Ministry in Goldsmiths College, New Cross, London
Sisters Anouska fcJ, Lynne fcJ an Rita fcJ share chaplaincy work at Goldsmiths. a constituent college of the University of London.
Fair Trade is taken seriously at Goldsmiths College and a couple of their cafes sell a lot of Fair Trade goodies. As part of our FCJ Catholic Chaplaincy contribution and as a member of the Goldsmiths Fair Trade Committee, Rita brought in Traidcraft goods and a Fair Trade table was set up just outside ‘Loafers’ Café’, where students are always passing by. It was a lovely opportunity to have a little chat with those who came just to look, or actually to buy. Apart from spreading the word about Fair Trade, we made a few new friends, and were visible as chaplains committed to just trade, and not simply to so-called ‘holy things’ as many people erroneously think! We had a long and interesting conversation with a wonderful young Muslim student mum. She shared with us about her beliefs, values and practices around fasting and sharing and how she was trying to pass all this on to her children. Whatever about the actual sales, it was well worth the time and effort we put in to being there!
On Shrove Tuesday, Adèle, our Anglican and Co-ordinating Chaplain for Goldsmiths, arrived at the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy with her over-loaded shopping trolley. She proceeded to empty out the twin ringed electric hob, chocolate spread, bananas, sugar and lemons – all Fair Trade. The final precious item to emerge was a huge leak-proof plastic container of batter for the pancakes!
We set up our pancake stall between the chaplaincy windows and the railing and began our sales talk or rather shout, to the students passing up and down the street totally devoted to Goldsmiths offices. The students couldn’t believe we were making and offering the pancakes free, and thought there must be a catch. They were surprised and delighted then at the chance of a fresh pancake with different choices of filling.
Some of the students from other countries or cultures had no idea what pancakes and Shrove Tuesday were all about, so we told them! (Did we just say there wasn’t a catch!) Then we offered them a little leaflet telling them about the Ash Wednesday services in the Multi-Faith Prayer Room, and gave them a calendar with a practice for each day of Lent, tailored to a student population. Cassi from the Christian Union, a wonderful girl, had the best ‘sales skills’ and not an ounce of inhibition as she targeted students or staff, passing innocently by our pancake-making!