Labor Day weekend resources
Psalm 24 reminds us “The Earth is God’s and all that is in it; the world and those who live within it.” Labor Day is an opportunity for the church to reflect upon the church’s role in ensuring just and sustainable work that glorifies God and promotes the well-being of earth and all God’s people.
For more than a decade the PC(USA) has worked in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and given birth to a comprehensive new model of sustainable agriculture: the Fair Food Program. Through this program, farmworkers, growers, and some of the nation’s largest corporate buyers are collaborating to improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers, guarantee the highest level of social responsibility for corporate buyers and establish a new and improved image for Florida tomatoes in an increasingly competitive marketplace. This is the context from which these actions and reflections for Labor Day Weekend emerge.
TAKE ACTION: Over this Labor Day weekend, but especially on September 1, Christians across the country will be participating in International Justice Mission’s “Recipe for Change,” calling on Publix, Kroger and Ahold Supermarket to help end modern slavery in the fields by joining the Fair Food Program. Learn more and also stay tuned to www.ciw-online.org to learn about other weekend actions which you can join.
REFLECT and PRAY: The following reflections and prayers have been developed by Presbyterians involved in the Campaign for Fair Food. May they inspire, prod and bring hope toward that day when it will be “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Victory Cheesecake: Finding Our Courage and Stretching for Justice
The Rev. Heidi Worthen Gamble, Mission Advocate and Hunger Action Enabler for the Presbytery of the Pacific, recounts how, through engaging Trader Joe’s and seeing them join the Fair Food Program, her young children came to understand and believe that change is possible and it involves us.
I Dream of Immokalee
In this moving article written for Horizons Magazine, Cheryl Queen a member of Myers Park Presbyterian Church and the Vice President of Communications for Compass Group a food service corporation which participates in the Fair Food Program, reflects on how she and Compass were challenged and changed by meeting face-to face with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
Real Commitment, Real Change
Sue Carter is a member of Overbrook Presbyterian Church in Columbus, OH and the founder of OH Fair Food. She has mobilized Presbyterians and other people of faith and conscience across the state in the Campaign for Fair Food. Sue played a pivotal role in helping to organize this year’s and last year’s public witness at Kroger headquarters in Cincinnati during the company’s annual meeting and participated in the Fast for Fair Food at Publix headquarters in Spring of 2012. In this essay she reflects on human rights and our responsibilities to one another as children of God for creating conditions of work that are just and sustainable.
Reflections on the Fast for Fair Food at Publix Headquarters
Susan Sampson, member of Seffner Presbyterian Church in Seffner, Florida reflects on her participation in the 6-day Fast for Fair Food, March 5-10, 2012 outside Publix supermarket headquarters in Lakeland, Florida. The fast was a direct moral appeal by the CIW and its allies for Publix to recognize its role in helping to end the poverty and exploitation faced by farmworkers. In vivid prose, Susan recounts and reflects on this profound public witness. See photos and news of the Fast for Fair Food on the CIW’s website. Read about Presbyterian participation.
A Prayer for Honest-to-God Work
The Rev. Joe Gilmore, pastor of South Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry, NY, has composed a lyrical, haunting prayer for the church, that we might be “called alive” by God to a work worthy of our Creator. Joe and his congregation are active in engaging Stop & Shop supermarkets, owned by Ahold. They have joined the CIW in public witness and Joe has led two “pray-ins” where people of faith gather around the store’s tomato aisle and pray that Stop & Shop will join the Fair Food Program.
Prayer for the Church at Work
This prayer for the church was written by the Rev. Noelle Damico, Associate for Fair Food in the Presbyterian Hunger Program. It was published in Prayers for a New Social Awakening by Westminster/John Knox Press in 2008.
This prayer, which is in both English and Spanish, lifts up the exodus of the Hebrews from slavery as an image for dignity and hope we experience at the communion table and as a reminder of our covenant obligation to live justly with one another.
Labor Day Litany
In 2011, the Rev. Libby Campbell, Associate Chaplain at Eckerd College prepared the following litany and prayers. Libby and students from Eckerd have been stalwart supporters of the Campaign for Fair Food. Libby participated in the Fast for Fair Food this past spring at Publix corporate headquarters in Lakeland, Florida.