Companion Gary is heading to Uruguay on Saturday 7 May to represent Emmaus Oxford at the Emmaus World Assembly, which takes place from Monday 9 to Saturday 14 May.

The Emmaus World Assembly happens every four years in a different location and this year there are 384 delegates from 34 countries coming together to discuss, debate and connect. During the week, Emmaus members will exchange ideas and decide on the 2021-2025 guidelines to strengthen the Emmaus movement, tackle the causes of injustice and keep our heritage alive.

Debates during the week will be on the environmental, economic, social and democratic challenges facing our movement today, the responses that we can develop collectively, and how we can preserve the values, principles and practices which have made our movement strong and unique – community, work, welcome, self-sufficiency, awareness-raising, and collaboration, particularly with the most excluded people in society.

Gary joined Emmaus Oxford as a companion in 2017 after spending six months sleeping in his car. Within a week of finding out about Emmaus, he was accepted at our community and hasn’t looked back since. Gary mainly works in our second-hand store, on the vans collecting and delivering furniture, or helping with eBay.

At Emmaus, Gary has completed two NVQs in Customer Service and Warehousing and got his First Aid qualification. After being at Emmaus for about a year, Gary started to feel like it was time to give something back to others in need. He suggested that we start a homeless outreach evening, which has now turned into a weekly session led by Gary where we distribute essential items and hot food to people who are homeless or in temporary accommodation. Upon returning from Uruguay, Gary will be moving out to live independently.

There’s a packed schedule at the Emmaus World Assembly, with workshops, discussions and cultural events taking place. We’re very excited to hear all about Gary’s experience when he returns!