For many people, Thanksgiving and Christmas are tough times. Holiday Blues are real. We who belong to the Church often imagine that if people came to us, to be cheered by Advent Candles, Christmas Carols, and the preaching of the Gospel in Christ's Nativity, those with the blues would be much better off. But most people stay away; they know better. An hour with Christian strangers, pretending to be joyful, all going home to their families and cozy homes, will not conquer loneliness. 

Beyond Sunday, though, and outside the space of worship, there are alternatives for treating the blues. Envision live music, free food/beverages, bingo, prizes, and a crowd that includes people from the towers, and people from the streets. Somewhere in the neighborhood, on neutral territory, people can connect; strangers will become neighbors.  We can be part of this.  As Church Beyond Sunday, Emmaus Road has the opportunity to co-host a Holiday Blues and Bingo event, Tuesday evening, December 17th. This is for old and young, for church, community, and neighbors. A collaborative team of people across Belltown are signing up to participate. This could be the beginning of something beautiful.

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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.