I was pleased to be asked to write this article for your newsletter.
Being a hostage gave me a great deal of sympathy for those members of society who find themselves homeless because like them I was ignored, diminished and made to feel powerless. I have been involved with Emmaus since I opened the first Emmaus Community in Cambridge in 1992 with Lord Runcie former Archbishop of Canterbury. There are now 23 Communities up and running, including Emmaus Preston and there are several other groups working towards opening new Communities.
I feel very proud of all that the Emmaus Movement has achieved. It’s an organisation like no other in the way that it restores in people who have been marginalised a sense of their own worth and potential. It is no exaggeration to say that Emmaus changes lives. It has helped hundreds of homeless and unemployed people to find new purpose.
Residents of Emmaus Communities are required to work at the business of collecting, refurbishing and selling donated household goods in order to support themselves and each other, but they also contribute to other charities and organisations by donating some of their income and time. In this way, people who have previously been thought of as drains on society are able to make a positive contribution and to regain their sense of dignity. Some residents move on to new lives outside of Communities, others chose to stay and to help new members of the Community. Many residents become paid members of staff within the organisation.
Having an Emmaus Community in a neighbourhood means that not only is there a reliable and effective service for homeless people, but there is also a source of good quality furniture for those on low incomes. The voluntary work undertaken by the residents of Emmaus Communities also serves to enhance the lives of those living nearby. Emmaus residents have helped restore neglected playgrounds, have cooked meals for pensioners and have taken groups with disabilities on outings, to name just a few of the activities undertaken.
I would like to thank the members of Frodsham Methodist Church for their support and for making Emmaus their charity of the year. Your contribution makes a real and lasting difference.
Terry Waite, C.B.E.
President, Emmaus UK
Written by the Minister & Members