History of Emmaus Abbey

Short version of our history. EMMAUS ABBEY CHURCH was conceived in January of 2000 while praying in Victory Chapel at Fort Meade Maryland. Fr. Brett was in the process of being ordained a deacon in the Orthodox Church. After his ordination on 6 December 2001, Fr. Brett stated that when he retires from military and plants a church in Knoxville, TN it will be called Emmaus Abbey Church. Emmaus first began as a counseling ministry in 2008 reaching out into the Knoxville community. In January of 2012 Emmaus began as a 501C3 non-profit. Later we reclassified as a church in July 2013. Emmaus Abbey was received into the Charismatic Episcopal Church of North America in April of 2014. We found a home in the Diocese of Midsouth, Sharpsburg, GA.

January 15th, 2012, starting with two families, marked our first Sunday at our new home on Glastonbury Road, Knoxville, TN. After six years meeting in a proprietary Chapel we have purchased property in Knoxville to have a home this side of eternity!

On October 17th, 2012 Fr. Brett made a call to Bishop David Epps, Bishop of the Midsouth Diocese to begin a conversation about coming into the Charismatic Episcopal Church in North America. The Bishop asked for a year of discernment for me to get to know the CECNA, meet and attend worship services and then he would make a decision as to move forward or not. In April of 2013, the Georgia Commission on Ministry was appointed to meet with me and assist me through the reception process to become a CEC priest. On July 3rd, 2013 Emmaus Centre for Christian Counseling was reclassified as a 501C3 under the IRS as Emmaus Abbey Church, Inc. In April of 2014, Fr. Brett was received into the Midsouth Diocese at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (CECNA).

I was asked by Bishop Epps if I would establish a new parish in the Knoxville area. The new parish would meet in my home and be formed by several of my family members and two other faithful CEC members who recently moved to the Knoxville area. We began developing a missional leadership team and started meeting right away in my home. We were committed to preserve the Apostolic faith as received in the CEC Anglican Tradition.

The starting of a missional church was going to be a challenge, but this work was not new to Fr. Brett having worked as a missionary for over 25 years in the military chaplaincy.

Fr. Brett, being a retired Army chaplain came prepared with all the necessary items to start a church and worship service. Over the years he had purchased many religious paraments and furniture from churches closing down in Europe. He new he would eventually start a church, so he began collecting the necessary items. He had an altar, Processional Cross, Collection Plates, 150 hymnals, vestments, Chalice and Paten, Lavabo Bowl, Host Tray, guitar and local business donated an Electric Organ. Also, a CEC church in Spartanburg, SC donated some altar & processional candles, banners and St. Luke in Manchester, GA some altar rails. Once we secured all the items necessary, we had to store the items until we could expand from the small room in our house into a 500 square foot room in our garage into a residential chapel.

In January 2012, my family and I began having morning prayer and Holy Eucharist every Sunday starting at 10am. By April 2014 we gained two new members from previous CEC churches. In 2017, we began expanding the 500 square foot proprietary chapel out into another 900 square foot area of the garage. We dry walled the garage, put in lights, painted and built a small kitchenette for fellowship gatherings. This expansion added from 30 seats to our chapel giving us a 50-seat capacity. We are fortunate that Fr. Brett had the facilities necessary to assist into an early church launch. We understand that many church plants cannot start with these assets, but God made it possible through a few people and churches chipping in and making it happen.

Missional Thinking: Everyone is a missionary in the church. We knew that we were a missional church starting without one dime in our pockets. We read about St. Paul, Lydia, Barnabas principles and launched our church on faith and that God would lead us day by day. Paul planted the gospel, discipled, he did not plant churches. Why, because he had zero money for buildings, but he had the greenhouse effect on his followers to plant the gospel in every home in the first century. The greenhouse effect is plant the seed in good soil, water the seed, the believer, grow the seed, transplant the seed. Second, we must invite women to walk beside our men to plant the seeds of the gospel as well. In Paul’s day women were very instrumental in the process of growing the church. Note Acts 16: On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. – Acts 16:13-15

The Orthodox church gives Lydia as an equal to the Apostles. I also give our women in Emmaus Abbey a great deal of favor when it comes to getting things done in the church.

If Paul planted churches with a little merchant woman we can too. The Diocese of the Midsouth was instrumental in our missional success. I felt God leading us to campaign in our Diocese for a 10-10-10 mission & funding model: Save $10,000, develop 10 missional leaders (complete CEC Certificate Program) and seek 10 families to support the church outreach program and complete the Certificate Program as a family. Also, we would follow the ICCEC 10-10-10 tithing program: 10% of what the Diocese of Midsouth receives from its congregational asking is paid toward the budget of the ICCEC Church (or to a local ministry as designated by the local congregation). Each congregation is asked to give to the budget of the Diocese of Midsouth 10% of what it receives from its members in pledge. Rectors Council in the Diocese of Midsouth, in turn, ask members of their congregations to tithe from their household budgets. We also teach that our families understand debt free living. Money management is crucial when raising a family today. The goal is to live off 80% of their earned wages. Deposit 10% into the family savings account, tithe 10% to local church and develop a budget to live off the other 80%. We have families who actually live off 71% of their earned income and attest what God has done in their lives financially.

