History of the Great Banquet
To become familiar with the Great Banquet, let's look first at the history of its counterparts; the Cursillo and the Walk to Emmaus. The Cursillo (3-day course in Christianity) began in Spain in the 1940s in the Catholic Church. It spread to the United States and evolved for Protestants into the Walk to Emmaus under the auspices of the Upper Room and the United Methodist Church. An Emmaus Movement was started by the First Presbyterian Church in Madisonville, Kentucky in 1982. After a 10-year history of the Walk to Emmaus in Madisonville, Rev. John E. Pitzer and lay people from First Presbyterian Church, formed the Great Banquet. Governed by an ecumenical board of directors and using the "Cursillo model", but with a different image, the Great Banquet continues to emphasize personal Christian discipleship. The Great Banquet Movement is institutionally sponsored by local church groups in these areas. Lampstand Ministeries was formed as a covering corporation to move the Great Banquet Movement to other areas.