Sunday 4th September was the date for the annual Gateway Sunday, a Church service in St. Nicholas’ Church, Durham, when BAFTS’ shop Gateway World Shop (which is housed in the former vestry and has been for over 25 years) works with the vicar taking the sermon to raise themes of justice and fairness in our consumption habits, and invites speakers to talk about issues which are related to its mission as part of the Church. The shop is usually open after the service for the congregation to browse as well.
This year the guest speaker was Heather Thompson from Traidcraft Exchange who focussed on the whole issue of well being resulting from the benefits which fair trade can bring to an employee and his or her family and community. Fair trade brings not just economic wellbeing such as fairer wages, better terms of trade and improved livelihoods. It benefits in so many other ways too, in health and education, building self esteem, improving dignity and bringing social acceptance. Being able to contribute to their communities gives a voice, confidence and empowerment to people who had none of these things. Fair trade changes lives, giving safety and security. In every successful fair trade story we can see hope for a better future.
The congregation was reminded of the huge difference which the purchase of fairly-traded gifts, crafts, and foods can make to the lives of impoverished producers striving to keep their heads above the poverty line and were shown a Traidcraft video which highlighted this. The shop Manager Hazel Dobson puts many hours into ensuring that this service is as effective and enjoyable as possible and that the campaign message is clearly understood.