Next, the pastor would be Bi-vocational and receive no salary until the parish was able to support a priest. Since Emmaus Abbey did not have any overhead expenses, every dime went into the general fund. This was done one year after we started our church on Pentecost Sunday. Within a month, the campaign raised $8,200.00 and we were on our way. Within three months after a morning worship service we had a private donor write a check to us for $2500.00, we met our first goal. Our next goal was to secure our 501C3. By July 3rd, 2014, we received a few more private donations and we were able to pay for our IRS 501C3. Another goal met.

In 2016, we finished the outer section of the residential chapel we worship in and have increased our parking area for 24 cars. We are debt free at this point and this is proof we can continue to achieve our missional goals and save our resources we are an independent parish. From 2015-2018 we saved enough money to purchase a 1.10-acre lot in the beautiful area of Halls, Tennessee. Our goal is to clean off the lot and use it as an investment until we can double our investment on the lot. God has opened many opportunities and we hope

He will send a gift of 4-5 acres or more so that we can use our investment to build a building. I pray daily that God will move among the Emmaus Abbey Church to increase God’s presence in the greater Knoxville area.

Missions: Among the strengths the parish felt Fr. Brett and his wife brought to the parish a strong missional, outreach orientation and experience with working with broken marriages and individual struggling with addictions. Also, using the ALPHA evangelistic materials to reach the lost and grow the church. Since 2010 to present, the counseling ministry has brought into the church some steady funding to support our missions work in the areas of family and addiction counseling and evangelism materials.

Today, Dr. Travis has engaged “Reformers Anonymous” to start an RU Chapter” here in Knoxville, TN to assist in fighting the opioid epidemic. RU is a biblically based, Christ-centered recovery program designed to rescue, recover, and restore those in addictive behaviors with the power of the victorious hidden life found only in Jesus Christ. Mr. Jason Munsey, a church member will be trained and certified to become the RU Director for this program. The ministry is in the process of being a certified RU Chapter in Knoxville, TN. Emmaus Abbey is a missional church. We lead by example, meaning if there is any church growth it comes through serving others, outreach, evangelism and producing disciples.

The war we have in the streets is the same war we have in our churches. People come to me deceived and say they are Christians even though they are participating in all sorts of addictions, divorce, family conflict, homosexuality, criminal activity, lack of church attendance all this is sin. We even see whole denominations departing from the Faith. The church has to advance into the streets in 21st century in order to make a difference in peoples lives. “Caring for People and Connecting Them to Christ.” The world has been wounded by the church, therefore, the church must seek forgiveness and reach out to those in pain.

On May 5th, 2018, The Most Reverend William D. Epps, Bishop of the Dioceses of the Midsouth gave a Letter of Institution to Fr. Brett Travis to become the Canon Missioner for the State of Tennessee. The Rev Canon Brett Travis will oversee the starting of mission churches, evangelism, discipleship and outreach.

Our church is committed to presenting a compelling witness to the orthodox Christian faith in the CEC Anglican tradition, to making a difference in our community and to reaching out to younger people.

Prophetic Message

MASS CULTURE SHIFT : Since 2001, America is Being Swept Under by Major Political and Cultural Transformation

A Short Response to the Crisis of the Lack of Faith in Main Line in America 

by Brett Travis

The majority of my life I have served God and Country: “Pro Deo Et Patria!”  I enlisted in Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. Why, because I believed that the peoples of Vietnam had a right to freedom.  Regardless of the political issues of the time, which I did not understand, meant nothing to me.  All I wanted to do was make a difference in the lives of others. After serving 37 years in military and 24 years as an Army chaplain serving at the highest levels of military leadership. I realized that America was not perfect, but I would not live anywhere else in the world today. Though I write about this, it greatly disturbs me to do so. But I write this as a warning for those who remain a part of an apostate church. 

 When I retired from the military in 2008 and returned home to America, it was a different country morally and politically. Our political, education and religious systems had literally collapsed and continues to fail its people. I hesitate to name mainline churches for their disdain for God, but we have to expose the heresy that is dislodging Christians from their faith. This includes all the SELF-Ordained so called ministers in America and abroad who are teaching false and prosperity doctrines. Being a Christian takes work and commitment. Our main line Christian leadership from especially the Roman Catholics, Episcopal USA churches, Methodists, Presbyterian USA, ELCA Lutheran churches has distorted and defiled  biblical leadership, defiled marriage between one man and one woman, pushing transgenderism, sexually abused millions of people and morally offended and defied the “Cross of Calvary.”  The churches view on same-sex marriage, abortion and transgender issues is pathetic. These churches defy the Bible as the inerrant Word of God and its message of salvation.  

