A pastor dressed in a communion chasuble browses Fair Trade coffee at a table with the help of a volunteer

20 Years of Fair Trading: Lutherans Making a Difference

This year, we are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of LWR Fair Trade! Since 1996, U.S. Lutherans have been champions of Fair Trade and have helped to lay the foundation for others to put their faith into action by uplifting farming communities.

From the start, Fair Trade engagement among Lutheran congregations has been celebrated in many ways. And today, Fair Trade leaders in congregations across the United States continue to lead creative Fair Trade ministries. For example, the volunteer-run Hands of Faith Fair Trade Store, managed by Beth Miller at Lord of Life Lutheran in The Woodlands, Texas, offers products from 25 different suppliers and cooperatives from across the globe. Each Sunday, Bob Swensen at Ascension Lutheran in Towson, Md., sells coffee and chocolate to parishioners from his Fair Trade cart following the service. And Darcy Huffman and church members at the Lutheran Church of The Good Shepherd in Olympia, Wash., donate Fair Trade coffee and snacks to other religious organizations and local warming shelters.

Fair Trade is an important tool in the mission of bringing an end to poverty, injustice and human suffering around the world. Through LWR’s partnership with Equal Exchange, more than $713,000 has been directed to the LWR Small Farmer Fund since 1998 in support of farming projects and farmers — like Bernard Magombe. Bernard is a member of Gumutindo Coffee Cooperative Enterprises (GCCE) in Uganda. There was once a time that the farmers in his cooperative did not produce enough high quality coffee to earn a profit and support their families. Now, with support from Fair Trade congregations, Bernard is part of a success story.

GCCE has improved its coffee and now sells their product for competitive prices to international buyers. Bernard serves as a Community Knowledge Worker and provides technical support to local farmers. He received training for his role and received a smartphone that connects him to a database of agricultural information he can use to help fellow farmers. Your support has helped make this possible!

On behalf of Lutheran World Relief, we send a heartfelt thanks to all of the Lutheran congregations supporting LWR Fair Trade.

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We encourage you to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of LWR Fair Trade. For ideas to celebrate, visit www.lwr.org/getinvolved/fairtrade!