Nancy and I have grown to love Heart of the Rockies over the past six years. We particularly like the openness of the congregation to changes, new ideas, outreach programs and opportunities to serve. There are many programs to choose from, including among others: Faith Family Hospitality, Kids at Heart, the Community Garden and the Equal Exchange Coffee Program.
Equal Exchange includes chocolate, tea, olive oil, nuts, fruit and nut bars, and dried mangoes. This program unites us with other denominations to provide a sustainable, living wage for small farmers in many countries, including the United States.
Through the program, organic farming methods guide the work of the farmers. The leaders train the farmers in the best methods and even supply better plants when necessary. For example, the red cherry disease had been attacking coffee plants. The Equal Exchange program developed an improved coffee plant that was not susceptible to the red cherry disease.
Educational and health programs are also made available to the farming communities because of the margin of profit that the program provides. Co-operative health and education lead to a quality of life that was not known when small farmers were subject to negotiations with large corporations, effectively skipping the “middle man”.
Special programs also happen. For example, $1.00 of the price of a pound of whole bean Congo Coffee goes to a program to protect and care for abused women in the Congo. The Equal Exchange program also provides 15 cents from every pound of coffee sold for the mission outreach programs of the Disciples Global Mission.
Locally, the Coffee Project provides the coffee for Sunday worship services and for other programs of the church. The cups also are provided and we recommend that you use two cups to protect your hands if the coffee is too hot. This is more economical than buying separate sleeves as protectors.
Because of your love for coffee, chocolate, tea, etc. we have set some impressive records. Last year, our congregation was number one among Disciples congregations in Equal Exchange sales. So keep on enjoying quality coffee, chocolate, tea, olive oil and etc. You are investing in a wonderful outreach program of the church – with a smile on your face.
Written by John Shaw