Emmaus Community

Alabaré's Emmaus Community was founded in 1996, and now comprises of several homes in Salisbury, providing long term supported living accommodation to adults with Learning Disabilities. The Emmaus community was set up in response to requests from a number of parents wanted a safe and nurturing place where their adult child could live a life underpinned by Christian faith.

When coming to live in our Emmaus Community, each resident makes a commitment to share life together through eating and participating in spiritual development.  The story of the Walk to Emmaus in Luke's Gospel is the backdrop for the Community.

Each resident takes it in turns to prepare the evening meal, which is then eaten together, and prefaced with a prayer.  Our voluntary chaplain is working with the Community to gradually develop a programme which helps residents nurture and explore their Christian faith.

Our Emmaus Community regularly gather to share in hospitality, worship and the exploration of a bible story or theme eg. Holy Week and Easter. 

Faith Saturdays

In 2015, clients and staff met to renew the vision and to say what they wanted from a new expression of sharing life together. Drawing on the story from Luke’s Gospel, together, clients and staff decided that they wanted to renew their life and reshape it. Gathering together for food, faith nature and fiesta were declared as essentials.

With this in mind, Faith Saturdays evolved. Senior Chaplain Keith Thomasson writes;

"This has been a wonderful journey. To plan a Faith Saturday I bring a small team of staff, clients and chaplains together. We say a prayer and then read scripture together. We ask questions about the passage and begin to draw out the message it has for us. We are keen to connect this with what is going on in the life of the Emmaus Community at the time.  We are doing contextual theological reflection.


"From this, ideas for various activities, some carefully planned and some more fluid, emerge. They will help us all investigate the passage for ourselves and as community. Our work is informed in part by Godly Play, Faith and Light, and Messy Church. Does it work? Yes! The clients are keen to invite their friends along to something that resembles what others might call a New Worshipping Community or a Fresh Expression of Church.


"Underpinning each session are the elements of gathering, exploring scripture, hospitality and leaving with hope in our hearts. This is clearly modelled on both the story of the Walk to Emmaus in Luke’s Gospel and what clients wanted for their spiritual nurture."

Joyce Smale is a volunteer chaplain in the Emmaus Community. She says;

"Hello! I have been part of the Alabaré team since 2012, initially as a member of staff. In the last few years, I became involved in helping to run Faith Saturdays amongst clients with learning disabilities. We explore faith together and they are often held around key church festivals such as Advent, Epiphany, and Easter which we look at together in creative ways through, for example, craft, drama, baking and song.


"Faith Saturdays open with a shared lunch, where clients can meet and socialise. As clients live in different houses within Salisbury and Amesbury, this is a good chance to see each other. Then, we listen to a story from the Bible and delve in. Through practical activities, we learn to understand together what the Bible story means.


"Often, we will have three activities running simultaneously. In a craft session, clients will have something which they have created to take away with them. Drama sessions stimulate thought as different aspects on a theme come to light and in this activity, as within the other activities, we continue to discuss the theme of the Bible story. Baking often doesn’t make it out the door as we share cakes together as a joyous conclusion to each Faith Saturday!


"We could not do this without Alabaré’s support workers who accompany clients to each Faith Saturday and join in with the activities enthusiastically. In addition, Faith Saturdays benefit from a growing number of volunteer chaplains, who join in and share for example, their musical abilities."