Universal Manifesto

The name Emmaus comes from the village in Palestine where two despairing disciples found hope again.

For all of us, whatever our background, it symbolises a shared conviction that love alone can unite us and enable us to move forward together.

The Emmaus Movement was born in November 1949, when people with a sense of their own privileged position and personal responsibility in the face of injustice encountered others who no longer had any reason for living.

They decided to join forces to help both each other and others in need, in the belief that only in saving others can one save oneself.
To achieve this they set up communities whose members work both to earn a living and to give to others. They are supported by groups of friends and volunteers committed to public and private action.


Our Guiding Principle is one which is essential to the whole human race if there is to be any life worth living, and any true peace and happiness, either for the individual or society: serve those worse off than yourself before yourself. Serve the most needy first.

Our Conviction is that respect for this principle must be the driving force behind any search for justice, and therefore peace, in the world.

Our Aim is to act so that each individual, every society, every nation may live, flourish and achieve fulfilment in a spirit of giving, sharing and mutual respect.

Our Method is to create, support and promote communities in which all feel free and respected, and where they can meet their own needs and help each other.

Our Primary Means wherever possible is through recycling. This form of work prevents waste as well as increasing the possibilities for providing emergency relief to those in need.

Every Other Means of arousing consciences and of presenting the challenge of Emmaus must be used to help and persuade others to help those who are most in need, by sharing their hardship and their struggles, both public and private, until the causes of all their ills are removed.

Our Freedom. In carrying out this task Emmaus recognises no ideal other than that expressed in this Manifesto and no other authority other than its own constitution. It acts in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations and with the just laws of every society and every nation. It makes no distinction on political, racial, linguistic, religious or any other grounds. Acceptance of this Manifesto is the only requirement of anyone wishing to share in our work.

This Manifesto constitutes the basis of the Emmaus Movement. It must be adopted and applied by every group wishing to become an active member.