January 2014

Go Bananas for Fairtrade Fortnight - 24 February to 9 March 2014

Bananas - we love 'em. We munch our way through over five billion bananas each year and spent over £550 million on them in 2012. But though business is booming, the truth is that not everyone is enjoying the benefits. Many banana farmers and workers around the world earn so little they can't always afford to put enough food on the table or send their children to school.

Banana producers sit at the end of tough supply chains, where every last penny is squeezed out. One of the main causes of this is many supermarkets offering us cheap bananas. We buy most of our bananas from major supermarkets, many of which are continually battling each other to keep their customers through a bitter price war. So they can offer us cheap bananas, supermarkets use their massive buying power to keep the price they pay for them as low as possible. This puts pressure on their suppliers and banana farmers and workers.

It's a bruising business - one that risks the lives and livelihoods of millions around the world. Things have to change. That's why, this Fairtrade Fortnight, a man with a plan is coming.

Albeiro Alfonso `Foncho' Cantillo Ruiz is a banana farmer from Colombia. Foncho, 43, works long hours on his farm to make his business work. He understands the difference a fair price can make because he sells most of his bananas as Fairtrade. This gives Foncho some protection from the brutal banana business and means his daughter Brenda can study accountancy, something he could never have imagined would be possible before.

But Foncho knows it's not the same for other farmers and workers who can't enjoy the same security and struggle to make ends meet. He knows they're often forced to work in dangerous and difficult conditions without adequate protective equipment.

Starting this Fairtrade Fortnight, Foncho hopes we can abolish unfair bananas from the UK. Together we can campaign for change that will transform the lives of millions of banana farmers and their families around the world.

We need to make the big supermarkets change the way they do things so that banana prices reflect the fruit's true cost and the people who grow them are paid a decent price.

But the supermarkets won't act alone. That's why this Fairtrade Fortnight Fareham United Reformed Church is asking you to petition the government to work with supermarkets to treat all banana farmers and workers fairly. Find out how you can get involved at STICKWITHFONCHO.ORG.UK

Leslie Brown

Turning worship upside down for Christmas...

On Sunday, 22nd December 2013, the normal pattern of Sunday morning worship was turned upside down. Usually, the whole church family begins worship together and then the children and young people leave for their own activities. For our Christmas Celebration, all ages were asked to choose from a range of activities as they arrived. Two of the most popular were 'Food Fun' and making Christmas Decorations. Other activities included Bible Study, puzzles, singing, knitting, art and craft.

Just after 11am everyone gathered in the sanctuary to share what had been achieved and to bring all our efforts to God in thanksgiving. The highlight being the drama led by Meryl and Nicky which included a lot of congregation participation.
Without the many people who took the time to prepare the activities and the members of the congregation who were willing to join in, the morning would not have been so rewarding.

'Food Fun''Food Fun'Christmas decorationsChristmas decorationsDrama preparationsDrama preparationsPuzzles galorePuzzles galoreNew Knitwitters!New Knitwitters!Christmas cheer!Christmas cheer!

Christmas activities inside and out!

Members of the church took time out for fun and fellowship this Christmas season

On Tuesday 10th December, the Church's Fellowship and Men's Groups joined each other for a Christmas Lunch at The Old Forge, Otterbourne. Beaming smiles all round.

On Saturday 14th December, the Church Walking Group enjoyed “ a hot cuppa” half way along their bracing walk along Lee on the Solent seafront, before enjoying a relaxing and very enjoyable carvery/fish and chips at the Inn by the Sea.

Fellowship and Men's Groups Christmas LunchFellowship and Men's Groups Christmas Lunch

Church Walking Group - December 2013Church Walking Group - December 2013