In my Module 10 online writing assignment, I was writing for the fictitious Grateful for Grace Lutheran Church to the members of the congregation. Realizing, however, that any online content could attract readers from anywhere, I have tried to take that in to account when writing the FAQs.
Frequently Asked Questions about Grateful for Grace Lutheran Church and the Fair Trade Programs
1. What is Grateful for Grace Lutheran Church?
Grateful for Grace Lutheran Church is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is a suburban church located on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland. The pastor’s name is Reverend Kathy Miller. To learn more about the church, please visit the web site.
2. What are Lutherans and what do they believe?
Lutherans are Christians. They believe many things, but a primary belief is that we are saved by God’s grace alone and not by our own merits. To learn more about what Lutherans in the ELCA believe, visit the information page on their web site.
3. You talked a little about the fair trade movement. How can I learn more about it?
There are several web sites that go into detail about the fair trade movement. Wikipedia, Fair Trade Federation, Global Exchange and Common Dreams.org are good places to start. In addition, Lutheran World Relief (LWR) has put together a brochure (you will need Adobe Reader to access this) to explain how fair trade helps fight poverty and abuse worldwide.
4. How do I know that Lutheran World Relief is a good charity?
LWR is a well-respected nonprofit agency that has been in existence for over 60 years, yet it is good to ask this question.
There are several entities that rate nonprofits. The American Institute of Philanthropy uses a grading system and it has listed LWR as one of its top rated charities, giving it a grade of A. Charity Navigator, which uses stars to rate charities, gives it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. In addition, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance lists it as a charity that meets the standards for charity accountability.
5. Why do you keep saying that I can help combat poverty by buying fair trade goods?
The purchase of fair trade goods has a ripple effect all over the world. The extra money that the farmer receives goes back to his farm and can be used to purchase other things such as animals, which help produce more income. Because of that, the farmer’s children can attend school instead of working in the cities and exposing themselves to HIV/AIDS.
Fair trade also encourages the formation of cooperatives which helps improve the working conditions, especially for women and children. Often these co-ops reinvest the profits into the communities, improving living conditions by digging wells and building schools.
Your involvement in this may not seem like much, but added to the efforts of others, it helps in many ways.
6. What else does LWR do?
LWR has many components to its ministry. It is involved in providing disaster relief, as in the December 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami, the Indonesian earthquake and the drought in East Africa. It also provides quilts, soaps, layettes, and health, school and sewing kits to people all around the world. Advocacy is another important aspect to their mission.
To learn more about their programs, visit their web site.
7. If I’m not a member of Grateful for Grace, how would I buy the fair trade goods?
Grateful for Grace just opened Grateful Gifts, a store that sells the products. Anyone can come to the shop to buy the fair trade goods. It is located next to the church at 125 Main Street and is opened Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 4pm and Saturdays from 10am to 5pm.
If you are unable to get to the store, call Cindy Ranker at 1-800-555-1000.
8. How can I help with the fair trade program at Grateful for Grace?
One way for you to help is by purchasing the fair trade goods that are for sale. However, there are other ways to help, too. Volunteers are needed to staff the store, unpack the goods, and stock the shelves. If you can help in any of these ways, please feel free to call Rev. Miller at 1-800-555-1000.
9. How do I start something like this at my church?
LWR has resources to help you get started. You may also call them at 1-800-LWR-LWR-2. If you would like to speak to someone at the congregational level, please contact Rev. Miller.
10. What if I want to give, but don’t want to buy anything?
The best way to do that would be to send a check or money order to LWR or Grateful for Grace Lutheran Church. If you send a donation to LWR the money will go to support their ministries around the world. Your Grateful for Grace donation will be used for local ministry needs. Either way, we thank you for your generosity!