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The Walk to Emmaus is a program offering of The Upper Room.  In the truest sense of the word, it is a spiritual renewal movement because it is dependent upon each generation of participants to pass their enthusiasm onto the next.

The origins of the Walk to Emmaus were greatly influenced by the Roman Catholic Cursillo Movement. The Cursillo began in the Roman Catholic monastery of San Honorato on the island of Majorca, Spain, in 1949 out of a desire by same to find spiritual renewal.

The first Cursillo weekend held in the United States was in Waco, Texas in 1957.  Two Spanish airmen, who were in this country for flight training and a priest from Spain were responsible for putting on this first American Cursillo.  The Upper Room’s first two model weekends of the Walk to Emmaus were held in Peoria, Illinois, in April and May of 1977.

In 198l, by mutual agreement between the Roman Catholic Cursillo and The Upper Room, the Emmaus Movement was given its name.  Thus, The Upper Room Emmaus ecumenical movement began its mission of equipping church leaders with a vital piety.

In the fall of 1984, the Walk to Emmaus was taken to Australia; thus it became an international movement.

The first weekend (TWE#1) was conducted June 1988 at Virginia Wesleyan College on a day when the temperature outside exceeded 100 F and the temperature in the talk room was over 120 F.  The audience at TWE#1 candlelight service consisted of families of the Team who held two candles to make it look like a crowd.

Tidewater 2 was conducted in July 1988 at Virginia Wesleyan College.  

The first day of Deeper Understanding was conducted at Foundry United Methodist Church in August 1983.  Later that fall, the first Board of Directors were elected.  By 1989, Bylaws were written by the Board and approved by the community.  TW3 and 4 were held at Virginia Wesleyan College in June and July 1989 respectively.  Tidewater Emmaus was still working with Richmond and was receiving a lot of help from Northern Virginia.

In the fall of 1989, it was decided to offer four weekends per year and Tidewater’s association with Airfield 4-H Center near Wakefield Virginia began with walks TW5 and 6.  One Pilgrim from TW6, Doris Baker,  remembers “the community was extremely small.  There were only 25 people at Mananitas and there was no place for candlelight so it was held between the barns at Wakefield.  There was a ditch between the barns and the community was on one side of the ditch and the team and the Pilgrims on the other side!”

We know the God was with us when we were planning and doing TWE.  We believed that God has used TWE to make a difference not only in Tidewater area but also on the Eastern Shore, Richmond, North Carolina, Southside and Lynchburg.

Tidewater Emmaus held its 10th Anniversary Praise Celebration in September 1998 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Chesapeake, Virginia.  Pictures of that joyous celebration can be found on this web site.  By the end of the year 2003, Tidewater Emmaus will have held 65 walks.  Each year, we hold two walks in the spring and two in the fall.  Men and women participate on separate walks.

The area covered by the Tidewater Emmaus community includes much of the Hampton Roads area, including the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk.  Over the years, as our community grew, many of our members were instrumental in helping other communities get started-Eastern Shore, Albemarle, Richmond, Southside, and Peninsula, all of which are strong thriving communities.  Albemarle has also branched out and started the Pamlico Emmaus community.


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