A couple of months ago our church leadership began a conversation. Some of them had recently watched a movie, Journey of the Universe, that told a story about our relationship with one another and the cosmos. While the film was enjoyed, it raised the question with many of us “So what are we going to do about it?” Of immediate concern was the impact that we as an organization have on the world around us. For example, each Sunday after church we throw away 50-60 styrofoam cups which take, as best as we can tell, 500 years to decompose in land fills. We also wondered about the coffee itself. We knew there were ways we could insure that those who were harvesting and processing our coffee were receiving a fair price for their work.
This is where the idea for using Equal Exchange products for our fellowship hour and Community Dinner was born. We are currently using Fellowship Blend coffee, a coffee that is produced by farmers in coops that are paid a fair wage for what they produce and who implement sustainable, organic methods of production. We have also begun using cups that use a corn-based lining instead of petroleum-based plastic and are made with fiber from sustainably harvested wood.
“C’mon, Pastor,” you might be thinking, “how much difference can it possibly make if our church uses this stuff?” Well, honestly, that remains to be seen. However, here are the directions in which it nudges us:
We are participating, with others around the world in changing our habits. Each Sunday, we will be reminded, that we are using a little bit fewer resources and contributing a little bit more to the well being of the earth and humanity. Maybe consider bringing your own mug on Sundays as a further sustainable practice!
We are practicing hospitality by serving a superior product to our guests on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings. Like Jesus’ wine at the wedding at Cana, we are serving our guests the best!
Not only are farmers being paid a fair wage, for every pound of coffee we buy, Equal Exchange donates 15 cents to the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries’ Small Farmer Fund.
This is yet another way that we answer the call to practice faith, mercy, and justice in community!
You can contribute to this project by dropping an extra buck or two into the coffee hour basket or making a donation labeled “Equal Exchange.”