Message from Rev. Mark Rooks (CSD)

May 7, 2021

Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The past 14 months have been a tumultuous time for everyone. This includes Richmond Emmaus. Walks have been put on hold, the few Gatherings have been virtual and Reunion Groups have been limited in their ability to meet. Connection and community have been lost. The good news is that things are improving and the ministry of Walk to Emmaus will resume. There are even walks scheduled for this fall and next spring.

During this time your Richmond Emmaus Board of Directors has continued to meet and discern a course forward. We realize that many are ready to resume our ministry activities and that is our desire as well. As we push ahead there is important information that I write to share with you today.

First, I am saddened to share that our CLD Shawn Holt and his wife Abbey will be leaving our community. Shawn has accepted a new position in North Carolina and they will be moving very soon. Both Shawn and Abbey have been active in our community; Shawn most recently as CLD and Abbey as a Spiritual Director. Their loss will be keenly felt. Please join me in wishing them well as we hold them in prayer.

Next, stepping in to serve as CLD will be Clyde Lessard who has been serving as Assistant CLD this year. In addition Sandy Livingston will serve as the new Assistant CLD. Both of these have been very active in our community. Please keep them in your prayers. But, let me also add that the fruitfulness of our community is not determined by a few leaders, rather by all of us serving and using our gifts together to carryout the mission of Walk to Emmaus. I encourage you to get reconnected and involved in our community however you are able. The Board needs your help.

Now I’d like to share something encouraging. An in-person Gathering is coming up on Saturday, May 15th beginning at 6:00pm.

The details are…

Gathering location: Bon Air UMC, 1645 Buford Road, N. Chesterfield

Other details: We will be meeting outside, there will be no food served at this event, you should bring your own chair, masks are required, we will be socially distanced. Holy Communion is planned using pre-packed elements. There will be singing, a 4th Day Speaker, fellowship and more.

Over a year ago the Board began exploring a new location to hold our Gatherings. We made arrangements to begin meeting at Bon Air UMC and then the pandemic hit. Bon Air UMC will be our new home for Gatherings going forward but actually this is kind of a ‘return home’. Prior to our time at Bethia our community held gatherings at Bon Air UMC for several years.

Finally I share this: “They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them, but they were kept from recognizing him.” Luke 24: 14-16

We know well these verses. As the two disciples walked along, Jesus was there even though they did not recognize his presence. The ministry of Walk to Emmaus has not ended and Jesus has not disappeared. He continues to be with us, lead and guide us into the future. Is there a lot of work ahead of us? Will we face challenges going forward? Certainly the answer is yes. But, Jesus continues to walk with us. We will be witnesses of His presence when we gather on May 15th and as we carryout the mission of Walk to Emmaus. I look forward to seeing you soon.

De Colores!

Rev. Mark Rooks, R67
Community Spiritual Director