of to attend, they did not wait for an answer from God for them to even ask. Not everyone is on the same stair step in there faith as you may be, look and listen Discipleship is first, you the church must lead by example bringing new believers to the place where you were when you Walked, however you are still required by the word of God to be in prayer for all things and everything, My prayers are with all of you as you rework your method of send people to Emmaus Walks in the future and keep your Walk Biblically sound.

  9. Mike,
    It cannot be denied that the underlying roots of the Walk to Emmaus are based on contemplative spirituality. Upper Room has been a strong proponent and catalyst for the contemplative prayer movement for many years. While some attendees may feel they benefited from the experience, participating in contemplative activities opens dangerous doors.

  10. Mike Ault

    Interesting comments. Personally, my walk made all the difference in my spiritual life. I have continued with the community and will be the Lay Director for our Spring ’24 Men’s Pilgrimage. Additionally, my walk spurred me into several ministries. I have become a Gideon and I also participate in several ecumenical outreach ministries. Why? Because I discovered God’s Grace during my walk.
    A couple of recurring comments need to be addressed.
    – It is not a cult (defined as a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister. Neither is it a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.). It is an ecumenical gathering of willing participants to help them awaken, renew, discover, or recover their faith in God and the Christ Jesus.
    – It is not demonic (defined as resembling, or characteristic of demons or evil spirits). Such comments are at a minimum misinformed or just uninformed.
    – You have not been kidnapped. A pilgrim is free to leave at any time and it sometimes does happen. Such a wish will be honored and facilitated by the walk staff.
    – Your phone and watch are not taken from you. We simply ask that you not be distracted for the duration of the experience. In fact, you are urged to ensure you will be free as possible of life’s distractions when considering participating in the walk. We do ask that watches and phones be left in your room.
    As the comments here suggest, it is perhaps not for everyone. All that is asked is that you attend with open minds and hearts. The vast majority of pilgrims leave with a stronger bond between themselves and God and his Son.

    ¡De Colores!

  11. Mike

    Unfortunately my wife attended a WTE because a good friend sponsored her. The practices are definitely those of a cult, e.g. keeping you in the herd with no exceptions, removing all references to time, and emotional manipulation, just to name a few. You can’t drive yourself there; your sponsor drives you, and then LEAVES after the first night’s ceremony! So you’re stranded – can’t leave of your own accord. They present a whole lecture teaching prevenient grace, a Catholic theology.
    The concepts of spiritual director, spiritual formation, and contemplative meditation are unbiblical. Recognize them and run the other way! My wife did not continue in the WTE community. For us, WTE is in the dust bin.

  12. Kevin

    Don’t believe anything an Emmaus Community member tells you. They are encouraged to hide the truth and minimize the stories being told by people who have attended and walked out. They use cult tactics for complete control over you for the entire weekend! My Ex-Wife, I say this because she had an affair with a fellow Emmaus community member, has been involved with the movement for decades. During our marriage, she did not attend church, the Emmaus Community was her church. She treated me as a spiritual inferior! I was not good enough to sponsor, as a matter of fact, she never told any of her community she was married. Refused to change her last name to mine. She refused to tell me what went on down at their little weekends and when I pressed her, she would get defensive and not answer. She also would “disappear” the entire weekend. I would not hear from her the entire time, not if she arrived safely or when she was leaving. It was always very hush hush and secretive. The man she had the affair with was also a volunteer who she hid in her phone with the name “Chrysalis”, not his actual name.
    Before any of you community members try and minimize my words, I’ve done my research, I’ve spoken with not only active members who admit to the tactics being used, but to people who have attended and would never participate again or recommend it to another Christian. No living person has the right to question the veracity of another Cristian’s beliefs, no one! A person’s faith is between them and God. When an organization question’s your belief’s because you refuse to participate in their movement, that alone tells you all you need to know. I have witnessed churches being splintered because of Emmaus Community members coming back to the church after their weekend and acting like they are better than even their own pastor! I’ve seen firsthand how the Emmaus Community has wrecked marriages, including my own.
    Cult? No, but cult tactics to influence someone into thinking they are more deserving of God’s love and they are better than their church peers because they spent 4 days singing repetitious songs and listening to 15 carefully prepared talks to do not have an open discussion forum scream indoctrination much like any cult or organization like the Nazi party. Even the “rooster” crow every morning is mind controlling tactic. FACT!

  13. Madeleine

    I was Catholic, very devout in a tiny parish. I hope any Catholic who sees this will be helped to see the wisdom of avoiding WTE and Cursillo. I was love-bombed and pressured intensely into going on a WTE. The new priest had become charismatic through Cursillo and constantly spoke of the Holy Spirit and “what he wants from us.” I liked the woman who led the retreat but told her I could not go due to being a full time caregiver to a disabled family member. The pressure increased, culminating in a phone call to the disabled individual pressuring her to tell me it was ok with her to go on WTE! I was furious. I told this woman and the priest that I was not going, that if the Holy Spirit wanted to reach me he could do so anywhere. The priest said, “Since you’re not interested in hearing what the Spirit has to say, you need to leave this parish.” The Emmaus clique, whom I’d believed were my friends before this, never spoke to me again. I reported the priest to the bishop only to find they were close friends from way back and got no response about the priest’s hateful, unpastoral attitude. Soon after, the priest spent a fortune on a gigantic stained glass window of a Holy Spirit dove panel so large it ruined the architecture over the altar and grossly overshadowed the Crucifix as if Christ were a small detail. The parish is poor and this expense was unjustifiable. Since then, the parish has split into holier-than-thou WTE and non-charismatics. The fruits of their interaction with “the Spirit” is the pride of Lucifer. The bishop promoted this priest to a much higher rank in a pastoral counseling position. This experience helped me to see what Catholicism has become, especially under the present pontiff and corrupt, worldly bishops. Most priests care nothing for souls and so many are living in serious sexual sin. I haven’t found another church home but am praying constantly for guidance. God protected me throughout. May His Holy Name be forever praised.

