Fairtrade, Beatitudes and Sanctuary!

We met together in the bandstand on a grey, wet Sunday morning, and began our worship with the following:

Great Ocean Road at night milky way viewGod of the Universe,
You made the heavens and the earth,
So we do not call our home merely “planet earth.”
We call it your Creation, a Divine Mystery,
a Gift from Your Most Blessed Hand.
The world itself is your miracle.
Bread and vegetables from earth are thus also from heaven.
Help us to see in our daily bread your presence and be thankful.

Upon this place
May your stars rain down their blessing.
May you send rain and sunshine upon the land.
Grant us the humility to touch the earth.
That we might become more human.
That we might mend our rift from your Creation.
That we might know the sacredness of the gift of life—and be grateful.

Thanks be to God.
Who made the world teeming with variety,
Of things on the earth, above the earth, and in the waters.
Thanks be to God.
For the many kinds of plants, trees, and fruits.
We celebrate.
For all living things
We rejoice.
We find ourselves eclipsed by the magnitude
Of your generosity and mystery.
And we give you thanks and praise.

(From ‘A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals’  by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Enuma Okoro)

continue in worship for a few moments……

Christ, in our coming

And in our leaving,

Be the Door and the Keeper

For us

And all who visit this place,

This day and every day.

Amen.

As it’s  Fairtrade Fortnight we shared the latest news about Fairtrade sales in the UK.

Fairtrade sales enjoy a boost.

We are in the middle of Fairtrade Fortnight and the good news is that Fairtrade sales rose in 2016 for the first time since 2013.

Revenues from produce carrying the Fairtrade Mark – which guarantees a fair price to producers and an additional payment for use on social projects, rose by 2% to £1.64 billion in the UK last year.

The sales will provide payments of about £30 million in premiums, on top of the price paid for the goods, for use in projects such as schools, clinics and clean water provision.

Sales of bananas, by far the biggest Fairtrade product in the UK, rose 6% with strong sales at the likes of Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and the Co-op, which only stock the Fairtrade version of the fruit. Tesco, the UK’s biggest retailer, began stocking Fairtrade bananas for the first time. Lidl also began stocking Fairtrade tea and coffee. Coffee sales rose 8%, while Starbucks ‘Seattle Best Coffee’ which it delivers to offices and other businesses now carries the Fairtrade Mark.

Tea and cocoa sales slid 3%, partly as a result of changing consumer tastes. It is hoped cocoa sales will get a boost this year as the Co-op becomes the first UK retailer to switch to using only Fairtrade cocoa in all its own-brand chocolate products, from the sprinkles on its doughnuts to the chocolate chips in its triple-chocolate cookies. The change, covering more than 200 products will be completed by the end of May, leading to a fivefold increase in the amount of Fairtrade cocoa sourced by the Co-op.

Just a moment

It starts with a change20150212_172726

So outwardly insignificant

That no one would notice

Except the person

Behind you in the aisle.

Just a moment

When instead of seeing

Rows of labels

On a supermarket shelf

You imagine the people

Behind them,

Tilling the earth,

Sowing the seed,

Gathering the crops.

And you pause,

Wondering,

What their names are,

Where they live,

What difference it will make

If your hand picks up

This box instead of that,

Wondering: how do I

Love these neighbours?

Can I help change?

The child’s long journey for water,

Her mother’s lack of healthcare,

The prospect her father faces

Of another year unable

To feed his family well?

Just a moment.

And the person behind you,

Her impatient baby

Squirming in the trolley,

May never realise

That in that brief hesitation,

Lives hung in the balance.

(with thanks to the Fairtrade Foundation)

Next we shared how valiant Christians were living out their faith in the US.

Sanctuary churches.

Hundreds of churches in the US have said they are willing to provide sanctuary for undocumented migrants threatened with deportation.  About 300 churches nationally have come forward, according to the Philadelphia-based New Sanctuary Movement. A growing number of synagogues are also involved in actions to prevent deportations.

The Sanctuary Movement is a religious and political campaign in the United States that began in the early 1980s to provide safe-haven for Central American refugees fleeing conflict, violence and persecution. It responded to federal immigration policies that made obtaining asylum difficult for Central Americans, coming from countries with regimes supported by the Reagan administration.

Meanwhile, about two dozen cities – including New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia and Los Angeles – have declared themselves “sanctuary cities”, with mayors pledging to refuse to cooperate with federal immigration orders that could lead to deportations. Trump has said he will block federal funding to such cities.

According to Peter Pedemonti of the New Sanctuary Movement, “people are very scared. There are waves of despair, anger and disbelief at Trump’s election and the rise of white supremacism. This is a very shocking part of US society that was in the shadows before, and with Trump it has come into the mainstream. It’s very disturbing.”

Pedemonti added: “The faith community has a specific role to stand up and speak out, and offering sanctuary is a bold way of doing that.”

Several Anglican Bishops have offered sanctuary. The Right Rev Kirk Smith, the bishop of Arizona, said the church would “promote a safe space for those who are feeling vulnerable and afraid”. The bishops of Virginia told congregants: “We stand with you not only symbolically, but will be there to stand with you literally if and when the time comes.” The diocese of Oregon pledged that its churches would be “sanctuaries for those whose safety and security is threatened”.

Alison Harrington, pastor of the Southside Presbyterian church in Tucson, Arizona, said the number of churches joining the sanctuary movement was “growing every day as people are horrified at what lies ahead, knowing that Trump has said he’s going after immigrants”.

The Beatitudes  –  Brian McLaren & Rob Bell.

The poor and those in solidarity with them – God is on your side.

Those who mourn and feel grief about the state of the world – God is on your side.

The non-violent, gentle and humble – God is on your side.

Those who hunger and thirst for the common good – God is on your side.

The merciful and compassionate – God is on your side.

Those characterised by sincerity, kindness and generosity – God is on your side.

Those who work for peace and reconciliation – God is on your side.

Those who keep seeking justice – God is on your side.

Those who stand for justice and truth as the prophets did, who refuse to be quiet even when slandered, misrepresented, threatened, imprisoned or harmed – God is on your side!

Using the following liturgy we shared bread and wine:

What do we bring to Christ’s table?

We bring bread,

made by many people’s work,

from an unjust world

where some have plenty

and most go hungry.

At this table all are fed,

And no-one is turned away.

Thanks be to God.

 

What do we bring to Christ’s table?

We bring wine,

made by many people’s work,

from an unjust world

where some have leisure

and most struggle to survive.

At this table all share the cup

of pain and celebration,

and no-one is denied.

Thanks be to God.

 

This bread and wine shall be for us the body and blood of Christ!

Our witness against hunger,

Our cry against injustice,

And our hope for a world

Where God is fully known

And everyone is fed and loved.

Thanks be to God.

In the pouring rain we adjourned to Cool River Cafe for what else but Fairtrade coffee!

Fairtrade coffee

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