Making the case for seeking the Kingdom of God through our church catering supplies. Why not adapt this short summary for your own church?
Your kingdom coffee come…
Coffee – that glorious liquid. Whether it’s the fragrant aroma wafting up your nostrils; the heavenly taste tantalising your tastebuds; or the caffeine buzzing round your brain. Or maybe it’s the combination of all three. And ditto for tea, if that’s your tipple of choice. Between the two drinks, we get through a lot in a year as a church. But what of the people who produce our tea and coffee, mostly in parts of the world a lot less well-off than we are? Are they savouring the fruits of their labours or does it leave a bitter taste in their mouth?
Sadly, international trade in tea, coffee and many other products has too often exploited those involved in the process. That’s why Fairtrade was set up: to guarantee a stable, minimum price; to support the development of democratic producer groups, such as co-ops; to ensure transparent and accountable trade; to end child and forced labour in food supply chains, among other things.
…your will be drunk…
Traidcraft has been one of the pioneers of Fairtrade production in the UK since it was set up in 1979. A Christian company and charity, it exists to extend the Kingdom of of God by ‘fighting poverty through trade’. As such, it seeks to create not just economic value in the form of profits – most of which is ploughed back into supporting Fairtrade producers in the developing world – but social value too: it campaigns to change unfair trade rules and educates consumers about the importance of trading fairly. Traidcraft has a particular interest and expertise in supporting Fairtrade catering in churches.
…at church as it is in Heaven…
Choosing Fairtrade options for our church catering – say, tea, coffee and sugar initially – and perhaps Traidcraft as our supplier of choice, is an exciting opportunity to extend our passionate pursuit of the Kingdom of God into new areas: not just the community on our doorstep but communities on the other side of the world; not just the people who serve our tea and coffee every Sunday but the people who grow our tea and coffee every day; not just the miraculous, but the mundane.
Fairtrade coffee does not mean
sacrificing quality. We also have a
duty to ensure suppliers are given a
fair price for their work. We would
expect it for ourselves.
Stephen Hillis, coffee snob
But this step requires us to engage with a number of ideas. Firstly, that helping the poor shouldn’t be just with occasional charity – the 10% we give away – but with everyday acts of justice – the 90% we spend on food, clothes, etc. Secondly, that the cheapest option isn’t always the best option. Fairtrade costs more because of its high standards: it’s not that it’s too expensive but rather that unfairly traded goods are too cheap.
Please think and pray about these issues; please pass this on when you’ve finished with it; and please consider these words from Proverbs 3:27:
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,when it is in your power to do it.”