The Church in Wales is celebrating Fairtrade status after most of its parishes pledged their support to the campaign.
The First Minister of Wales handed over the certificate of accreditation to the Archbishop of Wales at the Royal Welsh Show on Monday, July 20.
It was a significant moment for the Church which launched its bid to become a Fairtrade church in 2012 and is now the first of the 83 provinces in the worldwide Anglican Communion to achieve the status.
Fairtrade champions were appointed in each of its six dioceses to encourage individual churches to pledge to serve Fairtrade tea and coffee at events and include issues of trade justice in their prayer, worship and teaching. On top of that, the Church introduced Fairtrade Sunday with special prayers and readings for use during Fairtrade fortnight in February.
Many churches have also committed to using Fairtrade wine for Communion and cathedrals are using Fairtrade Palestinian olive oil for Chrism services. Fairtrade has also been promoted at church conferences and fairs.
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “We are very grateful to our Fairtrade champions for the enormous amount of work they have put into promoting Fairtrade among our congregations.
“We are proud to be the very first Fairtrade Anglican Province in the world – but that doesn’t mean we stop here; we are still encouraging more churches to sign up, and spread the word about the importance of trade justice in all its forms, both at home and overseas.”
The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said, “I’d like to congratulate the Church in Wales on gaining Fair Trade accreditation and becoming the first Province in the Anglican Communion to do so.Their champions from churches across Wales have worked hard to achieve the status and we hope their success will inspire other Welsh organisations to take up the baton.”
Elen Jones, the national coordinator of Fair Trade Wales said, “Following on from the partnership agreement made with the two Welsh farmers unions in 2010 and 2011, it is a poignant time to remind ourselves of the importance of ‘buying local and Fairtrade’. Supporting the local economy and buying Welsh produce like milk, goes hand-in-hand with supporting sustainable international trade through Fairtrade, like tea and coffee, things we can’t grow in Wales. Ensuring fair prices, fairer terms of trade and sustainable livelihoods is a vital way for the people of Wales to play a role in creating a better world for all.”
Canon Carol Wardman, the Bishops’ Adviser for Church and Society added, “Many people would have first come across Fairtrade products at church – we were promoting them many years before they started to sell at supermarkets. So we are thrilled we can now say we are a Fairtrade church and continue to do all we can to promote this important principle of justice and equality.”