Fair Trade Event Reflects Good Stewardship Theme

Post a Comment » Written on October 29th, 2008     
Filed under: News
PEABODY, MA (October 29, 2008) – West Peabody Community Covenant Church hosted an interfaith event on Sunday to promote fair and environment-friendly trade.

More than 35 vendors participated in the fair. Items sold ranged from coffee and chocolate to pottery and poetry, says pastor Joel Anderle.

A local clergy association and a group from Gordon College’s Lynn campus sponsored the event. Anderle is affiliated with both.

The clergy included the rabbi from a local temple, members of an area rabbinical association, and those representing Roman Catholic parishes, an Orthodox congregation, and several area Protestant churches. “It’s always a privilege to share in God’s work with God’s people of other faiths,” says Anderle.

Although the different groups may disagree on some theological issues, they all can agree on many moral and ethical issues, Anderle says. The fair gave people a fresh opportunity to consider their shopping habits at the beginning of the holiday season.

“The reality is that we all spend money on stuff all the time – particularly for holidays and gifts,” Anderle says. “If we chose to spend that money more thoughtfully and conscientiously, we’d be doing more of God’s work. To reconsider how we invest, who receives, who is hurt, who wins and loses because of our purchases is essential to Christian stewardship and faithful Christian practice.”

Anderle adds, “Our money is a significant mission field. How we spend changes the world – for good or bad.”

The fair enabled attendees to contribute to that change locally and globally. By purchasing locally grown meat and produce, consumers help reduce fuel costs for transporting goods and also strengthen the community, Anderle says.

Purchasing fair trade goods from overseas “helps eliminate poverty, develop sustainable education and healthcare – particularly maternal and child healthcare,” Anderle adds.

One of the vendors at the fair, for example, was Sari Bari, an Indian business that helps women leave the sex trade and recover their lives by selling items they have produced, such as blankets and handbags.

The rabbinical association included information on their new project to deepen understanding of kosher philosophy. In the wake of a raid in May on a kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa that was found to mistreat and abuse workers, the rabbis want “kosher” to stipulate whole life stewardship of workers, animals, ritual, and justice, Anderle says.

The event was such a success that plans already are under way to hold another, Anderle says.

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