Luke’s Gospel records the story Christ appearing, after His resurrection, to two friends as they were walking along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The “Walk To Emmaus” gets its name from this story. The story goes like this:
. . . two of them were going to a village called Emmaus . . .. As they talked . . . , Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” . . . One of them . . . asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” Jesus asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel . . …” He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. Luke 24:12-33, NIV.
The Cursillo de Christiandad (meaning “short course in Christianity”) originated in Spain in the late 1940’s. It was brought to America in the 1950’s. Until the 1970’s, Cursillo (pronounced “coor-see-yo”) was primarily a Roman Catholic movement, but more and more applications were received from Protestants, and other movements began to make the experience available to a wider range of people.
In the late 1970’s, The Upper Room (a unit of the Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church in the USA) formed The Upper Room Cursillo Community in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1981, by mutual agreement with the National Secretariat of the Roman Catholic Cursillo movement and the Upper Room, the name of the Nashville Protestant Community was changed to Emmaus.
The “Gulf Coast Walk To Emmaus” is a ministry of Gulf Coast Emmaus, Inc. It began in 1980 as an unincorporated Lutheran Cursillo, known as “Gulf Coast Lutheran Cursillo” and was then affiliated with the National Lutheran Secretariat. It was incorporated in 1983 under the name “Gulf Coast Cursillo, Inc.” The Community affiliated with the International Emmaus Movement of the Upper Room and its name was changed to “Gulf Coast Emmaus, Inc.” in 1986.