By Anne Olson
I’ve been working as the Good News Goods Coordinator for a little over two months now, and each day I am reminded that Good News Goods is incredibly unique. And while indeed, the products themselves are beautiful and distinctive, the individuality I speak of here reaches much deeper than bracelets and bowls. To illustrate what I mean, let me first state our mission also found here.
“Good News Goods is a ministry of the Christian Life Commission, designed to give churches a fun, mission-driven way to shop in a global market. Good News Goods products fund international development projects, and every sale supports the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger.”
So the bottom line is quite simple, really. But if we concentrate on each portion of the mission separately, we can reach to the heart of Good News Goods and find what makes it so exceptional.
- Good News Goods is a ministry. As a part of the Christian Life Commission, the work of GNG is a wonderful example of putting our Christian ethics in action, founded primarily in the words of Luke 4:18.
- Good News Goods is designed to give churches a fun, mission-driven way to shop. Live catalog markets are a fantastic opportunity for churches to come together in fellowship to shop and learn about the lives of the artisans who make the products for GNG.
- Good News Goods is part of a global market. GNG products are culturally distinct from one another and allow church-goers a way to see beautiful work made by people around the world.
- Good News Goods funds international development projects. The artisans who make Good News Goods products are often former victims of human trafficking or are extremely impoverished. By supporting their work through our purchases, we are able to bring their families and villages out of poverty and support better lives for them.
- Every sale of Good News Goods products supports the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger. Ten percent of every sale is given to the TBOWH. Last year alone, nearly $5,000 was raised to assist in projects in Texas, the United States and worldwide. (And this year we hope to raise even more!)
Good News Goods allows you to discover, celebrate and contribute to the hard work of our brothers and sisters around the world because each purchase you make through GNG comes with a personal story of success and love. So this year, I encourage you to give your church the opportunity to shop with a heart for missions. Schedule a live catalog market for the Advent season before September 15 and we will take $50 off the market fee.
Mother’s Day Gift Cards With a Mission
Are you looking for a special way to celebrate this Mother’s Day that is also meaningful for the life and mission of your church?
Churches can purchase a Mother’s Day Gift Pack from Good News Goods that includes:
1) Greeting cards & Divine Chocolate Bars (milk or dark) to be sold as a set for $5.00 on or before Mother’s Day
- $50 fee for small pack (25-50 cards/chocolate bars)
- $75 fee for medium pack (51-100 cards/bars)
- $100 fee for large pack (101+ cards/bars)
2) Instructional cards for buyers to add value to their gift cards online before giving them away
3) Eight sample chocolate bars for tasting (4 of each flavor)
4) Promotional Signs to post around the church (1-2 weeks prior to May 1st and/or May 8th)
5) Divine Chocolate producer picture and story table top signs
Through Good News Goods, Texas Baptist churches are given the opportunity to purchase gifts and everyday items while providing a fair wage, dignified and safe employment, stability, freedom, and hope to “the least of these” in the developing world who have experienced slavery, abuse, exploitation, extreme poverty, civil war, and illness.
We can bring good news to the poor through redemptive purchases!In addition, 10% of purchases will be given by our partner, Trade as One, to support the relief and development ministries funded by the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger
For more information and to order your Mother’s Day Gift Card Pack, contact Charlotte Bumbulis at email@example.com or call 512.473.2288
Human trafficking awareness: People being bought, sold
By Becca Nelson Sankey, San Angelo Standard Times
Posted March 28, 2011
SAN ANGELO, Texas — If knowledge is power, San Angelo could be on its way to having an educated army to battle human trafficking.About 75 people attended a seminar on human trafficking at First Baptist Church on Sunday evening. More than 60 people attended a four-hour training session the following morning, and about 30 law enforcement preregistered for the afternoon workshop.
Charlotte Bumbulis of Good News Goods — Texas Baptist Fair Trade Initiative in Austin educated consumers about how to combat forced labor with everyday purchases. Tomi Lee “T.L.” Grover of TraffickStop, headquartered in Dallas, discussed the growing global issue of human trafficking.
According to information provided at the Monday training session, human trafficking — dubbed modern-day slavery — is the fastest-growing and second-largest criminal industry in the world. Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked in the U.S. every year, and about 20 percent of those victims have been identified in Texas.
