After 12 years of journeying, hard work, and commitment, the Comunidad Emaus Latina Emanuel (CELE) became the second Hispanic Emmaus Community in the nation.
The signing of the covenant and celebration was part of a training event held at the GNJ Mission and Resource Center. The event, called “The 4th Day” is a day where pilgrims who have completed the Walk to Emmaus gather for training and fellowship. About 180 pilgrims, clergy, and laity from Greater New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania Conferences, joined in a time of worship, fellowship and celebration.
The service recognized the invaluable help and support that the Emmaus Communities from Garden State, Skylands, and Puerto Rico had given throughout the years.
The strong economic support that the National Hispanic Plan from GNJ was recognized for facilitating the walks. Many GNJ clergy were instrumental in the first development stages, especially Rev. Manolo Sardinas, Gateway North District Superintendent. In 2004, Sardinas came up with the dream to empower the Hispanic laity through the Walk to Emmaus ministry.
Elizabeth Gonzalez, who attended “The 4th Day” commented, “As Lay Director this was an important day, the culmination of our dreams, not mine, but of the many brothers and sisters who sacrificed time, and family, to get to this place. Given that the walk to Emmaus is a ministry of the laity, it gives us an opportunity to prepare leaders to make our churches vital that we may be integrated and have hope.”
The Rev. Victor Perez, Emmaus National Leader for Emmaus Communities in Latin America and the Caribbean, said “My soul was uplifted as we worshiped together, celebrating a major accomplishment for the Hispanic/Latino local churches in the Greater New Jersey area. After twelve years of intentional planning, prayer, and hard work, we now have a Spanish language Emmaus community in Greater New Jersey.”
Over sixteen Hispanic/Latino local churches are represented on the new Comunidad Emaús Latina Emanuel.
Through the ministry of Walk to Emmaus, local church leaders are reminded how God’s grace can empower them to be the hands and feet of Christ in their homes, their communities, and all over the world. Walk to Emmaus is 72 hours of spiritual formation for people to become faithful disciples sharing God’s unconditional love through the ministries of their vital congregations.