What is Fair Trade, and why does it matter?

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This week the theme of peace, love, and justice has echoed In my life. I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts about it and the role the church plays when honoring these three entities. On Sunday morning there is a group studying Rachel Evans’ book A Year of Biblical Womanhood. During the study last Sunday, attention was drawn to our own actions that we can do in daily living that promote peace, love, and justice in the world. An area Rachel highlighted is that of our consumption of fair trade products. If you’ve never heard of fair trade products then let me offer a brief explanation. These are products that are marketed in such a way that the farmers who produce and sustain the crop are fully funded, and that no child labor is taking place. You can find many of these products in the local grocery store. They are marked with a black label that says “fair trade”. Typically these products cost more, but when you purchase these products you are choosing to help sustain local farmers, to help bring awareness to child labor, and often promote women’s equality and fair labor in the workplace.


Just this week an article was released highlighting how much of the chocolate we consume today is done by child labor. As followers of Jesus Christ we need to be aware of what we do and what we consume and how it affects brothers and sisters in Christ. So I’d like to encourage you to begin purchasing fair trade items as often as possible.

The PCUSA has a direct partnership with fair trade and you can buy many products online through their website and on Amazon.

Another way in which we promote peace, love, and justice is through our Soles for Souls program. I can personally attest to how this program helps change the lives of so many people. During my six years at First Presbyterian Church in Fairmont, West Virginia, our congregation did an annual mission project to provide shoes for any child in Marion County during Christmas. One year we had over 700 children receiving shoes.

The church purchased many of the shoes with money that was raised but we also partnered with soles 4 souls and every year we would receive five boxes of shoes to help meet the needs of the kids in rural in Appalachia. So from the generosity of people all over this country, there were children who received a brand new pair shoes for Christmas. I can’t even begin to describe the excitement that we would see on the faces of these children and parents. This mission project has been going on for 28 years and it will continue to go on and be blessed by the generosity and love of others.

And finally, during my time at the Cumberland Presbyterian General Assembly meeting I had the privilege of going to a dinner hosted by the Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home. It is a fund-raising dinner to help promote their ministries and to do the work of peace, love, and justice in the world. I am proud that we are a small part of helping to make children’s lives better as we continue to support this ministry.

OUR MISSION

In response to Christ’s love and example, we serve children and families by providing healing and hope.

CPCH is one agency with interrelated services:
• Residential Care: Children’s Emergency Shelter, Children’s Specialized Residential Care, Family Residential Program
• Non-residential Care: Community counseling & classes

At Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home, children and families find healing and hope.

Together let us continue to be the hands and feet of Christ and do the hard work of the church, promoting peace, love, and justice whenever we have the opportunity. Peace and blessings to you all!

Rev. Elise Renee Neal