Half of human trafficking victims are children, and 80 percent are female, presenters said. Read more…
“Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? You get up in the morning and…you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning, and that’s poured into your cup by a South American. And maybe you want tea, that’s poured into your cup by a Chinese. Or maybe you’re desirous of having cocoa for breakfast, and that’s poured into your cup by a West African… This is the way our universe is structured; this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.”
-Martin Luther King Jr., A Christmas Sermon on Peace, 1967
This quote by MLK Jr. reminds me that stories are a powerful tool to awaken us to our interrelated world because stories have the capacity to penetrate the deepest places of our hearts and minds, thrust open the doors of our present worldview, and usher in a new reality—a Kingdom of God reality that offers peace, compassion, love, reconciliation, and justice for all people and the whole of creation. Perhaps this is why Jesus so often chose parables to speak the truth.
With that said, I wish to share with you three stories about our global partners, specifically those producing food and drink items such as coffee, chocolate, and tea. Although we will still most likely be dependent upon most of the world for these daily luxuries, by hearing their stories of struggle and hope combined with the startling fact that billions of people around the world lack access to food, basic healthcare, clean water, and education, we may yet give pause to the true cost of our daily routines and, with God’s grace and mercy, learn to be peacemakers and bearers of “good news to the poor” (Lk. 4:18) in “deed and truth” (1 Jn 3:18).
Divine Chocolate is the first farmer-owned chocolate company in the world. They serve as a stark contrast to the slavery and injustice that dominate most of the world’s chocolate production. The cocoa beans that make up this chocolate are fairly traded, sustainably farmed, and irresistibly tasty.
The chocolate industry in West Africa is marred by violence, child labor, unfair business and accounting practices, and even slavery. The low prices we see here in America get lower on the backs of overworked, underpaid, and sometimes underage farmers in countries like Ghana and The Ivory Coast. These two countries farm about 2/3 of the world’s cocoa beans, and yet still face crippling poverty every single day. The farmers of Kuapa Kokoo believe that there has to be a better way.
Like all of our partners, Divine Chocolate combines an amazing product with a compelling story. In the early 1990s, a group of farmers frustrated with being cheated at every turn, pooled their resources and formed the Kuapa Kokoo Cooperative. These farmers based their cooperative on fair trade principles, transparency, democracy, efficiency, and equality for women.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company- Peace Blend
In 2003, Ugandan farmer JJ Keki walked door-to-door asking his Muslim, Christian, and Jewish neighbors to leave behind a history of conflict, and unite to face their struggle against poverty caused by low coffee prices. The farmers came together, and founded a cooperative to build peace and prosperity in their community.
Since its founding in 2003, the coffee cooperative has grown to include over 1,000 members. JJ is 48 years old and has 25 children, more than half of whom he adopted after they lost their parents to AIDS. Thanks to Fair Trade, and his relationship with Thanksgiving Coffee Company, JJ has been able to increase the value of his organic, shade-grown coffee, expand his farm, and pay school tuition fees for all of his children. His neighbors are also thriving and hopes for peace are high.
“…They have created a tangible expression of their unity—a fair trade/organic coffee that wakes our bodies and souls and fuels their vision of shalom.” –Lynne Hybels, author & activist
In 2000 Choice Organic Teas became the first tea crafter to adopt Fair Trade Certified tea in the United States. Today, more than half of Choice Organic Teas’ offerings (and 100% of the teas sold through Good News Goods) are Fair Trade Certified, far surpassing the numbers of any other tea company in the United States.
On many traditional estates, tea workers live on the estate and toil long, hard hours for extremely low wages. The development of Fair Trade Certified tea standards guarantees fair wages, respectable living and working conditions, and a worker-managed premium. This premium represents additional funds, which are paid by Fair Trade registered importers like Choice Organic Teas directly to tea workers. It empowers them to improve their own lives because the workers collectively decide how they wish to manage and disperse the Fair Trade
Article by John Hall, Texas Baptist Communications
December 17th, 2010
Several Texas Baptist congregations across the state are holding Good News Goods markets leading up to Christmas, giving people an opportunity to purchase fair trade items that serve as Christmas gifts, but also help people work their way out of poverty.
