On July 2, 1893, the first building of the Emmaus Home at Marthasville was ready for occupancy and later that year, we welcomed our first clients. Our roots connect to what is now Eden Theological Seminary. In 1850, the Kirchenverein des Westens (Synod of the West) of the German Evangelical church opened a seminary to train men as pastors for the many congregations organizing across the American frontier. The seminary opened on land outside of Marthasville, MO, however later moved to the St. Louis area in 1883, leaving the campus buildings unoccupied and unused. Two local Evangelical pastors had been thinking about opening a facility to serve people with epilepsy who could not be cared for in their homes. These leaders connected with another pastor who had experience in the care of people with epilepsy and who knew of similar work being done in Germany. These men formed a Board of Directors with others from the Evangelical Church. It was decided to take over what had been the seminary’s buildings and land. Thus, the Emmaus Home to serve people with epilepsy and intellectual disabilities was born.
Many people with disabilities came to Emmaus to live, and within 5 years, it became clear that another facility was needed. A farm just outside St. Charles, MO was purchased, and a building to house 16-18 residents was constructed. In the fall of 1901, the Emmaus Home at St. Charles opened and received its first resident. Since more women than men were applying to live at Emmaus, the St. Charles campus began by serving women.
The church supported Emmaus in many ways. Some members served on the Board of Directors, making the very first decisions about acquiring land, constructing buildings, hiring administrators, and serving residents*. Some churches gave land and money so that the campuses could expand. And many more contributed food and material goods for campus operations.
While much has changed over 125 years, much more has remained the same – including the deep love that members of the United Church of Christ hold for the clients we serve. We give thanks to the United Church of Christ for their continued support of our mission and ministry. Thanks be to God!
Travelers of Jesus
David was adopted at 21 days old. Later he went to school for testing in Wichita, Kansas and after getting his results, he was placed in one of the first schools opened for people with disabilities. Due to his inability to speak, David received little attention.
David stayed at home until he decided to move to Missouri at age 49. He sought government services to get help with his next step and was pointed to Emmaus. He liked the thought of living on his own and staying close to his family, while being able to make his own decisions.
One of his first decisions, was to get involved with motorcycles. David had always loved bikes and so he joined a motorcycle group as an honorary member.
As time in the group passed, he started to realize this group wasn’t the right fit.
“I could do nothing but wear their name and started feeling ignored. It wasn’t good because I wanted to do something with them, and after 2 years I told my friend I was unhappy to just wear their name, so I left.” David shares.
David’s father went to a church close to where he was living. David started attending and learned it was also a biker church, home to the group Travelers of Jesus. David was at a meeting when Jim, the leader of Travelers, gave the non-members the membership paper. With David’s experience, he thought long and hard about joining another group and when he asked if it was honorary or full membership, Jim responded with “Full.” When David told him that he didn’t own a bike, Jim said, “Don’t worry. Your chair is your bike!” David even adopted the nickname Wildman.
“David came to our church about 5 years ago. His smile can turn someone’s day around, and he lights up our world as much as we do his. Wildman loves to be involved and has blessed us from the start.” says Jim. Everyone treats David as an equal.
Now he gets to impact other people’s lives. David rides for whatever God puts in his path. He’s visited with Great Circle (Boy’s Home) in St. James and serves as a mentor to the kids when the Travelers roll-in on their motorcycles. They share devotions, and he’s witnessed people finding Jesus after an altar call.
It’s a common practice that the Travelers of Jesus bless new bikes as they’re bought, for protection and safety on the roads. David also participates in the Ride for Rocky, which is just one of the charity events that raises money for Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and other local groups. One of his fondest memories with the Travelers of Jesus is when a member bought a sidecar, made some adjustments, and took David for a ride around Westport.
Today, David serves as Sergeant of Arms for the Travelers of Jesus.
Clients Participated in
Worship or Bible Study
Churches & Fellowships Support
Emmaus thru Gifts & Donations