Are you a Fair Trade parish? Church communities in dioceses across the UK and Ireland are working towards this. In London, the Diocese of Westminster's Justice and Peace Commission also hopes to register Westminster as a Fair Trade Diocese. To qualify for Fair Trade status over half the parishes need to be signed up. So far only 55 of Westminster' s 216 parishes have either received their Fair Trade Certificate or are on track to qualify for a Certificate. This means that 54 more need to make the switch to Fair Trade. Could you be one of them? Barbara Kentish of the Justice and Peace Commission said: "Some parishes are super-active, with regular Fair Trade stalls while others try to do a special sale once or twice a year. At the other end of the spectrum, some parishes have told us that serving tea and coffee is not a priority, or that they do not like the taste!' 'While we would not dare dictate what creates the ideal English 'cuppa', we gently remind people that the future of many countries depends on their getting a fair deal for their produce. It is not about cups of tea and coffee, it is about trade justice. A recent Channel 4 film, The Great African Scandal, howed the difference between conditions on a Fair Trade cocoa plantation in Ghana and those not signed up. Quite simply, the non-Fair Trade cocoa is produced with the help of illiterate child labour, while on the Fair Trade plantations the children go to school.' 'Loving our neighbours who produce our tea, coffee and many other products demands that we try to pay them a fair price. Though serving tea and coffee may not be the main purpose of a parish, witnessing to God's justice most certainly is." It is easy to become a Fair Trade Parish. To qualify you need to: -serve Fair Trade tea and coffee at all parish events and meetings -agree to promote Fair Trade more via posters, a stall or regular event -organise an event once a year in Fair Trade fortnight. You will then be registered with the Fairtrade Foundation. The work is not time consuming and anyone can get involved. For further information on Fair Trade see: www.fairtrade.org.uk/ If you are in Westminster Diocese contact Liz Steward or Barbara Kentish at email@example.com or telephone 0208 888 5518.
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