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“Therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” Rom. 13:10

What your church can do

photo of Pat Plant

Pat Plant, Hunger Action Advocate for PC(USA) in San Jose.

Coordinating the Presbyterian Coffee Project in your congregation is a fun and rewarding experience! It's a great way to build fellowship among members of all ages and bring justice to coffee farmers around the world.

The basic way a congregation participates is to serve Equal Exchange during fellowship hour and church events. Many congregations take their participation steps further. We hope these suggestions and creative ideas will assist you in promoting fair trade and improving the lives of small farmers.

Get started

Set your goal (or goals):

  • To serve fair trade coffee and tea at fellowship hour and other church events.
  • To sell fair trade coffee, tea, cocoa and other products to members for home and office use.
  • To use fair trade coffee as a basis for education about economic, social and environmental issues.
  • To sell fair trade coffee and other products as a fundraiser for a local project or the Presbyterian Small Farmer Fund.
  • Create your own goals.

Identify additional members who will volunteer to help coordinate the project.

Get seed money to make the first coffee order — ask the session, Mission Committee, or women’s or men’s group to give.

Order the coffee. Call Equal Exchange at (774) 776-7366 to place your order or order from their online store. Equal Exchange staff can provide expert advice on what coffees are most popular among Presbyterians and instructions for brewing and encouragement as you get your project started.

Start small — order two or three coffees to brew and offer at fellowship hour or adult forums. Consider having a taste test to see what flavors are favorites in your congregation.

Announce your church’s participation through Minutes for Mission, newsletter articles, announcements in the bulletin, etc.

Pass a church resolution to serve only fair trade coffee, tea and cocoa for all church functions.

Keep careful records. Ask the church bookkeeper or accountant for guidance.

Keep going. Serve fair trade coffee every Sunday and have a sales table (or take orders) perhaps the first Sunday of each month or more often as interest grows.

Serve the coffee

When you serve the coffee, tea and cocoa, make educational resources available for the congregation to learn about fair trade and the difference it makes for small-scale farmers and their families. Call the PC(USA) at (800) 728-7228, x5626, for materials. (You may want to build interest and anticipation by educating the congregation about fair trade before you begin serving and selling.)

Create an attractive display for the coffee serving area. A poster and other reproducible materials will be received with your first shipment. Be creative — use Latin American and African fabrics and handcrafts to add color and interest. Beautiful items from around the world are available through SERRV International or any of our partsner organizations in the PC(USA) Enough for Everyone Global Marketplace.

Consider setting out a basket for free-will donations at fellowship hour to help cover the cost of the coffee. Church members generously place their gifts in the offering plate each Sunday; supporting fair trade is another way to help people in need around the world.

Sell the coffee

Make Equal Exchange products available to members for use in their homes and offices by:

  • Holding a Fair Trade Sale (perhaps once a month or more often as interest grows).
  • Creating a buyers’ club.
  • Developing an order form for members to use to pay.
  • Selling during holiday bazaars, church auctions or yard sales and other events.

When selling fair trade coffee, you may choose to include a surcharge on each bag. Use your discretion in determining the amount. The additional money can be reinvested into the project to cover shipping or other costs or gived to a special project.

Design fund-raising projects in your church offering fairly traded coffee, tea, cocoa and chocolate. For fun ideas and helpful tips see Equal Exchange’s document on Fundraising with fair trade.

Educate church members

Announce your church’s participation through Minutes for Mission, newsletter articles, announcements in the bulletin, etc.

Discuss fair trade issues in Sunday school, study groups and youth or adult forums.

Use the hot cocoa mix and chocolate bars to educate children and youth about global issues and fair trade.

Add interest to the project in your congregation by holding a forum or hosting a special speaker. Check this site periodically for announcements regarding fair trade speaker tours that may be coming to your area.

Promote opportunities to go to coffee-growing regions and see firsthand the benefits of fair trade.

Share the good news

Announce your church’s participation through Minutes for Mission, newsletter articles, announcements in the bulletin, etc.

Place an announcement in your local newspaper about your church’s commitment to fair trade. A sample press release is available through emailing Equal Exchange.

Give gift baskets of fairly traded products to welcome new members, show appreciation to faithful volunteers, as Christmas gifts or on other occasions.

Encourage congregations in your presbytery to join the Presbyterian Coffee Project. Contact Enough for Everyone at PC(USA) or Equal Exchange for support.

Offer Equal Exchange at community events, farmers markets or fundraisers. Use the sales to benefit your fundraising project, get others involved and raise awareness about fair trade and the plight of small farmers.

Encourage local businesses and stores to use Equal Exchange products. Contact their organizing staff for educational pamphlets and other materials to share with local restaurants, cafes, natural food stores and supermarkets.

Thank your local businesses that already support fair trade.

Share the good news with neighbors, friends and relatives!

  • When entertaining, serve fairly traded coffee, tea and cocoa, chocolate bars and desserts made with baking cocoa. Recipes are available. You can educate your guests about fair trade while showcasing the quality of the products.
  • You could even hold a Fair Trade House Party with the added goal of raising funds for a church mission project or the Presbyterian Small Farmer Fund.

Students: Take fair trade to your campus. Download the Fair Trade Campus Campaign Guide for use in organizing on your college or seminary campus, compliments of Lutheran World Relief.

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