First Hill Group serving dinner Sept5 at New Horizons
One sign of a clean heart is the willingness to have dirty hands - from serving, that is. Did you witness Fred and Pastor Eric talking this past Sunday? During their public conversation about Jesus' teaching, we were reminded how it is not what goes into your mouth that makes you clean, nor how often you wash your hands, but what comes out of your mouth, and your heart (Mark 7). Accompanying Jesus' words was a word from James about keeping a rein on our tongues, AND how God values the religion of those who "look after orphans and widows in their distress". Does this describe us? At least to some degree, whenever we join the ministry of New Horizons, serving street-involved youth, and when we partner with Catholic Community Services, helping formerly homeless seniors at Simon's Senior Apartments. Look ahead to Sunday, September 30, and value the opportunities God gives us to dirty our hands, clean our hearts, and help look after the orphans and widows in our local context.

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The Emmaus Road Story

In the winter of 1997, we began as a small team of about 10 people, committed to gathering and growing a church that would connect with others like ourselves; people interested in connecting with God, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, but disconnected from the activity of many mainstream congregations. With the financial support of a larger church organization, our pastor was able to work full time with the team in planning, leadership development, and meeting people in the community.

Our first meetings were open discussion forums. We talked about prayer, scripture, spiritual discipline and the issues with which we all struggle. As friends talked to friends, the first group expanded and we multiplied into two.

Inspired by the journey process as a metaphor for spiritual growth, we searched for a name which would reflect that idea. In the resurrection narrative of Luke 24, we found our name "on the road to Emmaus."

After our first worship event on Good Friday of 1997, both groups began to gather together for worship once a month. In various coffee shops and rental spaces, we gradually increased our worship times to twice a month, and in September of 1998 we decided to gather every Sunday. Since the beginning, numerical growth has been gradual but steady, most often through the personal contact of friends talking to friends.

Today, several small groups continue to meet for open discussions on prayer, scripture, and the process of encountering God in daily life; we all gather for worship each week.