Praying and Preaching about Fair Trade

Are you putting together a service for Fairtrade Fortnight or World Fair Trade Day? Would you like some resources for praying and preaching? Below is some advice:you can also download the information in a pdf.

Lord God,
In the fields of the poor
Even when abundant fruits ripen,
Injustice sweeps them away,
And families hunger.

Help us to share
The fruits of Your bounty
So that all Your family may benefit
From Your gracious gifts.

Based on Proverbs 13:23

Prayer

Praying for Fair Trade allows us to bring trade issues before God, asking that God’s love and justice will transform the rules and practices of trade. We pray that God will assist those suffering because of unfair trade … those developing new ways of trading … those making choices about what they sell or buy.

CCOW has collected a number of the prayers we’ve provided for Church Action Guides and other occasions over the years in a single sheet, available here. We also have Fair Trade prayer points that were provided by Asha Handicrafts, a Fair Trade Organisation in India, which you can download here. If you’d like to give your congregation something to take away, we have a prayer card based on the prayer at the top of this page. You can get up to 50 copies free (though donations for postage and packing are appreciated).

The Fairtrade Foundation has annually produced a “Church Action Guide,” with prayers, Bible studies, and other helpful material. Several past guides – 2009, 2011, 2012 – are online, and we also have hard copies of materials from these and other years. Let us know if you’d like some.

There are two really good sets of material for a Fairtrade service from The Church in Wales. Download them here and here.

Traidcraft’s “Church Resources” webpage has links to an array of materials including materials for Lent, Mothering Sunday, Harvest, Advent and Christmas. Methodist churches may be particularly interested in the Covenant Service. Some of Traidcraft’s best prayer resources are no longer on their website, but have been archived in the Diocese of London’s Fairtrade campaign “Prayer and Worship Resources” page. One World Week also has posted a full service that people connected with Traidcraft produced for OWW in 2008.

CAFOD has a collection of resources – including Scripture, reflections, excerpts from Catholic Social Teaching and prayers – around trade and Fairtrade. You can find them on the CAFOD website here (scroll down). All We Can (MRDF) has a Fairtrade prayer in its prayer resources and a Fairtrade-related reflection on Mark 5; Christian Aid includes its Fairtrade prayer in a section on just economies, trade and tax.

New Zealand’s Church World Service has an excellent worship service, which ties into Pentecost, here.

Want to try something more informal than a written prayer? The Sanctuary Centre has ideas for prayer stations. Or you could follow a suggestion by Peter Graystone and hand everyone a tea bag as they come into church. During prayer time, ask them to hold it, to sniff the aroma of tea, to pray for all who have grown, picked and transported the tea – and for justice in the tea trade over all. CCOW has also done a “cuppa” prayer that focuses on the impact of climate change on tea farmers, fluctuating prices on dairy farmers and trade rules on sugar farmers. Or you could show a powerpoint sequence of images as a focus for your prayers. Traidcraft has a variety of presentations with very strong pictures. CCOW can also email you images upon request.

Sermons

If you’re preparing a sermon in a church that uses the Revised Common Lectionary, you might want to look at the 2012 Church Action Guide (see above), where Elizabeth Perry offers notes on the lectionary texts. (2012 and 2015 have the same readings ….)

CCOW is beginning to put together a “bank” of sermon notes and sermons. You can find some interesting ones online:

We’d love it if you were to share your sermons with us! Please send them to coordinator@ccow.org.uk.

Readings

If you are preparing a service in a church which has more flexibility to choose readings, there are many options. In terms of readings, for example, options might include Isaiah 3:14-15, Isaiah 58, Ezekiel 28:5, 14-15, Amos 8:4-7, Luke 4:16-19 or James 4:13-14, 5:4.

Talks, Sketches , Films … Cafés?

At a service at High Street Methodist Church in Witney, Reverend Richard Donoghue incorporated into the service an interview with a visiting producer. If you don’t have a producer visiting your area, could you interview someone from your local Fair Trade shop? Your church’s Traidcraft rep? Or someone from a Fair Trade-related charity? (CCOW is happy to provide thoughts or speakers).

Other things that can be effective include films and sketches. The Fairtrade Foundation has a brilliant new film called Fairtrade Matters, and there are many other excellent options available (click here for our Fairtrade Film summaries).

Sketch possibilities include Praying for Change and Enfield Fairtrade Group’s Ready, Steady, Cook sketch.

Or why not do something completely different … perhaps a café-style church with Fairtrade products and a talk on the Christian principles of Fair Trade? Take a look at Haddenham church’s Cafeplus+ for some ideas. A great way of inviting people who don’t regularly go to church to consider the Good News!