Category Archives: CAFOD Westminster

How to make your parish Fairtrade

Michael Walsh at a Fairtrade parish event

Michael Walsh (right) at a Fairtrade parish event

Michael Walsh is an active parishioner at Our Lady and St George in Enfield and an office volunteer at the CAFOD Westminster office. Here, he tells you how to put your faith into action by making your parish Fairtrade.

Pope Francis reminds us that as Christians we should never consider ourselves exempt from concern for the poor. In the exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, he insists that the current state of play is not acceptable: society needs to be cured of a sickness which is “weakening and frustrating it”. It needs to reject speculation and uncontrolled markets to eliminate the deep-rooted causes of poverty and inequality.

The Pope recognises that this requires politicians and governments to take heed and “broaden their horizons”, but these issues involve everyone. So what can the rest of us do in our daily lives and in our local communities to bring about change peacefully?

Apply to become a Fairtrade parish

Our story
Here in Enfield, we’ve been taking steps together to show solidarity with the world’s poorest people. We’ve brought together a group of parishioners who, when buying their every day groceries and clothing, choose to make a difference by supporting better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. This means purchasing Fairtrade products.

A parishoner stands with an inflatable banana to promote Fairtrade.

A parishioner getting into the Fairtrade spirit!

The Fairtrade Foundation, founded by CAFOD and five other charities in 1992, recognises products where producers and farmers are paid a fair price for their goods, and are given a little bit extra to put back into their communities. The idea is that the more consumers buy fairly-traded goods, the closer we come to the transformation of markets and business practices. This means the poorest farmers and workers can improve their position and have more control over their lives.

A few years ago our parish priest readily agreed that we should become a Fairtrade parish. Nearly half of the parishes in the Westminster Diocese have made the same commitment: a few more and Westminster itself will be a Fairtrade diocese! Will your parish be the one which tips the balance?

Why become a Fairtrade parish?
By supporting and promoting Fairtrade within your own parish, you are speaking out for a fairer global food system. This is something CAFOD has been asking all of us to do with its Hungry for change campaign. When the Diocese of Westminster is recognised as a Fairtrade one, it will give our campaigning a bigger impact and inspire more people to think about where their food comes from. This could happen in your diocese and parish too.

How do I do it?
There are three simple steps that your parish needs to take in order to become Fairtrade:
• Use Fairtrade tea and coffee after services and at all parish meetings.
• Strive to use other Fairtrade products (such as sugar, biscuits and fruit).
• Promote Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight and throughout the rest of the year during social events, worship and any other relevant activities. If you’d like more information on how to do this then read the Fairtrade Church Action Guide.

Once your parish meets these criteria, submit an application form to apply for Fairtrade status. If your application is successful, you’ll receive a lovely certificate to display in your church.

I wish you all the best of luck on your own Fairtrade journeys!

CAFOD is supporting Fairtrade Fortnight as part of our Hungry for change campaign. Find out more.

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Great generation: Volunteering in Westminster

Nathan and Bridget - Volunteering in Westminster

Nathan- Volunteering in Westminster

Volunteering at CAFOD Westminster’s diocese office gives me the opportunity to participate in CAFOD campaigns, fundraisers, training courses and attend talks from overseas partners.

Last month, CAFOD Westminster welcomed LemLem, a CAFOD partner from Ethiopia. LemLem works to bring water to some of the most arid parts of Ethiopia. She spoke about the support CAFOD gives and how, with that support, they have been able to install proper toilet facilities at schools, water tanks in villages and irrigation for local farms. It’s great to hear a CAFOD partner talk about the projects that CAFOD supporters are helping with through their fundraising actions.

Nathan Passing it on at Flame 2012

Nathan Passing it on! at Flame 2012

Through volunteering with CAFOD I have been able to participate in two of their recent campaigns. At the Flame Congress in March I was tasked with filming all the excited young adults walking from left to right across a video screen for CAFOD’s ‘Pass it On’ campaign. Although that doesn’t sound like the most glamorous of jobs, I did catch Archbishop Vincent Nichols unawares after his headlining slot at Wembley arena. Outside the arena, the Archbishop was speaking with a crowd of people so I thought it only proper to ask him if he would like to take part in CAFOD’s Pass it On’ campaign. After a few technical hitches, and a nervous wait, he kindly obliged.On the 15 May, I joined over 30 volunteers at 5am, for a solidarity march along the banks of the river Thames from the Tower of London to Westminster Cathedral. The march was inspired by the story of Esther, who gets up at 5am every day to fetch water. I really enjoyed hearing what the other volunteers had been doing for the ‘Thirst for Change’ campaign. For Instance, Jim Quinn had just finished walking along the banks of the Grand Union canal.

Along his journey Jim was getting people to take part in the campaign by filling out campaign cards and water droplets. When we arrived at Westminster Cathedral, we arranged ourselves into a ‘river of change’, displaying all the water droplets that had messages and prayers written on them. Despite the cold and rain, it was inwardly fulfilling to have been part of the day.

