Dave Perry, Community Manager, looks at the Emmaus ethos in the 21st century
As part of an International Movement which is over 60 years old it can be easy to get complacent and “do what we’ve always done”. As the saying goes, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got”, so it is important to keep our minds fresh, keep reviewing what we do and keep looking for a better way. At Emmaus Bristol we have always strived to improve, not accept the status quo but find better ways to follow the Emmaus ethos. The foundations of the Emmaus Movement started by Abbe Pierre are important and we must not forget that we are not a “Homeless Charity” but a Movement which serves those most in need, our workforce and activists being those who themselves have been in need. Companions in 1949 went out onto the streets to help the poor and homeless, even though they were poor and formerly homeless themselves. Companions today are trying to understand that ethos and fit it into today’s modern and frantic world. They serve those in the Methodist Day Centre in Midland Road, they serve people at a Soup Run regularly and they serve our local community in so many ways on a daily basis.
Today’s modern world is not the same as the world that those first Companions were living in and we must remember this. The pressures from legislation, recession, society are all different, so we must continue to innovatively follow the Emmaus ethos in a way that is relevant to today; how would Abbe Pierre act today? I know we would not always be what he would like us to be, but I also know that we try to follow the heart and soul of Emmaus in the way we serve those most in need. We try new ways of living, working and expressing Emmaus, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so, but we always try to do better, we expect more and rely on Companions to “be” Emmaus in Bristol. Specifically, we want to hear how Companions wish to improve what we do, we want to see Companions taking initiative and trying new ways of serving and we want to keep being in the forefront of the Emmaus Movement in Bristol and the UK to be a relevant and useful part of society.