Good News Goods is the fair trade initiative of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission and brings fair trade products and ministry opportunities to churches and universities all across Texas. Fair trade is a market-based approach that seeks to help people in developing countries earn better wages and lead more financially secure lives. Fair trade products are guaranteed to be made without child or slave labor by producers who treat their workers fairly.
Charlotte Bumbulis, Good News Goods specialist for the CLC, said the ministry is designed to alleviate poverty across the globe by helping create sustainable and dignified employment for the poor. Additionally, the effort helps Christians think about whether their purchasing habits match up to an authentic gospel which emphasizes taking care of “the least of these.” Read more…
In 2010, 12 churches and 5 Baptist universities throughout Texas partnered with Good News Goods through a Fair Trade market, the JUST ONE card program, and/or an on-going Trading Post as a means of living out the gospel way as a congregation, and extending the hope of the Incarnated Christ.
Because of Christians throughout Texas committing to make Fair Trade purchases in 2010, an estimated 8,434 hours of dignified employment was created through missional businesses for women, men and children living in extreme poverty and oppressive conditions all over the world. Moreover, an estimated $4,217 will be contributed by our partner, Trade as One, to the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger, which is a ministry of the Texas Baptsist Christian Life Commission, and supports numerous relief and development ministries throughout Texas, the United States of America, and the uttermost parts of the world.
THANKS BE TO GOD!
Our hope and redemption in Christ continues into the New Year of 2011, and what an appropriate time to take inventory of our lives and habits, humble ourselves to change the things that do not honor God, and lean on his understanding to shape us into people of love, peace, reconciliation, and justice.
Perhaps a first step would be to commit to making at least ONE Fair Trade purchase each month from goodnewsgoods.com so that our neighbors around the world may experience the hope and love of Emmanuel—God with us—through simply having dignified work that restores not only their material poverty, but their spiritual poverty and poverty of self-worth. Better yet, you could sign up for Hungry for Change and receive a monthly basket of Fair Trade goodies delivered right to your door step. It’s convenient, tasty, and can change a life or an entire community in the developing world.
This is truly a season of Good News! For Christians, December holds more than just parties, gifts, food, and shopping. It is the season of Advent—the time of waiting in anticipation of the Messiah, the incarnate miracle who brings the hope of heaven to earth.
In my favorite Christmas carol “O Holy Night,” the third stanza says,
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
As the hymn portrays, Jesus’ birth and ministry on earth ushered in a revolutionary way of living daily as people of love, peace, reconciliation, and justice—as disciples of Christ living out the hard way of the gospel.
After hosting a Fair Trade Market at his church, Mike Fanning, Associate Pastor of The Fellowship of San Antonio said “I love the fact that by doing this Fair Trade market we are putting what we say and believe into practice.” This Advent season, Second Baptist of Lubbock, Cottonwood Baptist of Dublin, Highland Park Baptist of Austin, First Baptist Austin, Sugarland Baptist, and The Fellowship of San Antonio partnered with Good News Goods through a Fair Trade market or the JUST ONE card program as a means of living out the gospel way and extending the hope of Emmanuel, God with us.