The world in which you and I now live is in the midst of a major cultural transformation- leading to a a lack of faith in Christ, an increase in moral relativism, and a rejection of absolute truth. Church membership is declining and the new religion is little league sports on Sunday mornings and materialism.  Their motto: “Get all you can, Can all you get and sit on the can!  Someone asked me who is the blame for all this?  Well, I believe it started in the local church with greedy and immoral  Bishops, pastors, and seminaries pushing out unsaved religious workers in the field. Pastors do not need million dollar homes, airplanes and cars. And we do not need mega and satellite churches which only meet on Sunday mornings with their Lattes’.  We need a revival in our lives and in our churches. 

Who are the leaders of this religious shift?  Episcopal USA, Presbyterian USA, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Lutheran ELCA and more…

In 1960, the Episcopal Churches USA started the dismantling of their “Faith” in Jesus Christ, the Bible, and all church doctrines. They are no more than a shell of despotism and debauchery. The worst thing…many remain in the church believing they can throw the God of the Bible out the window and not reap the consequences of their actions. They have caused so many problems within the Christian faith that millions of believers have decided to quit church altogether.  God will not sit back and allow his church to implode without some serious recourse and actions against those who continue to blantantly curse his Holy Name.

Yet there are those of us and other churches who are maintaining the course regardless of the Episcopal churches adamant drive to destroy their church.  The 1st half of the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st Century some 68 years of direct attack upon the bible and Christian doctrine has finally shape a new era of the church age called the post-modern church. If there are any conservative churches left by the end of the 21st Century, it will be the Charismatic Episcopal Church. We have set a course of zero tolerance against our government and those churches which defy the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I believe the CEC churches are the Biblical & Conservative solution and answer to the crisis of the apostate church today!  We are here to help those wanting to come out of these deceived churches held in bondage by sin.  No one wants to hear about sin anymore.  This is why those apostate churches have fallen!

A warning to those remaining in apostate churches, staying in these churches or trying to change them or their leadership at this point is like rearranging the chairs on the “Titanic.”  Here is a prophet message & what is not being told about these churches: Ref: Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, “The Paradign.”

I am greatly burdened and dissolutioned by what I am seeing today in Babylon America and in our churches. I, much like Amos and Habakkuk see a great destruction that has come into these churches and those leaders running the church. The demonic spirits of ball worship, Ahab and Jezebel spirits are prevalent within our churches and many of our Christian leaders which affects every family in those churches.  If Laviathon, Ahab and Jezebel spirits live in the church they will also live in each member of that church, eventually killing every member. Read what the Bible says about these demonic spirits.  These churches have turned away from God. This shift away from God all stems from church leaders with emmanant strongholds and unresolved personal conflict in their lives. Therefore, these men and women are being lead by demonic strongholds unbeknownest to them and this is wrecking havoc on the church and our next generation of believers.  Please pray for their deliverance and a revival in our churches and government!  1 Timothy 3:3-11

Since the CEC has never been a part of any denomination, our ecumenical “stance” is to disassociate in every way with these denominations. If your church is supporting these demonic practices–get out!  The  present denominational Crisis in the Methodist Church, Episcopal Church USA, some Anglican Churches, all PCUSA Presbyterian Churches, Churches of Christ , our colleges, universities and local school systems and many others that support same-sex marriage, transgenders, homosexuality, ordination of women and abortion has become catastrophic. These churches are out of communion with the majority of bible believing churches in America. We are to love these people, but reject the sin. 1 Timothy 4:1-16

Yes, we have made a biblical stance against sin and those churches promoting deceiving spirits in the church.  The Charismatic Episcopal Church of North America: CECNA is not a part of the Episcopal Church USA, but a conservative Communion of orthodox churches. We are not a part of any denomination. We stand firm and hold to the historic doctrines of the Christian Faith. We do not participate in any ecumenical dialogue or services with other denominations which unintentionally or intentionally defy the “Truth” of Holy Scripture.  We are considered a pre-denominational church since we do not hold to any reformation doctrines.  We express our worship through our own liturgies or sacramentaries which can be found on the CEC website.  We love the sinner but God hates sin. Please join me everyday as we pray for a Nation, our government and our churches that has lost its first love…Jesus Christ.

More to come…The small church will be the vehicle that will bring revival to America, not the mega church.

Emmaus Abbey Annual Report for FY 2017

Mission: “Caring for People and Connecting Them to Jesus Christ.”

