Emmaus Christian Community

Emmaus Christian Community
[ An Intentional Eucharistic Community ]
The Shrine of St. Joseph

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About The Community

Emmaus Christian Community is an open and welcoming Intentional Eucharistic Community in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. People come here because they choose to do so, rather than just because they live nearby. We are a lay-run community, with members assuming responsibility for our own governance. This means that our members share in carrying out the many different activities that define us and give our time together form and meaning. Whether it's the planning of our Sunday worship service, the managing of our finances, or the implementing of our social action agenda, we each try to do our part. We feel that working together on any of these ministries allows us to put into action our Christian faith. It also gives us the opportunity to form the bonds with each other that make our Community a place where genuine caring and concern between members flourishes.

Our activities are coordinated by a Guiding Council comprised of Community members elected by the Community. The Guiding Council is responsible for calling and presiding at periodic Community meetings, which are the forum for Community decision making. Guiding Council members follow through on decisions, and in general work to ensure the smooth running of Community projects. All adult and youth members of the Community are eligible to serve as leadership members.

Mission Statement
The Emmaus Christian Community, modeled on Pope John the XXIII's spirit of acceptance and inquiry, is an inclusive, Eucharist-centered, intentional Catholic community. We are built on the cornerstones of liturgy, prayer, community and service, all which nurture our Christian faith.

Our Vision
As the intentional Emmaus Christian Community, we commit ourselves to:
  • Developing community and responding to the needs of our world in justice, as those needs are revealed to us.
  • Living a faith-filled life, enriched by the Eucharist, enlivened by friendship and deepened by service to others.
  • Respecting each individual's faith journey.
  • Engaging prayerfully and with mutual respect in participative liturgies where all have the opportunity to dialogue with each other about the homily and scriptures.
  • Contributing our time, treasure and talent to support and energize our ministries and programs.
  • Committing to one another in the legacy of Father Judge, growing in our apostolic life and continuing our service to others.
Let us build upon our roots of 45 years as a means to empower our community to:
  • Seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us evolve and reach out in ways limited only by imagination and resources.
  • Self support and energize our ministries and programs: including but not limited to liturgy, music, religious education, sacraments, pastoral care, outreach and social.
  • Educate and challenge, celebrate and comfort one another in times of need.
  • Harness technology to better serve the community.
  • Be the "light from the top of the hill" by serving others through social justice and peace initiatives.
The Community began on Thanksgiving 1970 when a group of 10 families gathered for Liturgy at the Shrine of St. Joseph.

The families were searching for a Vatican II worship community. They wanted to be fully involved in creation of worship, liturgy and faith education.

Involvement in social justice and helping the disadvantaged were also goals. This Christian Community found support from the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, which was receptive to hosting an intentional community at the Shrine of St. Joseph in Stirling, NJ.

The families' goals fit well with The Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity Rule of Life: "Our specific mission is the preservation of the faith in those areas and among those people who are spiritually neglected and abandoned, especially the poor. Our chief effort is to develop a missionary spirit in the laity, with the goal that every Catholic be an apostle."

Fr. Leonard Bachman, the Director of the Shrine, welcomed this community of families and called Fr. Peter Krebs to minister to the Community. The ministry sections of this website provide more detail on the scope and direction of our programs.

In 2015, after a crisis in faith and leadership, some members left the Christian Community. Those remaining began a process of re-imagining our community. The question to be answered was, "What is it that we want our community to be?" Our mission statement was then revised to reflect that we are an inclusive Eucharist-centered intentional Catholic community that chooses to be together and is modeled on Pope John the XXIII's spirit of acceptance and inquiry. We are built on the cornerstones of liturgy, prayer, community and service. As an inclusive, Eucharist-centered, Catholic community, all are welcome at our table. We choose to evolve and continue to support one another as we each find our way on our faith journey to follow Christ. The name reflects our desire to walk with Jesus as did the apostles on the road to Emmaus. Our wish to continue that walk is evident in our liturgy during the breaking of the bread and as we share Eucharist together.

Location And Worship Time
Emmaus Christian Community is located at The Shrine of St. Joseph, 1050 Long Hill Road, Stirling, NJ. Map Of Location of Emmaus Christian Community

Our normal Sunday worship time is 9:45 am, in the Shrine Chapel, throughout the year. There are exceptions when special occasions or events preclude this schedule. Please check the Community Calendar for more information.

Our Traditional Symbols
The Community has several symbols which serve as reminders of our history and our togetherness as a community of faith. Click here to learn more about them.

Becoming A Member
Emmaus Christian Community welcomes those who wish to join with us. We ask those who are considering membership to read and reflect on our Mission Statement. It is our hope that through Christ's love in us, we -- the Community -- can give each other a sense of belonging and acceptance. We also hope that the same love Christ has given us will enable each of us to see the needs of our Community and bring to it our talents and resources. Membership in the Community reflects its unique character. People choose to be members, are free to be members, and are welcomed as members, with individuals themselves determining their own membership in the group.

Thus, membership in the Community results from a self-discernment process in which one reflects on the character and mission of the Community which gives rise to various implications, including:
  • Worshipping together, since participation in liturgy is at the heart of the Community's shared vision.
  • Being open to others and building relationships with them, revealing who I am and learning about them with an attitude of mutual respect - thus allowing our faith journey to be a communal one.
  • Accepting responsibility for the Community, having a sense of stewardship, and recognizing that "what happens" is the result of individual member decision, action and participation, and that the involvement of as many as possible is what enables the Community to function.
  • Supporting in word and action the educational aims of the Community - to nurture children's faith lives and to provide opportunities for adult intellectual and spiritual growth.
  • Involving myself in the direction setting of the Community, so that it continues to be vital and alive, and true to its foundation as an intentional community -- defining and serving its own needs.
  • Making financial contributions to the support of the Community.
  • Supporting the charitable and social justice efforts of the Community, moving words to action through hands-on involvement.
These implications represent the needs of the Community as a whole. "Does membership necessitate my commitment to all the areas identified above?" That is a question that each member alone must answer. Through this would be ideal and reap the fullest benefit for the individual and the Community, this is not always possible for everyone at all times. Some may not have the gifts, interest or energy to participate fully, while others may be at a life stage where it is not feasible. But whatever the level of involvement, accepting the overall philosophy of the Community - as stated in the mission statement - is important to one's feeling a part of it.

Ultimately, the questions to reflect upon in considering membership status are:
  • "Is the Community my 'spiritual grounding place' where the communal journey occurs?"
  • "Is the Community stronger because of my involvement?"
  • "Does the Community serve others because of me?"
If you are interested in becoming a member, or have further questions, please contact our Welcoming Ministry.

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Page revised 3/25/2021     Copyright ©2004-2021 R. J. Dunlavey -- All rights reserved. Maintained by: Robert Dunlavey