Our universal manifesto

As part of an international movement, Emmaus UK and all of its members agree to abide by a universal manifesto.

The 'Universal Manifesto' was adopted at the first Emmaus assembly in 1969. 

It provides a set of rules that all Emmaus communities and groups, no matter where they are in the world, should abide by, uniting Emmaus as a movement. They are:

Our name, “Emmaus”, comes from the name of a village in Palestine where despair was transformed into hope. For all, believers and non-believers alike, this name evokes our shared conviction that only love can unite us and allow us to move forward together.

The Emmaus movement was created in 1949 when men who had become aware of their privileged situation and social responsibilities in the face of injustice and men who no longer had any reason to live crossed paths and decided to take action together to help each other and come to the aid of those who were suffering, in the belief that it is by saving others that you yourself are saved. To this end, the communities were set up, working to live and give. Groups of friends and volunteers were also set up to continue the struggle in the private and public arena.

1. Our law

Our law applies to all humankind and is that on which depends any life worth living, true peace, and joy for the individual and society: “Serve those who are less fortunate before yourself. Serve first those who suffer most."

2. Our conviction

Our conviction is that respect for this law should guide any pursuit of justice and therefore peace among peoples.

3. Our aim

Our aim is to take action to ensure that every person, society and nation can live, have a place and be fulfilled through communication and sharing in equal dignity.

4. Our method

Our method involves creating, supporting and coordinating a system in which everyone, by being free and respected, can meet their own needs and help each other.

5. Our primary means

Our primary means, wherever possible, is the collection work that gives new value to any object and increases the potential to provide emergency relief to help those suffering most.

6. Any other means

Any other means to raise awareness and meet this challenge should also be used to ensure that those suffering most are served first, by sharing their troubles and struggles – whether public or private – until the cause of each ill is eliminated.

7. Our freedom

In the accomplishment of its task Emmaus is not subordinate to any other ideal than that expressed in this manifesto, or to any other authority than that established internally according to its own rules. It acts in conformity with the Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations, and with the just laws of every society and nation, without political, racial, linguistic, spiritual or any other distinction. Nothing else is required of anyone wishing to participate in our action other than the acceptance of the content of this manifesto.

8. Our members

This manifesto constitutes the simple and clearly defined foundation of the Emmaus movement. It should be adopted and applied by any group wishing to become an active member of the movement.

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