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Joining pilgrims on a holy walk

Women standing near a cross

During a recent three-day Walk to Emmaus weekend, Pastor Vicky Prewitt found holy moments walking with pilgrims of faith and witnessing their eyes being opened to the amazing presence of Jesus in their everyday lives.

Crystal Falls: Christ and Amasa: Grace UMCs

I was recently blessed by being the Assistant Spiritual Director for Walk #85 of the Superiorland Emmaus, held Sept. 22-25 at Camp Michigamme near Marquette, Mich. Describing what happens on a Walk to Emmaus weekend is tough to do. Each weekend is unique while still following a similar pattern. Here’s a glimpse of what a typical experience is like.

Thursday night is for settling in and meeting the people you will spend the next several days with. I had the opportunity to meet just a few of the sixteen women, called pilgrims, who would be sharing this time together. After a quick snack, it was right into worship and meditation.

Come Friday morning, we were ready to get to work. After breakfast, it was on to hearing several talks. Throughout the weekend, fifteen talks were presented to the pilgrims. Clergy gave some, but most were from laity. They cover such topics as priorities, God’s grace on many levels, personal faith development, and ideas on how to walk boldly into the world to spread the good news of Jesus.

Pilgrims then moved into a discussion time, when they dug into what they had just learned. During this time, you could feel the energy in the room as the pilgrims learned about each other and deepened new friendships. Each pilgrim came from a different background, but they learned how to bridge differences and see that God has a plan for each of them. They learned that God’s church is bigger than any single building, denomination, or country.

This is the daily routine set for the weekend. Wake up, worship, eat, learn, eat, learn, lunch, learn, eat, learn, take a break with some snacks, and so on. You get the idea—each person is given plenty of spiritual food to grow on.

Now, it’s not all fun and games. Probably the two biggest challenges the pilgrims face involve letting go. Letting go of their watches and phones so they can be in the present without distractions. And letting go of serving, allowing themselves to be attended to by the many workers who are there to make sure they are comfortable. Being leaders in their churches, you can imagine how hard it was to sit back and let others do the work!

In the end, these women from various denominations set aside differences in theology and allowed the Spirit to wrap itself around them in God’s agape love, as shown by the people who served them and the community that supported them through the entire 72 hours. They began the journey as leaders in their congregations, already faithful servants. By the end of the walk, they were left refreshed in the call of God to be powerful women of faith, rejuvenated by the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus. They were also left with renewed energy for the work they are already doing, while exploring new ways they can serve God and others. I witnessed women changing from being Christians to committing to a new level of being Christ for the world in both word and deed.

Superiorland Emmaus has been utilizing the facilities at Camp Michigamme for several years now. In the past, we had used different churches in the Northern Skies District. We found that using the camp gave us a more centralized place to gather, plenty of options for sleeping and learning, plus it did not inconvenience a church for several days. This partnership has helped Superiorland Emmaus find a home, while giving the camp a solid group of supporters. We anticipate using Camp Michigamme for several more years, allowing the pilgrims to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation while making new discoveries about themselves.

If you wish to learn more about the three-day Walk to Emmaus experience, visit Upper Room Ministries’ website.

Last Updated on October 31, 2023

The Michigan Conference