Emmaus Christian Community

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

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Our Traditional Symbols

Community Altar - Click to enlargeThe altar was designed and constructed by Community member Don Byk, and inspired by Fr. Peter Krebs, who conceived the idea of using the wood from a large fallen black walnut tree. The wood was cut, milled, and carefully kiln-dried, then used to fashion the altar and its accompanying four service tables.

The new altar and service tables were first used in 2003, replacing a time-worn portable altar which had been used by the Community for more than twenty years. The twelve struts supporting the altar top symbolize the twelve apostles who, with Christ, founded the very first Christian community.

Altar decorated for Easter - 2013 
Our Altar decorated for Easter - 2013 (photo by Marge Dukes)

Ambo (lectern)
Ambo (lectern) - Click to enlargeThe ambo used for our liturgies was created in 1979 in honor of Rusty Easton. Community members Joanne Collins and Don Kuhn designed it, and the main structure was built and stained by Community member Dick Duhaime, with help from Community members Ann Harkin and Dace McLaughlin in sanding the wood. The front panel portraying the symbols of the four evangelists (Eagle, Lion, Ox and Angel) was designed, carved and painted by Joanne Collins. The ambo was refinished and restored by Joanne Collins during the summer of 2003. The protective cover was made by Community member Teeny Kuhn.

Banners - First Communion
Each year, by tradition, the current First Communion class creates a banner representing a theme which the class members have selected to represent their celebration of First Communion. The themes and designs vary widely from year to year, reflecting the unique character of each class. This banner is displayed during the First Communion liturgy, at the reception following the liturgy, and during other special Community celebrations.

Thumbprint Cross
Thumbprint Cross - Click to enlargeThe thumbprint cross dates back to 1999. It was conceived by Community member Bernard Williams, and created by Bernard Williams and Community member Don Kuhn. Our Lenten theme in 1999 involved allowing ourselves to be "molded" by God the "Potter". As part of that theme, on Ash Wednesday and each of the following Sundays in Lent, Community members were invited to contribute a thumb impression in one of six clay tablets, symbolizing our personal relationship to each other in community. The clay pieces were then fired and afixed to a wooden frame in the shape of a cross. The cross was first used on Easter 1999, and has been displayed in our Community liturgies from that time on.

Stained-Glass Cross
Stained-Glass Cross - Click to enlargeThe stained glass cross was created by Community member Bernard Williams. The cross was conceived as a way to mark our Lenten journey in 2007. A large array of colored glass pieces was presented to the Community at the beginning of Lent. Each family selected a piece of glass that appealed to them, for whatever reason. All of the selected pieces where assembled, and the resulting Community cross was one of the gifts of the Easter liturgy that year.

Dove Mosaic
Dove Mosaic - Click to enlargeThe mosaic dove symbolizes the spirit that moves through our community. It was created at our 2015 spiritual retreat. Community members selected a plate, spent a few moments gathering their thoughts on brokenness and then shattered the plate. The pieces were then assembled into the mosaic. It is our belief that although we are all broken at times, when we join together we become stronger and healing can begin in a different and beautiful way.

Service Tables
Service Tables - Click to enlargeIn addition to the altar (described above), Community member Don Byk also designed and constructed a set of four accompanying service tables (only one shown here) for use during our liturgies. These tables are used for holding extra Communion vessels, Offertory gifts, and Community music handouts, fliers and other announcement materials. Like the altar, these tables are made from the wood from a large fallen black walnut tree.

Community Tapestry - Click to enlargeThe large tapestry hanging in the auditorium is perhaps one of the oldest, most visible, and most recognizable symbols of the Community, and was first displayed on Sunday December 15, 1974. It represents many hours of thought and work by many people in the Community who contributed generously to this labor of love.

The idea first originated in early 1973 as a memorial to Jack Knightly. We wanted the theme to reflect the spirit of our community. And that turned out to be the most difficult aspect of the project, for we quickly discovered how varied our ideas, goals and aspirations were. It was this aspect of the Community - being unique yet united - that led to the concept of a cross emanating rays.

The plain white cross represents the redemption which unites us all in a common community. It is there for us to partake in whether we choose to do so or not. The colors, sizes, shapes, textures and designs - just as this community is formed by a mosaic of people with complex personalities, moods, interests, goals and needs.

We each individually contribute our own unique presence to the spirit of this community. Some of us are bold and dynamic; others are quiet and gentle. Some are sunny yellows, energetic reds, soothing greens, angry oranges or sad blues. Some of us are sensitive, dreamy velvets, while others are pragmatic, wash-and-wear denims.

No one piece of fabric by itself is any more important than the others around it, just as each of us can enhance the lives of those we touch by our love and concern. To take away a piece would be to detract from the whole. Some of the rays have been deliberately left unfinished to indicate that our participation in the redemption---that is, in the community---is not yet complete. It is left to your imagination to wonder how magnificent God's redemption will be at its fullest, and to wonder how much more we as a community can grow.

Many of the individual pieces have special significance fot those who donated them. If you were unable to make a personal contribution, you can choose one in your mind that you think best symbolizes you - and feel free to change your mind as you grow and change.

Over the past several years, the tapestry has been periodically updated to reflect the infusion of new members into the Community.

A tapestry is made up of fabric forming a picture of life. We are the fabric of this tapestry, and it reflects a picture of us. We hope you like what you see!
[adapted from the original description by Community member Carol Lucido]

Vestment (Chasuble) - First Communion
First Communion Vestment (outside) - Click to enlargeFirst Communion Vestment (inside) - Click to enlargeIn 1977, the First Communion class was asked to draw pictures of what came to their minds when they thought of Jesus. Some children in that class were Community members Rich & Tishie Clow, Peter Cino, and Sara Kuhn. Then, some very talented people took those pictures, asked the parents to bring in some fabric from something that was meaningful to the children, and then they recreated the children's pictures onto the outside of the vestment. Each child then had his or her name embroidered on the inside lining. That tradition of embroidering the names on the inside lining has continued to today. The name of every child who has made First Communion in the Community since 1977 is embroidered on the inside lining of the vestment. [description contributed by Community member Shirley Cino] Click here to learn more about the history and significance of priests' vestments.

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