Congregation Spotlight: Walking the Fair Trade Walk at Fellowship
by Diana Renn of Bethesda Lutheran Church in Eugene, Oregon
At our church, Fair Trade represents justice and equality. Every time we make a purchase, we can choose whether the implications of this purchase are equal or just. When I look in a cup of Fair Trade coffee, I see a farmer overcoming poverty, her daughter attending school, her son visiting a medical clinic, and her community benefiting.
Sunday fellowship between services is a BIG deal at Bethesda Lutheran. A full spread of treats accompanies Fair Trade tea, organic Fellowship Blend coffee (made in a percolator with clear instructions on how much coffee), Decaf pillow packs, and Fair Trade sugar packets. In addition to an annual coffee budget, we set out donation baskets asking for a suggested $1.00 a month per person donation.
Pillow Packs have been a game-changer at Bethesda. Volunteers used to skimp on the amount of coffee they used. When placing my first order with Equal Exchange, Phil in Customer Service, recommended the pre-measured pillow packs. Just open the packet, pour it into the filter, and, voila! Twelve cups of coffee, brewed perfectly, every time. Both Decaf and Regular pillow packs sit next to the coffee maker so that no matter who makes the coffee, it tastes the same. Now, the comments we hear are “I love this coffee!”
We feature a Fair Trade sale every second Sunday with a display of coffee, tea, and chocolate bars. We have also added local Fair Trade Coffee Blossom honey. Whenever we introduce a new product, we make sure to serve samples. Our newest addition is Sisters’ Blend coffee. A budget-minded church member has recently come over to the “Fair Trade side” with Sisters’ Blend! She loves the taste and also that we’re helping coffee farmers.
Bethesda Lutheran fully embraces the Fair Trade mission in all that we do. We regularly remind the members of that mission through a bulletin board and newsletter articles. By serving Fair Trade products and offering them for members’ use, Bethesda remains consistently in the top 5% of faith-based users of Equal Exchange products.
What’s in your cup of coffee?