As part of our campaign against the use of child labour in the cocoa industry, Kiama Baptist Church‘s Catalyst Group recently created a window display at their church. Their local newspaper, the Bugle, ran a piece on their action in the lead up to Easter encouraging the local community to think about their chocolate purchases. We spoke to Catalyst Leader, Jenny Dundas, about the inspiration behind their display.
What inspired your group to create a giant chocolate display?
We wanted something different that would attract people’s attention and draw them in to read the information. For the public passing by our church windows we wanted something that would arouse curiosity, something to make them stop and question what was going on and hopefully want to know more. We are blessed to have a very creative member in our group who comes up with these ideas. There is a mobile of logos hanging above the giant chocolate, so people can identify the ethical brands to look for. We encouraged people to take photos, so they have it when they shop.
How did the story get in your local paper?
We have a good relationship with the local paper, who seem sympathetic to social justice issues and like publishing stories around local events and people. We write an article and send it in with a photo. They often change the wording but we feel like the message gets across.
How has your church and community responded to the display?
There has been lots of conversations started by our presentation in church and members have commented that the display has caused them to take the time to think about, and change, their shopping habits. We had a live signing of the petition during our presentation. We followed up with links in the next weeks online bulletin so people could sign from home. I also noticed people taking photos after the service. It’s hard to know what the response in the broader community has been but we have seen people stopping to read the information. And hopefully many more will see the article in the local paper.
What’s happened as a result of emailing chocolate companies?
I have had four out of seven quite in-depth responses so far, other members of the group have as well. I know that my response from [one company] was different to that of another group member so they are answering each individual point raised and not just sending a pro forma which I think is impressive.
How has your/your group’s faith played into your decision to speak up about this issue?
All of us in our Catalyst group believe strongly that acting on issues of social justice, raising awareness and being ethical consumers is part of our calling as Christians. We’re committed to love mercy, to walk humbly and to do the work of doing justice together.
Kiama Catalyst is part of our Catalyst Network, a network of churches who advocate on global and local issues of injustice to create a better world for all. As part of the Catalyst Network, you can be connected with like-minded Christians and equipped with practical tools and resources to help you take action.