Extraordinary Coordinators at Monona UMC

Kay Mackie of Monona United Methodist Church shows off her fair trade table
By Susan Sklar: Interfaith Program Manager at Equal Exchange

This past year, during the pandemic, the Monona United Methodist Church in Wisconsin, had its best sales ever. The church sold $9,000 of Equal Exchange products, $2,000 above the previous year. This was in spite of no group gatherings and virtual church services. And it’s not even a large church–there are only about 300 members. Maybe sales were so strong because of the fact that the church has built up momentum over 15 years and were determined to get through the pandemic. And maybe it’s due to Kay Mackie‘s determined leadership and her congregation’s commitment to small farmers and alternative trade. This year Kay will be retiring from her role and passing the program baton to two new coordinators. We wanted to share some of Kay’s story with you.

Monona UMC fair traders (L to R): Sally Buffet, Kay Mackie, Jackie Hull

For a decade and a half, Kay always kept people in the congregation well informed about the mission of Equal Exchange. Each month, she produced an article in the church newsletter called the “Java Jive” that would highlight a new topic about an aspect of EE.  On the day that products were sold once a month, Kay would give a two minute talk at the beginning of services to spotlight new  products. And she put together a great team of 6-8 people who supported the project by helping to set up, sell products, and put things away. People really liked to participate together. Now that she is due to retire, folks from that committee will keep the mission going. 


The fair trade sale table at Monona United Methodist Church

In past years at Monona UMC there was a small table with Equal Exchange products in fellowship hall. When the pandemic started the team set up a table that was much more visible in the church narthex, or foyer with instructions for use. The church was open every day from 9am to 2pm so people could buy EE products when ever they needed them. Different groups used the building including mail and package delivery people who also bought products. Everyone left checks or cash in the box on the table. Each week the money was collected, there was never a problem with any missing money. 

We honor Kay Mackie, an Equal Exchange Coordinator Extraordinaire. When people ask Kay why she has been so committed to the EE ministry she will say that she is a social justice advocate an environmental advocate and a political advocate. She also describes herself as a person of faith. She saw her role of helping small farmers as a way to serve God and God’s people, and planet.

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