On January 24, 2016, Emmaus Evangelical Lutheran Church and Parroquia Emaús voted to consolidate into one new congregation. The new congregation will be called Emaus ELCA, a name which reflects the spelling of the Spanish-speaking portion of the congregation and of the Danish-speaking founders of the original church.
The process was shepherded by Stephen Knowles, attorney for the Greater Milwaukee Synod. Each entity named three commissioners who will serve on the Transition Team: Antelmo Hernando, Cathy Meyer, Pablo Enriquez, Carol Yust, Maribel Ortiz, Pastor Mary Janz and the two council secretaries, Missy Porcaro and Luz Cetina. Greater Milwaukee Synod Director of Evangelical Mission Rev. Sandy Chrostowski and Rev. Hector Carrasquillo from the national office of the ELCA participated in the morning events.
Following the separate meetings, there were cheers of approval as the groups came together in the sanctuary. The Emmaus vote for approval of the consolidation was 39-5, with the vote of the Emaús congregation being unanimous at 57-0.
Chris Lamberton, Pastor Gabriel Marcano and Pastor Mary Janz led the first official congregational meeting of Emaus ELCA. Pastor Sandy and Pastor Hector offered an opening prayer. Following the introduction of the Transition Team, a new bilingual constitution was approved. The proposed unified budget of $371,000 was also approved, and the group agreed to extend the terms of the current council members for an additional four months.
The meeting ended with a sharing of the peace and then sharing a catered meal in the church basement.
Emaus ELCA will now operate with a single church council and will soon begin the call process for a new, bilingual pastor. The church will continue to offer separate services in English and Spanish, with occasional bilingual worship services to mark special occasions. English worship services are at 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and 9:00 a.m. Sundays; Spanish worship services are at 11:00 a.m. Sundays.