Volunteering at the solidarity march was a great way for me to give myself to a cause. If you would like to take part in a CAFOD campaign then follow this link: www.cafod.org.uk/resources/great-generation/gg-campaigning

Pedal Against Poverty in WestminsterSunday 27 May saw the 6th annual Pedal Against Poverty cycle ride along the River Lee through North London and Hertfordshire. Having volunteered in CAFOD’s Westminster office for six months, I had noted the sense of anticipation beforehand among the volunteers for what was to be my first Pedal Against Poverty. On the day, I was tasked with taking pictures and interviewing the cyclists to see what they thought of CAFOD.

Everyone was welcoming and the day had such a strong community feel about it. During lunch, supporter Hilary Walls spoke to me about the importance of events like Pedal Against Poverty saying ‘it is a great way for my family to bear witness to our faith’. I really associated with what Hilary said to me having taken part in the solidarity march a few weeks previously.

While speaking with other riders I got the sense that the giving of yourself was just as important to them as the money raised.  Last year Pedal Against Poverty raised £9,000. This year, with a bigger turn out, we are attempting to raise £15,000. This would be enough to provide over 450 families with a supply of clean water. I take water for granted every day, whether it is in the shower, while brushing my teeth or when flushing the toilet.

Taking part in CAFOD’s Pedal Against Poverty is a way that I and over 200 CAFOD supporters can help those around the world who don’t have access to safe clean water.

If you would like to participate in a CAFOD fundraiser or maybe you would like to organise your own event, please visit cafod.org.uk/resources/great-generation/gg-fundraising

I have really enjoyed volunteering at CAFOD campaigns and events. The support and encouragement I have received has made it easy to get involved. CAFOD’s newest campaign, Rio+20, has started and you can get involved. Rio+20 aims to, “secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development”.  If you think it’s important for us to remind our politicians that sustainable development should remain a priority then follow this link and have your voice heard: www.cafod.org.uk/rio

About the Authour: Nathan, is guest editor for this month’s great generation e-news! He is a recent graduate from Ealing in West London.  And have been volunteering at CAFOD Westminster’s office since January. He has also taken part in CAFOD campaigns, fundraisers, and attended talks from overseas partners. On 27 May he joined over 200 cyclists in the Lee Valley Country Park for CAFOD’s 6th annual Pedal Against Poverty Cycle ride.

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Thirst for change, nine days to go: I told a whole school

Alana speaking out to pupilsAlana Kristi Balicdang, 21, a volunteer in the Westminster diocese, inspired a whole school to take action on the Thirst for change campaign. There are nine days to go before we hand your action cards to Prime Minister David Cameron – there’s still time to get involved and inspire others like Alana did!

Take action now, it’s as simple as sending an email >>

Every decision I make, including doing voluntary work, is rooted in my faith. I was raised by my grandparents, who are religious people. Since I was a child, I saw them practice their faith by doing public service.

They would always quote this saying from the Bible: ‘Faith without works is dead.’ That saying was instilled into me. Without my faith, I would be nothing; I wouldn’t be doing this. It’s my guide.

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Thirsting for Change – a CAFOD 50th Anniversary Pilgrimage

Jim meets his MP

Jim takes part in a CAFOD lobby of parliament

One of the riches of the Catholic Church is its social teaching. This calls us to act in solidarity with our neighbour wherever and whoever s/he is, “Solidarity is first and foremost a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone” (Pope Benedict XVI, Charity in Truth 38).

For Catholics in England and Wales a remarkable example of such solidarity is CAFOD whose 50th Anniversary is this year. This inspired me to do something to mark the occasion but, more importantly, something that would make a difference to the lives of my sisters and brothers in developing countries.

I believe strongly that our faith calls us to take action to bring about positive change in the world. One way of doing this is by campaigning with CAFOD. My name is Jim Quinn and I have been a campaign volunteer for many years now.

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Thirst for change: Why I’m taking the pilgrim path

Jim Quinn prepares for his Thirst for change walk

Jim Quinn, from the Birmingham diocese, is planning to walk 155 miles on a personal pilgrimage to raise awareness of CAFOD’s Thirst for change campaign. We caught up with Jim to find out more about his hopes for the walk and what inspired him to action.

Where are walking and when? I’m setting off from St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham on 22 April, travelling 155 miles along the Grand Union canal to finish at CAFOD‘s office Romero House on 15 May. On the 15 May, tens of thousands of campaign messages will be delivered to the Prime Minister.

I’ll be travelling through three dioceses: Birmingham, Northampton and Westminster. I will be joined on the last day by my parish priest, Father Eddie Clare, one or more parishioners, Campaign volunteer James Walker and Becky, another walker, who will be coming to the end of her own walk for water along the full length of the Thames! Continue reading

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