Congregations

MAFTTI is not a church project per se but draws a considerable amount of support from a number of Christian congregations in the Mankato area. Why should they involved in Fair Trade at all? Each would have to answer that in their own terms, but some of the ideas would likely be these:

o   Fair Trade is an aspect of Christian mission.
o   Fair Trade helps people move beyond giving only to charity and working for justice.
o   Fair Trade offers the opportunity for Christians to think of all their resources in Stewardship terms, not just their giving on Sundays, however generous it may be.

Interest in and commitment to the Fair Trade movement is found in churches across the theological spectrum.    This is the result of a convergence between the “liberal” emphasis on social justice and the “conservative” emphasis on evangelism.  Matthew 25 provides the meeting point and a new basis for a holistic commitment.

The Fair Trade Towns idea provides a mechanism for churches to demonstrate their commitment to the values of Fair Trade outside their walls and give another new answer to the old question, “Who is my neighbor?”

At the same time as globalization is changing traditional patterns of economic production and trade, so it is shrinking the world and enabling consumers in the USA to get to know producers in the Global South (and vice versa) in new ways that have great potential for building more fruitful lives everywhere.

RELIGIOUS CONGREGATIONS

Congregations are one of the four areas of concentration of the national Fair Trade Campaigns body that seeks to stimulate and coordinate Fair Trade action among religious groupings in the USA.

Fair Trade Campaigns material for Congregations is here.

Two churches in the Mankato area have been recognized by Fair Trade Campaigns as having fulfilled the criteria for 'Fair Trade Congregations' - First Congregational Church/UCC and St.John's Episcopal Church.

In 2009-10, prior to the instigation of a national Fair Trade Congregations scheme, MAFTTI recognized several local 'Fair Trade Churches' on the basis of their commitment to criteria developed by the Fairtrade Foundation in the United Kingdom. These were

Bethlehem Lutheran ChurchCentenary United Methodist Church
Christ the KIng Lutheran ChurchFirst Congregational Church/UCC
First Presbyterian ChurchGrace Lutheran Church
Hope Interfaith CenterSt. John's Episcopal Church
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 

In 2014 MAFTTI gave special recognition to the School Sisters of Notre on the campus of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Mankato, who published their own Declaration for Fair Trade at the start of Fair Trade Month.

SSND Declaration, October 2014

 Fair Trade Resources for Churches

These materials have been locally produced  and are free for adaptation and use with appropriate acknowledgement: They will be augmented by others as they become available.

Sunday School
Fair Trade Lesson Plans 1-7

 *************

Here are links to US churches and church agencies that have resources on Fair Trade:

Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America
Catholic Relief Services
CRS Fair Trade Wedding Blessings
Episcopal Church of the United States
Lutheran World Relief
Mennonite Central Committee
Presbyterian Church (USA)
PC(USA) Alternative Thanksgiving Ideas
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Church of Christ
United Methodist Church
UMC – Halloween

***************
Here are three sources of church-related educational and worship material
from the United Kingdom:

Christian Concern for One World
Small ecumenical agency in southern England resourcing churches and individuals on globalization and other issues including Fair Trade.

Fairtrade Foundation
The UK member of Fairtrade International and hub of the national Fair Trade Towns movement, the Foundation recognizes over 7,500 'Fair Trade Churches' and also works with other faith traditions. Here are some Ideas for Worship no longer on the Foundation's website.

Traidcraft           
Agency with strong church connections that acts as a source of Fair Trade products (like SERRV) but also works directly with Fair Trade producers in the Africa and Asia and is active in policy and campaigning work in the UK.
'Big Brew' Worship Resources are here.

Other sources
Christian Aid (Ecumenical development agency)
: Prayers about ending Poverty
Church in Wales (Anglican): Fair Trade Service, February 23, 2014