Faith organizations have played a pioneering role in Fair Trade and they continue to support Fair Trade projects in developing countries. I hope that by engaging with the local congregations in Boulder, the campaign to make our city a Fair Trade Town will gain considerable strength and momentum.
We will shortly be emailing and phoning Boulder churches, synagogues, the mosque and other faith-based organizations to invite them to join us in supporting Fair Trade in Boulder. In the meantime, here are some thoughts on how we can collaborate.
Events and activities
Events (whether meetings, discussion groups, sermons, introductions to Fair Trade etc), will allow congregation members to explore what Fair Trade is for them and for their church and to shape their participation according to their faith. The question is, what kind of activities would be best suited to faith groups and how can we support them? A couple of ideas…
· Sermons – especially for celebrating Fair Trade Month (October) and Fair Trade Day (May 16, 2011).
· Informational events – such as an introduction to Fair Trade
· Group discussions – perhaps as part of social justice discussions
Making it more tangible
Although it’s early days, it’s clear that we offer more specific suggested activities that can be tailored to each place of worship. Clear outlines or plans for different types of events will help faith groups arrange activities.
· Purpose or aim – is it an informational event? What will attendees know/understand/do afterwards? Is it a thought-provoking event – something to reflect upon?
· Overview & schedule – what is the outline of the event, including time, date, location, number of attendees etc?
· Mini-activities – what activities will take place within the event? Perhaps listen to a speaker, watch a video, coffee-tasting, recipe demonstration, prayer, discussion,
· Resources – what content (text, audios, videos, photos) can be used?
· Guests – who (from outside of the faith group) can be invited to attend? Perhaps a Fair Trade retailer with experiences in Africa or Latin America.
· Faith Specific – how does it specifically relate to the organization’s faith? (see below resources).
· Budget – will it cost anything to do or can it be organized in a voluntary way?
The Fairtrade Foundation in the UK has some very good guides for faith organizations, including suggestions of activities and appropriate prayers… http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/get_involved/campaigns/fairtrade_places_of_worship/default.aspx
In Australia faith organizations can become recognized as Fair Trade Faith Groups and the requirements give some suggestions of what places of worship can do to support Fair Trade. See http://www.fta.org.au/get-involved/worship for further information.
There are already many websites that have very good resources specific to a particular faith…
How can you initiate something?
If you would like your church, synagogue, mosque or spiritual group to play a more active role in this campaign, please do email me (address below).
Stay up to date with the Fair Trade Town Boulder campaign online via…
You can reach me by email (boulderfairtrade [at] gmail.com).
Fair Trade Town Boulder Coordinator