St John’s is a fair traded church, and we run monthly stalls after the 10.30 a.m. Eucharist on the first Sunday of every month. See Traidcraft www.fairtrade.org.uk and Palestinian Fair Traded Goods.
Palestinian Fair Trade Goods
As part of our mission outreach at St John’s, we sell fair-traded Palestinian goods (imported through Hadeel, a member of the British Association for Fair Trade and Zaytoun a member of the World Fair Trade Organisation) on the first Sunday of every month after the 10.30 a.m. Eucharist, and after other services when it seems appropriate, especially before Christmas. (We also sell the goods after the King’s College, University of London, Advent Carol Services, and to other friends outside St John’s.) During 2015 we sold over £2,000 worth of goods.
The money received from these sales supports Palestinians families in the West Bank, the Gaza strip and a refugee camp in Lebanon: the need is very great. Embroidery is done by women in their homes either in refugee camps or poor, isolated villages, then brought to their own co-operator or other social enterprise for finishing and marketing. Most of the wood carving and jewellery etc. comes from Bethlehem. Oasis, an organisation based in Beit Sahour, helps adults with special needs to make cards from recycled paper and candles, other cards are sold in aid of the deaf school in Atfaluna (Gaza), where they also produce pottery. As well as traditional crafts, the Lutheran Church has established a centre in Bethlehem to create artefacts out of glass found on the streets, a wonderfully creative use of broken glass resulting from violent encounters. Unique sterling silver jewellery, made using casts of individual olive leaves, is also made at this centre. We also sell olive oil, olive oil soap, dates and almonds (supplied through Zaytoun).
The situation in Gaza regarding materials is the same as that of last year: it is very difficult to get raw material for the craft work, for example the black cloth for embroidery or glaze for pottery is prevented by the Israelis from entering Gaza. So this means that some of the money earners are unable to support their families.