Hello to our brothers and sisters in Christ
As many are aware, we have unfortunately had some turmoil in the community, but we are well on our to resolving it and working hard to move forward putting into place the important building blocks to develop a thriving community.
We must remember a few things about Emmaus. First and foremost, it is an ecumenical community. We are an Ecumenical Community serving all denominations, we cannot discriminate on that basis. We are an ecumenical movement, not a church. To understand what all that means, first we need to understand what ecumenical means:
Definition of ecumenical
1a : of, relating to, or representing the whole of a body of churches
b : promoting or tending toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation
*Taken from the online dictionary of Merriam Webster.
The following is an excerpt from Upper Room Emmaus Ministries “Emmaus University” course Ecumenical Understanding.
People of all denominations or churches are welcome to participate and partner with us. Emmaus is designed as an Ecumenical Movement through the Upper Room. (Upper Room while having its roots in the Methodist Church are no longer under the Methodist umbrella. This has been true since the 70’s.) Emmaus is open for participation of all Christian denominations and churches and encourage the participation of Christians with different beliefs and opinions while only staying focused on those beliefs we hold in common.
How to have and maintain a healthy ecumenical environment:
- Respect each other’s opinions.
- Avoid expressing personal beliefs, viewpoints, and opinions that would foster divisiveness and be inconsistent with the program.
- Avoid controversial subjects which would include but not limited to the following:
theological-doctrinal-political or issues related to human sexuality. These issues must be relegated to to the status of non-issues for expression or discussion in the context of the Emmaus ministries. Participants must be encouraged to have these conversations with their pastors. Persons insisting on using Emmaus Ministries as a platform to discuss these divisive issues should be excused from service on team or at event. (Notice it DOES NOT say removed from the community) We only want can be used to build others up in faith & grace not what can be used in judgement and potential divisiveness.
- Sponsoring participants and selecting team members (including clergy) from different denominations. Such diversity promotes healthy and longer lasting communities.
We will be stronger together asl long as we long as we continue to focus on what we have in common as Christians.
Charlene Thomas (pastor active in the Emmaus Community) stated it well in her Facebook post dated May 7:
Dear brothers and sisters of the Emmaus Community, I know each one of you. I feel like I know your hearts. I believe that you have prayed over these discussions and have made decisions about where God is calling you to serve. Some of you will remain with the Emmaus Community and some will be called to another. Each will reach people for Jesus that the other cannot. God will make good things come. God has been working and making good things come out of the brokenness of humanity since creation.
There will always be debate about biblical interpretation, always has been and always will be.
Somewhere along the line we have decided that unity means uniformity of understanding. There are those who believe that I should not be a clergy person because I am a woman and those who believe God did indeed call me. This is just one example of our differing understanding.
Please… love those who stay in this community and love those who don’t. God will.
I trust in an enormous God who is capable of all things. And I believe in God’s promise to make good things come for those who are called unto His purpose. And humanity may not get it right all the time. That’s why we need grace and praise God for giving us what we don’t deserve.
I love you all. I do my best every day to live out what Jesus called the greatest commandment…
To love God with all that I have: heart, soul, mind and to love my neighbor as myself. And I trust God’s grace to fill in the cracks of my own brokenness and God’s strength to be shown in my weakness.
God’s peace I pray to all of you,
Pastor Charlene Thomas
We were given a wonderful resource when we met via Zoom with Stephane Brooks, Emmaus International Spiritual Director. Emmaus University is an online learning center of all things Emmaus. It contains comprehensive in-depth videos in all areas of Emmaus including Sponsorship, Team Selection, etc. The link to the “Emmaus University” is as follows if you are interested in learning more.
Once you have viewed some or all the videos, we would ask that you pray about becoming more active in the community. Pray for our community, attend gatherings, make agape, maybe even take a board position. We have a couple open right now. Fill out a blue volunteer form (available at Gatherings), let one of us know where you would be interested in serving, or fill out this form. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfWU6SiminndceNLdnbaHAHUVdc-CpEtvgDwH5cVa79OA96mA/viewform We need help everywhere. IF you have the gift of music, please let us know. You like to cook, let us know and so on.
This Emmaus community continues to be in our prayers. We pray for unity in purpose and for our community to thrive because of our common bond that we have in Jesus Christ, our Savior. We would love to speak (in a spirit of cooperation and charity) with you if you have any questions or want to know more.
God bless each and every one of you!