Header Text Northeast Florida Great Banquet (NEFGB)

2017 Fall Dates



Great Banquet #44

November 2 - 5



Great Banquet #45

November 16 - 19




What IS the Great Banquet anyway?


Beginning on Thursday evening and ending Sunday evening, Great Banquet guests eat, laugh, sing, pray, learn, and live together.  During each of the fifteen talks given by laity and clergy, the theme of God's grace is presented, followed by a time of discussion.   Guests participate daily in the celebration of Holy Communion and examine the presence of Christ in His body of believers. Through the prayers and acts of a loving, Christian support community they experience God’s grace in a personal and tangible way. 


So, what happens after the Banquet?


After attending the Great Banquet, guests are challenged to strengthen their own spiritual life through study and active congregational participation, and to become active disciples of Jesus Christ in the world through their church.


The Great Banquet helps the banquet community in discipleship by assisting in the creation of Reunion Groups, providing opportunities to assist in future Banquets, and making them aware of the needs of other communities and Weekends, both locally and nationally, through newsletters and emails.


How did it start?


The Cursillo (3-day course in Christianity) was developed in Spain in the 1940s as an instrument of spiritual renewal within the Roman Catholic Church.  As Catholic centers began to accept applications from Protestants, an effort was made to expand the movement inter-denominationally.  It spread to the United States and evolved for Protestants into the Walk to Emmaus when, in the late 1970s, the Upper Room (a unit within the United Methodist Church) formed the Upper Room Cursillo Community in Nashville, Tennessee.  In 1981 the name of the Upper Room Cursillo was changed to the Walk to Emmaus.   The following year the First Presbyterian Church in Madisonville, Kentucky became the sponsor for the Madisonville Emmaus Movement and the first Walk to Emmaus took place in that community.  The Madisonville Emmaus Movement has helped begin similar communities throughout the United States, Australia, and South Africa.


After a 10-year history with the Walk to Emmaus in Madisonville, Reverend John Pitzer, along with the Madisonville Emmaus Community, adopted the Great Banquet to further inspire, challenge, and teach church members how to incorporate Christian faith into daily life.  Governed by an ecumenical board of directors and using the “Cursillo model”, but with a different image, the Parable of the Great Banquet as told in Luke 14:15-24, the Great Banquet Weekend is a dynamic faith experience that continues to emphasize personal Christian discipleship. 


Reverend Pitzer serves as the National Director of the Great Banquet Movement and President ofLampstand Ministries, a corporation formed in 1991 to assist in beginning the Great Banquet in other communities.