History of Emmaus Center

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In 2008 M. Rev. Ed Jansen and Rev. Dr. Trish Gaffney (husband and wife) moved from South Florida to Maryland. They had a vision about the direction they thought the Church should go. They sensed that the Church had lost its original purpose, so they asked themselves one question:  “If Jesus was walking the face of the Earth today, where would we find him working?”  The answer to that question defined their ministry; the new church they would start in the community of Glen Burnie, MD.


They prayed, they worked and they moved forward, trusting that God would guide them. They found a vacant storefront that would meet their needs.  They would set up counseling offices in the front and the rear of the building would be used for their homeless outreach and a place where they could hold Morning Prayer on a daily basis and Sunday Mass.  The lease was negotiated and renovations were made to accommodate their plans.  They opened the doors in March, 2008 moving forward with a desire to build their counseling practices and church.  Phones were installed, internet connections made and the Altar was set in the rear.  They furnished the back area in a manner which allowed them flexibility. They could set up tables and chairs during the week and hold Mass on Sundays.


Someone once said, “We plan and God laughs.”  Nothing could have been truer. The first day Emmaus Center was opened, 5 people who were homeless came in to check it out.  We had a sign made that read:

Emmaus Center

  • Counseling Center
  • Upper Room Ministries
  • Homeless Outreach

We did no advertising and people came anyway. By the end of the week, the Center was packed with people who were homeless and/or poor.  Ed and Trish started thinking about how they could meet the needs of so many. They even wondered if one could freeze peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Ed and Trish looked at one another and said, “We can’t have a counseling practice here; it seems God wants us to make this a resource center for people.”  And so they readjusted and made a different plan; one they believed was God’s, not theirs.


The ministry today has evolved from those beginning days.  Ed and Trish have maintained the vision of an all volunteer staff in the face of many who advised them that no one can survive without paid employees. Well, the Center has not only survived, it has thrived.  Good people from all over the country, churches and other organizations support their efforts.  Local businesses and food banks supply them with 90% of the food they distribute. (Emmaus Center serves breakfast and lunch daily to anyone who walks in the doors….no questions asked).  There are approximately 1200-1500 meals served each month.  We even had President Obama’s personal receptionist volunteer with us one Thanksgiving Day.

If you’d like to partner with us in this endeavor, please CLICK HERE to make a one-time donation or become a monthly supporter.

In closing, we want everyone to know that we couldn’t have accomplished anything without the grace of God and our loving supporters of people, other churches and organizations. Thank you!

Emmaus Center Today:

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New Emmaus Center

Our Annual Freedom Festivals:

Click here to view our Tenth Annual Freedom Festival (2018)

Click here to view our Ninth Annual Freedom Festival  (2017)

Click here to view our Eighth Annual Freedom Festival (July 12, 2016)

Click here to view our Seventh Annual Freedom Festival (July 7, 2015)

Click here to view our Sixth Annual Freedom Festival (July 11, 2014)

Click here to view our Fifth Annual Freedom Festival (July 10, 2013)

Click here to view our Fourth Annual Freedom Festival (July 11, 2012)

Click here to view our Third Annual Freedom Festival  (July 6th 2011)

Click here to view our Second Annual Freedom Festival  (July 5th 2010)

Click here to view our First Annual Freedom Festival  (July 5th 2009)