Our efforts to drive down prices have made things cheaper – but at a terrible price. In so many different parts of the world folks work for pennies an hour so that we can buy an inexpensive T-shirt or put on some highly marketed and very expensive sport shoe. Some of these folks are children and are essentially indentured servants of ours.
Our Christian values rightly squirm when we hear about the terrible conditions and the paltry wages that people must accept in order to meet our desires. It is this struggle that led the Presbytery of Baltimore to Overture the General Assembly in 2008 and to partner with other ethical people to deal with this dilemma.
This Guide to Just Purchasing not only provides the rationale for our efforts to bring justice into the economy and lives of the poorest of the poor, but also provides us the tools we need to be more ethical consumers. Many of us in our churches, camps, and conference centers find ourselves buying products that are routinely made by those our economic system oppresses.
You will find a wide variety of vendors who will provide you and me with the goods we need in our ministries and with the assurance that these good were produced justly. In many cases you will also be able to buy locally.
Christ calls us to live out our faith. This is one way we can do this in our ministries. I commend this guide and its efforts to you – and invite you to join the Sweat-free community and engage in Just Purchasing so that together we can practice our faith in the marketplace.
The Rev. Dr. Peter K. Nord
Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Baltimore
P.S. from PHP: Please contact the vendors you are considering to ask about their current practices, as things can change over time.
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We wish to thank the many Presbyterians in congregations, camps and conference centers that gave of their time to help produce this guide. We also wish to acknowledge the following people for their help in shepherding this vision from a General Assembly Overture in 2008 to the manual that you have in your hands today.
* Deb Milcarek, Associate for Mission and Justice, Presbytery of Baltimore
* Bjorn Claesen, Executive Director of SweatFree Communities
* Andrew Kang Bartlett, Associate for the Presbyterian Hunger Program, PC(USA)
* Jesse Stewart, Researcher
* Mark Thomson, Associate, Creative Services, PC(USA) – Graphic Design
Photo credits: Sweat Free Communities & Presbyterian Hunger Program
Published by Presbytery Baltimore with the Presbyterian Hunger Program and SweatFree Communities