Community Manager Dave Perry brings us up to date on what the Staff and Companions are up to at Emmaus Bristol.
As part of our commitment to serving those most in need, Companions and Staff have been doing three key things:
1) Endeavouring to become more self-sustaining and taking steps to become more ethical in our purchasing, by growing our own food on our allotment, sourcing food locally and buying Fair Trade products whenever possible.
2) We are also becoming more involved in the Worldwide Emmaus Movement. In October, four of us from Emmaus Bristol (including two Companions) attended the Emmaus Europe Regional Assembly in Brussels, which is the decision making body for the Region. It takes place every other year and all the European Communities are represented. The first morning was spent in the European Parliament, listening to and debating with an MEP about Migration. (This is one of the main themes of Solidarity action which was adopted by Emmaus International at the World Assembly in Sarajevo two years ago). We have a window of opportunity to express our feelings about legislation concerning Migration which is going through the European Parliament now. It seeks to make it easier for Governments to return people to their place of origin without taking into account their safety and well-being. We have direct experience here at Emmaus Bristol of people in this situation, who are facing a forced return to a regime which is very likely to be harmful, even fatal, if they return.
3) We have also made links with various organisations around Bristol who have similar aims and have spent some time looking at the issues surrounding Migration and Human Trafficking. Some of the most needy and oppressed people in our society at the moment fall into these categories. Often they have the most difficult problems to overcome and are eligible for the least amount of Government support.
Other highlights of the last few months have been:
- The first ever UK based Emmaus Work Camp, which gave us the chance to work together with people from inside and outside Emmaus (UK and the rest of Europe). We camped in the grounds of Emmaus Village Carlton in Bedfordshire and, over the course of a very enjoyable week, ran bric-a-brac stalls on 3 markets, laid a patio and did an enormous amount of gardening! Some of the planning and logistics, as well as the (Companion) Cooking Coordinator, were provided by Emmaus Bristol. The next Camp is already being planned.
- The Emmaus UK National Assembly was held in Swanwick, Derbyshire at the beginning of September. 150 Companions and Staff from all the UK Communities gathered for a long weekend to share ideas, and plan for the future of the Movement in the UK. Emmaus Bristol Companions were a real credit to the Community, not only participating fully in the discussions but also winning the football!
- In October the official 60th Anniversary of the founding of the Emmaus Movement was celebrated in Paris by 600 representatives of Emmaus from all over the World.