  14. Jim L.

    Wow! Demonic, Cult, chanting, mantras? Layla, stated “ Everyone else that went said they had a great experience ”, that only she did not. So they are all wrong?

    Both me and my wife went on “Walk’s” We NEVER experienced anything of this sort. If singing Christian hymns much during the weekend is considered chanting, well, ok.

    Secrecy, well there was some. If you knew before hand that you would receive Lester’s of encouragement from family and friends, it would just not be the same as getting a bag of letters and reading them by surprise.

    If sitting in groups studying Gods Word, eating good food prepared by others is a “Cult”, well?

    If walking up to the chapel on Saturday night, singing praises to Jesus, seeing his beautiful face right before you walk into the chapel lined with family and friends singing with you with candles lighting up their faces is a “cult”, well? You do realize that in Heaven when anyone comes to the Lord that there are multitudes singing praises.

    One lady said “then the ‘community’ & reunion groups should be ended.”

    Why? Why would like minded people not want to meet and talk and have Communion together? Really?

    Is it for everybody? No, even I was somewhat apprehensive about going, but ended up being a very amazing weekend.

  15. David

    I know 2 close friends that have participated in this event and they are without a doubt not who they were since attending years ago… I believe this is a cunning, deceptive ceremony (under the guise of being affiliated with God) that unfortunately has made a negative impact upon ones that initially followed our Lord. I envision demonic forces being transferred from the depths straight into unknowing vessels (people) to go forth doing what they do best. It’s unbelievable that innocent people are being infiltrated under something being made to look as if a way to get closer to God… May the Lord help us and everyone already taken under Satan’s distorted wings. We’re currently experiencing what MANY of us thought we’d never actually be a part of in this physical lifetime. I only hope it’s not too late to reverse what’s already come to fruition. Thanks for your time. -David

  16. John

    Sounds very similar to the “encounter” weekends promoted by G12 (Cesar Castellanos and his followers): Secrecy, denial of personal communications, requirement of unconditional obedience to the leadership, psychological manipulation, etc. I have never before heard from “Walk to Emmaus”, but judging from the descriptions here, it seems to stem from the same roots as G12.

  17. Vicki Baldwin

    I wouldn’t have ever liked these coerced kinds of events, but only in the last few years have I understood why not, thanks to Lighthouse Trails resources. In many events at our Churches, we are being gently and subtly encouraged into these kinds of “emotional events”. Guess they think they’re “helping” God by creating emotional experiences. The actual Walk to Emmaus was an Old Testament Bible study, given by Jesus! The words of God! This non-Biblical, man made event is something that can never come close to the words of GOD. The Bible is beyond incredible when you really dig into its actual words.

  18. Alma Santa Cruz

    My sister-in-law, age 90, went very recently. They put her in a cabin with a broken heater. It was so cold that she she shivered for hours and couldn’t get any help. By the morning she had shivered so hard she went into heart failure and had to be rushed to the hospital. Not very well planned for sure.

  19. Karla Close

    I was sponsored to go on a Walk to Emmaus in 2003 and was told that it would be a wonderful, spiritual experience and was told literally nothing else. My sponsor drove me out to this remote, secluded location (I still haven’t been able to figure out exactly where it was) took my wristwatch ( I didn’t have a cell phone at that point) and left me with a group of total strangers, completely cut off from the outside world, having no idea what to expect. From that point on, my life was not my own. I was told when to participate in groups, when to eat, when to take a shower, when to sleep, when to wake up (with an obnoxiously loud rooster crow) and left to sleep in a camp bed, dormitory-style cabin with 2 dozen other women. I never had a moment to myself; every minute was planned and I had to stay with the group at all times. For an introvert like myself, it was a nightmare. Any time I tried to sneak off my myself for a little while, a leader found me and herded me back to the group.
    On Saturday night we were told that we would be going to a local church for a special spiritual experience. By that time I felt so raw from having to be with people all the time that I begged them to let me stay behind in the dorm in order to have some time to myself, but they insisted that I join the group for an experience “so glorious it will feel like you’re in Heaven.” We were herded onto a bus and taken to a church where the sanctuary was filled with what seemed like hundreds of “Emmaus-ers” all holding lighted candles and singing. We had to thread our way through this throng of closely-packed bodies while they all reached out to touch us. I thought I was going to lose it then and there. “If this is what Heaven is like,” I thought, “I’m not sure I want to go.”
    At the closing ceremony the next day, everyone in the group stood and gave their “testimony” of how wonderful the experience had been . . . everyone except me, that is. I just sat there praying, “Dear God, make it stop and get me out of here.” I know that my sponsor was disappointed that I didn’t find it to be the wonderful, spiritual experience it had been for her.
    Bottom line – I’m glad WTE is a great experience for some people but I would never go again and I definitely would not recommend it for others. If not a cult, it is decidedly cult-like and creeped me out.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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…

  26. 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…

  27. Dionne

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

  28. 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

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. 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.’

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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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