What once began as a discerning idea, led to a conversation, and became a reality through prayerful obedience to God’s plan for His Kingdom-building discipleship in Western Pennsylvania. We celebrate the 100 walks that have taken place in The Three Rivers Walk to Emmaus Community (TRWE) over the past 25 years. This is an incredible feat and speaks to the great work accomplished in our midst.
However, God is not content with what has been accomplished! Kingdom-building continues to be the call of the TRWE Community. As the TRWE Community and the Holy Spirit continue to work together to prepare leaders for Christ’s holy Church we are excited to announce that God continues to lead and guide our community.
Beginning in 2017 the TRWE Community will be offering one set of walks a year rather than the traditional two sets of walks. The dates for the fall 2017 Walks will be October 12 – 15 for the Men’s Walk and October 19 – 22 for the Women’s. The Lay Directors for these Walks will be Bob Morgan for the Men’s Walk and Flo Willaman for the Women’s Walk.
Additionally, the location for these Walks will be at a new location: The Mt. Chestnut Nazarene Retreat Center in Butler, Pa.
As changes like these are made, all of our minds will be filled with the proverbial question, “Why?” We will discuss more about the “Why” in our next Eblast, but first lets focus on “What God is helping us to do.”
As we begin to form teams for the year we can allow ourselves to hear and discern the direction of the Holy Spirit in team formation and selection.
We can spend a little more disciplined time in prayer seeking the direction of God in who we are being led to sponsor.
The new camp facility may allow us to expand our ministry with improved accessibility and other overall benefits to the community as a whole.
It is also important to know that your TRWE Board of Directors did not make this decision impulsively. We have spent months in prayer, discernment, investigation and consideration of the health of the TRWE Community as a whole. We also have taken into consideration the incredible work of the community, its founders, and participants of the past 100 Walks.
The TRWE Board is thrilled to build on the 25 year history of seeking the best way for God to work within our community, and we are confident that God is leading us into a more powerful single set of walks a year. Can you imagine the transformations that will be born through faithfulness?
“Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you perceive it?” Isaiah 43:18-19.
In our last Eblast, we discussed how God was guiding TRWE in establishing our Walk schedule for 2017. Many may still be asking the question of “Why only one set of Walks”?
All of us have experienced the impact of rising costs: at the Grocery store, in our travels, in our utility bills, and even in the cable charges to watch our Steelers make their way to the Super Bowl. So it has been with the Camp fees for the walks. As the Board evaluated the costs required to stay at the Family Resource Center (FRC), it became apparent that our Community just could not accommodate the expected changes. The accommodations at the FRC have been SUPER, but in order for the FRC to meet their needs, the fees for 2017 were going to be increased and the minimum required attendees was going to increase from 40 to 50. Although we USUALLY have at least fifty team members and Pilgrims staying at the camp for the entire Women’s Walk, this has not been the case for our men’s Walk. Therefore, in order to be good stewards of God’s resources, we felt it necessary to seek other options.
Related to the cost factor is, of course, the number of Pilgrims that the community has brought forth. The Holy Spirit has touched the lives of literally thousands of individuals over the past 25 years. However, the number of Pilgrims for both the Women’s, and especially the Men’s Walk, has been decreasing steadily over the years. By moving to one set of Walks, the Board felt that we could provide the opportunity for the community to create an environment for more Pilgrims to participate and interact together. The Holy Spirit will continue to touch the lives of Team Members and Pilgrims (whether there is two or twenty), but having more Pilgrims on a Walk creates an even greater passionate environment for sharing and growing.
The final response to “Why?” has to do with the support required from the community. Having two sets of Walks requires double the number of community members in the way of sponsoring pilgrims; being on Team; and in providing 4th Day support (setting up, tearing down, cleaning bathrooms, providing agape, serving meals, and joining the Prayer Vigil). Moving to one set of Walks would reduce the demands on the community while still allowing us to consider ways for more community members to be involved with this wonderful opportunity to share in God’s mission, if the desire is there.
So, as previously announced, the dates for the fall 2017 Walks will be October 12 – 15 for the Men’s Walk and October 19 – 22 for the Women’s. The Lay Directors for these Walks will be Bob Morgan for the Men’s Walk and Flo Willaman for the Women’s. The location for these Walks will be at the new location: The Mt. Chestnut Nazarene Retreat Center in Butler, Pa.
More information on the accommodations at the new location, the timing for Walks in 2018 and thereafter, and the impact of these changes on Team Selection, Teaming, and 4th Day opportunities will be forthcoming as the Board works out these details. Regardless of your feelings on these changes, please be assured that these decisions are being made in prayerful consideration of how the Holy Spirit is working in the TRWE Community.