Loving God and loving our neighbors
In the last weeks, we have been talking about what it means to be for our city and for our neighbors. It has been so encouraging to hear stories of people from our church as they notice their city and get to know their neighbors. It may seem like a small thing, but being for our city and for our neighbors can be world changing. This weekend, we host our 18th Festival of Hope Fair Trade Marketplace. One of the many things that I love about Festival of Hope is that it is a chance for our church to fling open the doors and welcome our community in to shop fair trade products from around the world. We get to be a part of movement that started with a church lady who grabbed the chance to love her neighbors and change the world at the same time.
The fair trade movement began in the 1940s with a church lady named Edna. Edna had the gift of hospitality and cooked a mean cinnamon roll. After a trip to Puerto Rico where she saw women working and living in abject poverty, she realized that she could love her literal neighbor while providing an avenue out of poverty for these women in Puerto Rico. She began purchasing handicrafts from these women and selling them to her neighbors back home in Pennsylvania, all while using her gift of baking and hospitality. Edna saw that she could love her neighbors while showing them God’s heart for the poor. In the end, her home parties out of the trunk of her car moved beyond Pennsylvania and launched a global movement that began with her conviction that loving God meant loving her neighbors.
Festival of Hope is an opportunity to reflect the character of God to our community. I hope that as people walk through the doors and see the beautiful items produced by artists from around the world that they will God’s heart for justice and dignity. And that they will see our heart for hospitality and service. I hope that they will see that the church is committed to loving God and loving others. I pray they see us as good neighbors, who put the needs of others before convenience. And I am certain they will have a lot of fun.
As we prepared for this year’s Festival of Hope, we realized that we wanted to have more local community impact. While Festival of Hope has always helped provide meaningful impact for artisans around the world, we dreamed of a way that Festival of Hope could be even more for our city. So, you will see some of your favorite local vendors like Coffee Oasis and L’Arche again.
But you can also walk away knowing that not only are your purchases at Festival of Hope providing for families around the world, but we are also donating a portion of the proceeds to our friends at Harbor Hope Center. We get to have a global and local impact as we walk alongside homeless youth here in the harbor and alongside global organizations that affirm that we are all seen, known, and loved by God.
I hope to see you at Festival of Hope this weekend!
Saturday, November 16
10:00 am – 3:00 pm & 5:00 – 6:30 pm, Gathering Place, free admission
Sunday, November 17
8:00 am – 2:00 pm, Gathering Place, free admission
Saturday, November 16 – Early Bird Shopping
8:30 – 10:00 am, $5 per person (+fee)
Limited to 150 attendees, includes continental breakfast