These December events combined created an estimated 4,000 hours of dignified employment for women, men and children living in extreme poverty and oppressive conditions all over the world as well as an estimated $2,000 for the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger. And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Read more about what ministers and church members have to say about Good News Goods:
“Good News Goods is a ministry of Highland Park in a number of ways, and it links our community to other communities around the world through Fair Trade practices that benefit people groups who are vulnerable and poor. It addresses our inclination of over-consumption, allows us to make purchases that reflect our faith values and reminds us to actually think about what we purchase and why we buy it.”-Marcus McFaul, Senior Minister, Highland Park Baptist Church, Austin
“It has been a great program for our children at Highland Park to be educated in the ways that their purchases make a difference around the world. They have been able to personally learn about the artisans that create each of the products and they have been a part of re-telling the artisan’s stories and selling their products to church members at our monthly Good News Goods Trading Post, and so it has been a really important learning process for our children.”-Cheryl Kimble, Associate Pastor for Children & Family Life, Highland Park Baptist Church, Austin
“One reason why The Fellowship decided to host a Good News Goods Fair Trade market this year is because I felt it was a win-win for our community here and the people who made the products. People are already buying gifts for the holiday and they can buy high-quality goods here, and yet at the same time with their purchase, they can help someone else around the world pull themselves out of poverty. I love the fact that by doing this market we are putting what we say and believe into practice. We are trying to help people—not give them a hand out, but a hand up—and it works for us as well, so we’re going to do this every year!”-Mike Fanning, Associate Pastor, The Fellowship of San Antonio
“This is a brilliant business model and mission. It is not asking folks to give more money away, it is just about redirecting our dollars on what we were already spending to help people in need. I love it!”-Member & Business Development Consultant, The Fellowship of San Antonio
Choose Wisely: Experts say financial decisions have moral implications
By Robert Marus
Monday, November 29, 2010
WASHINGTON (Associated Baptist Press) — Even a financial decision as seemingly mundane as where to buy your morning coffee can have profound moral implications…
On the everyday-financial-choices level, other resources are available to those who want to make an economic impact. Besides Mounts’ description of Christians’ simple choices not to patronize businesses they know to engage in activities they believe are immoral, a movement — dubbed “fair trade” — has sprung up in recent years to give consumers concerned with the moral implications of their purchases more tools to make good decisions.
Read the full “Choose Wisely” article on forming one’s ethical framework, moral investing, and consumer decisions.
Over 60 years later, Baptists along with many other denominations are continuing to grow this movement by educating, promoting, and supporting Fair Trade within their churches and denominational bodies. Specifically, the two Texas Baptist Fair Trade initiatives are the Christian Life Commission’s Good News Goods and the Women’s Missionary Union’s World Crafts . You can read the full article below.
Fair Trade movement has Christian roots
By Robert Marus, Associated Baptist Press
Published: November 24, 2010
WASHINGTON (ABP)—In 1946, a faithful Mennonite named Edna Ruth Byler took a trip to Puerto Rico and was shocked by the poverty she encountered—and the seeming hopelessness of the artisans who produced goods that could be sold in the United States for much more than the makers received for them. And a movement was born.
- Is your church community passionate about biblical justice issues such as extreme global poverty, forced labor, and/or human trafficking?
- Are you looking for a simple way to put your faith and convictions into practice?
- What if our spending power could be used to alleviate these problems instead of create them?
Through Good News Goods, church members are given the opportunity to purchase the things they would already buy like coffee, chocolate, and jewelry, while providing dignified employment and fair wages, hope, holistic healing, and the tangible “good news” of Jesus Christ to “the least of these” throughout the developing world who have experienced slavery, abuse, exploitative working conditions, extreme poverty, civil war, and HIV/AIDS.
Now that is a Fair Trade. We can “proclaim good news to the poor…release the captives and…set free those who are oppressed” by loving fervently, living simply, giving generously, and buying ethically. (Lk 4: 18-19)
The JUST ONE ministry option is a very simple and tangible way for your church to engage in Jesus’ kingdom vision of peace, love, and redemption “on earth as it is in heaven” through our spending habits, while also providing a forum to discuss the various plights of the Majority World and our biblical call to respond in word and deed.
What is a JUST ONE card?
The JUST ONE card is a paper card for your wallet that serves as a constant reminder to make JUST ONE Fair Trade purchase from our Fair Trade certified, Christian business partner/supplier–Trade as One.
How does this work?
After showing an explanatory short video about the power of our spending choices (during the selected service), distribute JUST ONE cards to members and ask them to place this card in front of one of their debit or credit cards. Every time they open their wallet, this will remind them to make JUST ONE Fair Trade purchase. After the service, members can use the card to log onto http://tradeasone.com/goodnews and make online purchases from over 30 different global producers.
To learn more about JUST ONE, visit http://goodnewsgoods.com/get-involved/just-one-card/
Four easy steps to get started:
1. Choose a date to show the JUST ONE videos & pass out the JUST ONE cards
2. Contact Us to order your JUST ONE cards & access online promotional resources (password required)
3. Promote, at least 1 week ahead of your chosen date, using the JUST ONE Promo Video & resources from http://goodnewsgoods.com/resources/ (password required)
4. On the chosen date, pass out the cards & show the JUST ONE Follow-Up Video (Additional Talking Points also available on the resource page)