Emmaus Abbey Church is a Proprietary Chapel, the first of its kind in Tennessee. A proprietary Chapel means a Diocesan Bishop assigns a priest to a private chapel normally owned by a private citizen for the purpose of starting a church in that area. The intention is that it be open to the public rather than restricted to that supporting citizen and family. Normally, after the chapel has exceeded its seating capacity, it can purchase property and build their own facility. These chapels normally seat about 40-70 people and provide a full scope of preaching, teaching, discipleship, missions, pastoral care, children services, worship, healing prayer and evangelism ministries. It is fully self-supporting in funding Emmaus staff and ministries and with guidance from the Bishop has always owned and funded its own buildings.
In the beginning the Early Church met in homes for the first 300 years until Constantine legalized Christianity. The church consists of people. No where in the bible does it say the church were bricks and mortar. Scripture supports home churches see the first house church in Acts 1:3. Other references: Matthew 16:18; 18:17; Acts 9:31; 1 Cor. 16:19; Colossians 4:15 and Roms 16:3,5. At many points in subsequent history, various Christian groups worshipped in homes, often due to persecution by the state church or the civil government. Today as in many early churches citizens began building proprietary chapels or churches because money and land was not readily available.
In today’s climate of mega church entertainment and religious fads, smaller parish models are coming back and more able to meet the needs of individuals and family millennial’s and baby boomers wanting to return to the traditional church and worship. Western culture in America has had a major cultural change and with that said continues to try and change the church to the cultural climate rather than seeking God and his perfect plan for the church. Any time you hear” What can we do to be more relevant to the culture is a discussion from the pits of hell.” God wants us to conform to his Word and sacrament, not our ideas or whims in this culture. For whatever it is worth…we are not here to conform the church to the world, but for the church to change the world. Many baby boomers and some millennial’s are returning to church and hopefully they will share their experiences with others to understand the church doesn’t need to change—people need to heed God’s Word.
Those age 50 and above are seeking authentic worship and those under 50 the millennial mindset, are coming home to the fullness of the historic church. The 1st century church is right here anew, making its presence in the lives of those seeking the Ancient Faith in 21st century. You can find that-right here!
Emmaus Abbey Church Knoxville is a 501C3 religious charity with a registered deed established January 2014 in Knoxville, TN. The principal address is PO Box 7323, Knoxville, TN 37921