Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Coffee As Ministry?

     Over the last few months we have begun a new ministry at Trinity that might seem a little odd to some folks.  It is a ministry of coffee, and perhaps one day, chocolate.  And the question that presents itself is, “So how can coffee be a ministry?”   Here’s how:

    When you buy coffee at the grocery store, you are almost certainly buying coffee from a multinational corporation whose primary interest is in selling as much coffee as possible at the greatest profit.  While that isn’t necessarily bad, the pressure to make a profit does several things.  First, these large corporations want to control the cost of production so they consolidate smaller farms into larger ones and pay laborers as little as possible.  Both of these drive out small family farmers and make it harder for those farmers to make support their families.  Second, these large coffee plantations often plant fast growing, high yield varieties of coffee that require full sun instead of the standard varieties that grow in the shade of the jungle canopy.  Growing these high-yield varieties requires the native jungle trees to be cut down as well as the application of commercial fertilizers and pesticides.

    Through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), our new coffee ministry now offers Fairly Traded, Equal Exchange coffees.  These coffees are grown by local, worker-owned, cooperatives run by family farmers using sustainable, organic agriculture practices.  By buying coffee, tea and, eventually, chocolate, direct from these cooperatives, you will pay a little more, but the bulk of the profit will go to the farmers who grew it, and not to a nameless multinational corporation.

    A variety of coffees and teas are on display in our upstairs fellowship hall.  Feel free to stop by anytime, look them over and choose your favorite. 

    Who knew that you could make a difference just by drinking your morning coffee?

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