|The following writing is a reprint of an article written by Rev. Ron Fearneyhough and originally published in March and April 1995 in "The Fourth Day", the monthly newsletter of the Georgia-Lina Emmaus Community.In the Springtime of 1989, the time of birthing, I first heard about Walk to Emmaus. I too thought it was some sort of marathon. However as Julia Crim, Dr. George Morris' Evangelism Associate at Candler, shared more with me about a "wonderful weekend", my curiosity grew. Her eyes were bright, her countenance shining, her voice filled with enthusiasm, and this young woman a few days before was overwrought with work. Julia had experienced God's love for her and talked about a loving community of faith. Pastoring a church in Blythe, I felt the Emmaus Walk might be the spark to light the spiritual fires of renewal.|
In the Fall of 1989, I called the person in charge of registration and told them I had ten people from the Augusta area who wanted to walk. After a long period of silence, and answering a number of curious questions about sponsors, etc., Caroline Evans said she would send us applications, even though Walk #8 was just two weeks away. Little did we know that the North Georgia Community would add an extra table to accommodate our small group. The ten who went to North Georgia were: Tom & Gina Fagan, Dennis & Sandra Huckaby, Roger & Rene LeDuc, & Rex, Mildred, Judy & Ron Fearneyhough.
As the five men returned home singing "Sing Alleluia" all the way from Atlanta, our hearts were burning with plans for an Emmaus Community. However, my plans were soon put on the back burner due to seminary studies. Then Blair "Bulldog" Edenfield and Dave "Joyful" Sanbach called and made an appointment with us. Blair and Dave shared with us about their Cursillo weekend and their involvement in the Kairos prison ministry. They too wanted to help begin an Emmaus Community - and they wanted it now!
Blair called Nashville and was told the North Georgia Community could sponsor a new community until a full board could be elected. An "Augusta" Emmaus steering committee was formed. John Alexander joined the committee and the planning sessions were held in Blythe church. As plans for the first walk materialized, I was appointed to the Tignall charge in February of 1990. At my first Independence UMC Council meeting, they approved the usage of the fellowship hall for an overnight team weekend. As the "Atlanta" team for Georgia-Lina Walk #1 arrived, it was a typical "rowdy, joyful" bunch of men and women. Tignall wondered what they had approved! Bedrolls and sleeping bags filled the Sunday School rooms and the two bathrooms were maxed out for the "sponge baths." But there were no complaints - it was a memorable moment. By the way, the only facility Blair could locate for a Walk was Camp Daniel Marshall.
Bob Sapp and JoAnn Beasenberg were Walk #1 Lay Directors. Spiritual Directors were Gene Collum and Cherie Jones (recently appointed leader of Emmaus in Nashville). We had to stack the deck - of the seven men pilgrims, only two men were from Augusta: Skip Gartman and David Fearneyhough. The women had nine pilgrims, eight from Augusta. Monthly Gatherings were planned at Marvin United Methodist Church.
Charlie Beasenberg and Jan Thrower were the Lay Directors for Walk #2, with 12 men and 12 women pilgrims.
Walk #3 featured our first husband and wife Lay Director team: Dave and Sue Sanbach, and 20 men and 22 women pilgrims.
Walk #4 featured our first home-grown Lay Directors: Blair Edenfield and Sue Tankersly.
Lay Directors for Walk #5 were Judy and David Fearneyhough; Walk #6: Lamont Lannae and Theresa Baston; Walk #7: Roger LeDuc and Jeanne Lindsey (eight pastors were on the men's walk); Walk #8: Dave Toburen and Pat Miller; Walk #9: Chuck Lanier and Renee LeDuc; Walk #10: Bruce Dowdy and Carolyn Lane; Women's Walk #11: Judy Fearneyhough; Men's Walk #11: Steve Karnowski; and Women's Walk #12: Carol Sayers.
I would like to mention three foundational stones who built the Georgia-Lina Emmaus Community. Blair Edenfield invested hours into the organization and planning, serving as Lay Director of the community for several years. He is the official photographer of Kairos and Emmaus. He purchased the trailer and other equipment we use each weekend, provided sleeping accommodations, organized set-up and take-down, and was present at send-offs, candlelights, and closings. Chris Edenfield undertook the huge job of organizing the kitchen, writing the recipes, putting inventories on the computer, making nametags for every walk, copying and providing the stacks of manuals and other lists which support the weekend. Dave Sanbach was treasurer for three years. He invested time, talent and financial support. We owe them a debt we can never repay. They helped prepare the way!
As Lamont Lannae has shared numerous times...he was so disappointed when he walked into that first gathering at Marvin and there were only eight or nine persons present; and how for the first candlelights, we would space one person per pew to make a line - and now it is gloriously full for when the saints come marching in! Who knows, perhaps one day we too will sponsor a new community, maybe in Costa Rica!
I am pleased to welcome you to my personal blog, which I started in March 2009. I first became interested in blogging about five years ago, using old "blogger.com", which was cumbersome to use and I never mastered. About a year ago I discovered that Google had bought "blogger.com" and had revised it considerably, making it fun to use, so much so that I have devised at least 15 blogs on various subjects and frequently add posts and Gadgets to them.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
History of Georgia-Lina Emmaus
[I've just found this article on Emmaus by my good friend and my late wife's pastor that I would like to share. I was a Pilgrim on Men's Walk #9 and worked on at least the next two walks.]