The Parish of Saint Matthew: The Episcopal Church of Pacific Palisades

Emmaus Small GroupsEmmaus Small Groups

The History of Emmaus Groups

Our small group ministry is called “Emmaus” after the story in Luke 24:13-53. Its themes of journey, of meeting Jesus on the road, of the intersection of the divine and the ordinary, have led us to name our groups “Emmaus” groups. We know that many who participate in these groups have and will experience Christ anew--that is a promise.

Emmaus groups began at St. Matthew’s in January 2000. When David and Sarah Miller arrived at St. Matthews in 1993, they brought the model for “Foyer Groups” small multi-generational dinner groups that meet once a month for fellowship, which have become so popular at our parish.

David also brought the dream of a small group ministry to St. Matthew’s, and a couple of “test” groups were so successful that in 1997 the parish committed to hiring a new staff person, The Rev. Betsy Anderson, to develop the ministry. A task force was set up to explore implementation of the “ChristCare” small group ministry created by Stephen Ministries of St. Louis—it was chosen because of its comprehensive model of organizational structure and its training method and content. In the spring of 1999, Betsy and two others went to St. Louis to the Equipper Training Conference, where they received training to form an “Equipper Team”, a lay-staffed management organization. In January of 2000, the first 5 groups were launched. They were called “Emmaus” groups.

Emmaus Small Groups

In 2000, there were 35 people in Emmaus; since that time, there have been as many as 90 adults in 9 groups. Emmaus groups have become an important part of many parishioners’ lives; they provide a safe environment for people to personally experience Christ’s presence and power through weekly gatherings devoted to caring, study, prayer, worship, and outreach. Emmaus groups are committed to fostering not only the spiritual growth and transformation of individuals, but also the spiritual growth and transformation of the entire parish.




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