Our vision above stands as a clarion call as a CEC church to reclaim the ancient faith, reach a new generation and live it in holy community.  We do this through our daily mission of caring for people and connecting them to Jesus Christ.  The very DNA of our parish is to evangelize, disciple, equip and use every person and monetary resource to accomplish that vision and mission starting in our community here in Knoxville. 

Our parish met after church on 26 November 2017 and gave a summary of the ways Emmaus Abbey Church met our vision and mission in 2017.  Mr. Matt Rankin led our annual meeting by calling our meeting to order through prayer. Our church administrator (Pam Travis) prepared the agendas, minutes and handouts for the parish.  In addition answered correspondence, as needed, filled out the on-line IRS report to the state of Tennessee and filed that report in our records. 

Rector- Fr. Brett Travis

 God has walked beside us every step of the way this year. It ceases to amaze me how a small group of dedicated followers of Christ can accomplish so much.  It shows you that when following the ACTS church model of Living in Holy Communion with God what we can accomplish for his kingdom work in Knoxville. 

TREASURER: Mr. Matt Rankin

​​We moved to 7317 Glastonbury road in January 2017 and began services in our small 50 seat chapel. We could not afford the 1,000/month rent plus utilities. Since the move we have been able to conduct outreach and missions in the area more efficiently. We were able to meet for counseling classes and have the necessary freedom to arrange our work in this new facility.

We saved enough money to purchase a 1.10 acre lot in Halls for a future ministry site in 2018.  We are able to maintain the maintenance and cleaning of the site until such time we can save to build on it.

We operate our counseling ministry approximately 20 hours a week or less to assist in the ministry of counseling. Our  Many services are supported by donations and we have conducted over 35% of our counseling Pro Bono. In our 2018 counseling ministry we served about the same amount of clients we did in 2016-17.  We saw about 3 clients a week in 2016 and on average 5/week in 2017-18.  In 2019 we have seen  7-10 clients per week. Most of our counseling services were Pro-Bono because many folks were not able to pay for counseling services and others we had to refer because we did not have the resources to provide them for continued counseling. 

We have reached out to our community to assist in the Opiate crisis in Knoxville by providing one on one counseling.  Men see male counselors and women are seen by female counselors.  We also find that marriage counseling has helped families deal with loved ones struggling with addiction.  Addiction is a family affair.

We began seeing that general Christian counseling was not sufficient in delivering people from their addictions and sins so we began offering healing ministry in which we see a great change in peoples lives.  Now we conduct as much healing services as we do for counseling. We are limited in offering Christian counseling do to Emmaus Abbey Church conducting Sunday and Wednesday services and weekly visitation for outreach.

We are on face book and updated our website.  We have an updated website and feel this will assist with folks looking for a conservative and historic church holding to the ancient faith! God is doing something with us and we are continuing to remain patient as we wait on his prompting. 

Over the past year we have ran men’s groups, attended CEC Convocations, Aslan Roar Conferences and developed our leadership teams. 

   * We are training five ministers in counseling this year

   * Have increased our counseling to support local medical facility with opiate counseling support

   * Developed an assimilation course for new members.

   * Started Wednesday noon and evening services and Christian Formation classes


We were unable to cover all our immediate expenditures and are seeking more churches and individual support for 2020. We are grateful to be able to offer an alternative to traditional secular counseling in our area.  We feel a mobile counseling ministry is a worthy cause by reaching into the community may be an option for 2020.  We have looked into this and found it to be a very expensive endeavor, a cost around $41,000 to start up the services. The problem is that we have no way to re-coup that cost without charging clients and we feel donations cannot cover the cost.  We hope that we can raise enough funds to purchase a trailer, tents & tables to setup where ever we serve in our community.
As you know, we are a small ministry and we use all our funds for ministry projects.  No-one in this ministry takes a salary or is paid.  When funds are not available many times we use personal funds to help others.  Once that is exhausted, we limit our services.


   In 2018-19 Emmaus ran men’s groups on a variety of topics and well attended. The focus for 2020 will be to teach the CEC Certificate Program to all members of the church which is the foundations course for the ICCEC communion of churches. I am hoping that Mr. Tim Zawisza will take over the area of Christian Formation for Emmaus Abbey in the future. He could bring more consistency to our adult and children’s education programs in the church.


To our Friend’s Supporting Emmaus Abbey:

We thank you for your donations to this ministry and ask for your continued financial tax deductible gifts to enable us to continue to serve those looking for help, healing, and hope in the form of biblical counseling and discipleship.
Emmaus Abbey Centre for Christian Counseling has been operating for over 30 years and since moving to Knoxville, TN reopened in January of 2012. Emmaus Abbey Church opened in January 2013. We are a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization, and every gift is tax deductible.  All donations can be sent to: Emmaus Abbey Church, ATTN: Treasurer,  PO Box 7287, Knoxville, Tn 37921
We truly appreciate your prayers, referrals, and your financial support.  Thank you!