In 1979 a group of folks gathered with a vision of community. Everyone who met had been part of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and had previouslybelonged to one or more communities. Nine people gathered one weekend at Lakeside, Ohio and committed to form a new community based roughly on the New Jerusalem Community (in the Cincinnati area) pastored by Franciscan Father Richard Rohr. Small growth groups were formed which met on a regular basis. Not everyone in the community belonged to a small group but belonging to asmall group was encouraged.
The community soon took the name Abba’s Children. The community would make retreats a couple times a year for a weekend, Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. Some of the locations were Borromeo Seminary (once), YMCA Camp Rankin (in Geauga County--many times), Highlands Presbyterian Camp (manytimes) near Mesopotamia Center, Ohio. Prayer, praise, Eucharist, prophecy, praying in tongues, characterized our weekends. The Eucharist was always the center of the community.
Community members would also gather at Hope House to discuss various books, mostly on peace, justice and non-violence. For some time Eucharist was held at St. Ignatius High School on Cleveland’s Near West Side. Then we moved to St. Paul’s Community Church at W. 45th and Franklin, still on Cleveland’s Near West Side.
In time folks thought it important to write a document describing the community’s life. That document took a couple of years to write, but was finally forthcoming. After a few more years, the pastor of the community pointed out that though we had a document, we were not really following it, so it was decided that we stop calling ourselves a community and currently are simply a gathering of folks around the Eucharist. By this time, the name had changed to Emmaus, focusing on our journey together with Jesus, and centering, as had always been the case, on Eucharist.
Today, we still call ourselves Emmaus, are still gathering around Eucharist, and have a keen sense of community. Liturgy is fully participative,language is inclusive; anyone can prepare and/or preside at Liturgy. No ordained person is required by the members of the community. The community is open to anyone who is drawn to the vision which we live. There are no requirements for belonging, no regular attendance expectations. Folks come when they can and when they are drawn to come. Our numbers are small but we do not expect large numbers, though we are open to growth. Though we particularly follow Yeshua, liturgies readily embrace other faith traditions and celebrate the many holy ones sent by The Holy One through the ages.
We now meet weekly at Hope House. 10am on Sunday mornings.