Helen Futter is a member of Manukau City Baptist Church, which founded the LifeCare Centre in 2015 with the vision of "hope-filled whānau, transformed communities."

Throughout the Bible, God calls his people to act justly and advocate for justice for others. One of the purest forms of injustice is human slavery, one human owning, trapping, and abusing another, treating the enslaved person as a commodity rather than as a human created in the image of God, worthy of dignity.

There is a continuum of interconnected businesses around the world producing and selling goods and services. You could say at one end of the continuum are trapped miserable children working 14-hour days, with little to eat, exposed to hazardous chemicals, and at the other end are happy adults earning at least a living wage, working suitable hours in good conditions. Businesses operate all along this continuum. They choose and change their practices for various reasons: resource availability, legislation, peer pressure, personal beliefs, inherited systems, media coverage and consumer demands and pressure. As consumers, we can have an influence. The more we buy from businesses operating at or near the “happy adult” end of the continuum, the more these businesses will thrive and need to employ more happy adults. Just and compassionate shopping seeks to buy slave-free goods when possible, increasing demand and causing other businesses to move along the continuum toward employing happy adults.

Knowing where businesses sit along this continuum and who to buy from is the challenge. Fortunately, several credible resources have been created to assist us in purchasing slave-free goods.

A new 2-hour course

A new short course titled Compassionate Consumerism looks at human slavery and its history and Bible teaching on the topic. It then leads participants through practical exercises using some of these resources. I (Helen Futter) facilitate the course and have led 18 people through the 2-hour course at my church (Manukau City Baptist), and here is some of the feedback from participants:

“Wonderful information, great practical exercise.”

“Caused me to think one change at a time makes it manageable.”

“Thank you: very informative and great to get you thinking more about your everyday choices.”

Upcoming courses

The course is being run again soon through the LifeCare Centre (a ministry founded by Manukau City Baptist Church) on September 10th from 6-8 p.m. at Manukau City Baptist Church (9 Lambie Drive, Manukau). Everyone is welcome. For registration or enquiries, visit: Compassionate Consumerism — LifeCare Centre

Run the course at your place?

I am available to run this course for other audiences, for example, if you would like me to come and run it at your church. I can also adapt it to other settings. All I ask is for travel expenses to be covered - get in touch via the green 'Make an Inquiry' button on the LifeCare website.

Photo: Cash and credit cards by Mike Crudge. Compassionate Consumerism image supplied by Helen Futter.

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