An Introduction to Emmaus
The Emmaus movement began in France in 1949 under the vision and action of a priest, Abbé Pierre. The first companion was a man named George, who had attempted to end his life having been released from a long prison sentence to find that he had lost his family, the community to which he had belonged and any hope of work. He had, to all intents and purposes, lost any reason to live. When George was dragged from the River Seine and taken to the door of Abbé Pierre he was told by the Abbé, “I can’t stop you killing yourself. But you and I can help the mother who comes to my door pleading for help to bring her child off the street.” George became the first Emmaus Companion. Soon a small group of destitute men and women had come together to support each other and to work to relieve the suffering of others who were in greater need than themselves. This became the first Emmaus Community.
Emmaus offers a home
Emmaus offers homeless people a place where they can feel safe and secure, where they can enjoy companionship and the support of a community. Each person has his or her own comfortable room and their own space, whilst living and working within the Community. At Emmaus everyone is accepted for who they are now, not judged on what they might have done in the past. Emmaus is not a religious organisation and men and women of all faiths, or none, are welcomed. Emmaus is a way out of the humiliation of homelessness: a way that offers hope, care and a future.
Emmaus offers work
Each Community has its own money making business and aims to become financially self-supporting. Any profits are donated to those in greater need or used to help set up new Communities. People once considered by society as worthless and a drain on resources can support themselves and, through their own hard work, help others in need.
Emmaus Communities earn their living by the collection and resale of donated furniture and household goods. Some items are refurbished in Community workshops. Emmaus takes pride in its ‘green’ credentials, helping to save waste that would otherwise go to landfill. Companions, as residents are called, are involved in every aspect of the business, driving the van, working in the shop and workshop, and recycling projects such as salvaging valuable metals. Currently there are twenty-one Emmaus Communities in the Britain.
Emmaus offers hope
By living and working in Emmaus people recover their self-respect, discovering for themselves how to take responsibility for their lives as well as helping others less fortunate than themselves.
How can you help?
Support Frodsham Methodist Church 2012 fund raising. In each Magazine we will include the story of someone who has been helped by Emmaus.
If you have friends or family who live close to a Community encourage them to donate furniture or other household goods to support Emmaus. Terry Waite, the President, has the vision of an Emmaus Community in every major city in Britain. Donations of household goods are the lifeblood of an Emmaus Community, they make it self-sufficient.
Find out more by looking at the website, www.emmaus.org.uk.
Blog posts written by the Minister and Members of Frodsham Methodist Church.