Our History

Emmanuel Church was birthed from the vision of Emmanuel and Elizabeth Peterson who arrived in Burbank from Illinois in the 1930’s. with other Christians from Scandinavian countries. Pa and Ma Peterson formed a Wednesday night prayer meeting in their home that eventually grew to become the “Home Missions Group of Burbank” with about 50 attendees. However, the closest church to attend was in Pasadena, CA, which was a long, hard drive before the days of freeways. They knew they needed to start a church in Burbank, so Pa Peterson bought an old church building.  The church was originally called the American-Scandinavian Church but eventually was renamed The Emmanuel Church of Burbank.”  The first service was held on June 8, 1941.  In the early 1950’s, Emmanuel Church became a part of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA). The relationship with the EFCA has been mutually supportive for decades and continues today.”

Since 1941, Emmanuel Church has established a long legacy of proclaiming and demonstrating the gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s grace has provided debt-free church facilities that have empowered ministries to adults, teens and children.  Emmanuel Church has a reputation as a church that has always had an outstanding music and worship ministry. The church also has a long history of supporting World Missions around the world. Through it all, the Lord has provided strong, Bible teaching pastors and godly and compassionate leaders.  Historically, Emmanuel has been a multigenerational church of people of all ages and stages of life, a distinctive that continues today. 

As Emmanuel Church is going into its 8th decade of witness and service to Burbank, it is led by Dr. Brian S. Chan, a new, visionary Lead Pastor with a heart to see Emmanuel foster personal, relational, communal, cultural, and global flourishing.  

Today, Emmanuel Church is a home to know God and be known.



Ma and Pa Peterson arrive in Burbank in 1929

They join other Christians from Scandinavian countries for a home prayer meeting.


The prayer meeting becomes The Home Mission Group of Burbank in the 1930’s.

Pa Peterson buys the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Burbank

The building is restored and is called The Emmanuel Church of Burbank.


Emmanuel Church celebrated its first service on June 8, 1941.

1940's - 1960's

During the 1940’s, 50’s & 60’s a new sanctuary, a large Christian Education building, and a gymnasium were built.  Adult, teen, and children’s ministries begin to grow.  Emmanuel Church joined the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) denomination.


Since the 1970’s there has been strong ministries to adults, children and teens.

Since the 1970’s, Emmanuel Church has supported many missionaries around the world.

Every decade there have been many short-term missions’ teams sent around the world.


Since the 1980’s a team has ministered in Tijuana once a month which continues today.

During the 1980’s a large, successful sports ministry is initiated which brings many families to the church.


During the 2000’s ministries to the local homeless and the incarcerated were initiated as well as providing affordable housing to widows and the needy.


In 2019, Dr. Brian S. Chan followed other excellent pastors who God called to serve at Emmanuel Church.

Brain Chan is now initiating a new, contemporary vision for Emmanuel Church