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'Toast and Marmalade Sunday' Remembers Migrants

Wednesday March 1 2023


A group of congregations in Sutherland Presbytery held a ‘Toast and Marmalade Sunday’ last weekend to highlight issues of trade, climate and migration.

The event, at the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, was born after logistical issues prevented the delivery of oranges from the Mediterranean Hope programme in Calabria, Italy. Church of Scotland congregations have been supporting this project, that provides work for refugees and migrants, for the past couple of years.

Carol Finlay, of the Church’s Faith Action Programme, explains how the service came about.

In January this year, congregations linked to Fiona Kendall, Mission Partner in Italy were waiting excitedly to receive oranges from Mediterranean Hope’s Migrant Programme in Calabria. Having received them last year and realising they were eating ‘liquid sunshine’, as they were described by Jeani Hunter, the organiser in Sutherland Presbytery, there was anticipation of having them and being able to raise the issues linked to the orange story of migrancy, climate, human rights, Fairtrade and more.

Unfortunately, the oranges were not able to be delivered this year. This was very disappointing for them as they knew this was not about just eating delicious juicy oranges but was a justice issue for the farmers, migrant pickers and the co-operative.

The congregations in Sutherland decided they needed to have some sort of event to highlight the issues and ‘Toast and Marmalade Sunday’ was born. Material for a Sunday service, discussion groups and after church refreshments of toast with Fairtrade marmalade were developed with input from Fiona Kendall, and are available on the Church of Scotland YouTube channel.  

The news of over 60 migrants dying as their boat sank in rough seas off the Calabrian coast early on Sunday morning, was a stark reminder as to why ‘Operation Orange’ is a vessel to remind people here of the reason for highlighting the migrant issue and the work of our partner organisation Mediterranean Hope.

On Sunday, as part of Fairtrade Fortnight several congregations used the materials and then enjoyed the after service treat. Jeani said: “Wow! What a response locally. Around £400 was raised at Dornoch Cathedral, at Creich about £80 and there are further reports yet to come from Ardgay. I was so sad to hear about the migrant boat just before I left for church and we were able to remember that also. We are glad that this can support Mediterranean Hope's migrant work through the co-operative. Hopefully we will eat their delicious oranges soon.”

You can find the links to the Toast and Marmalade service material on https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/connect/international-work-and-global-partnerships/mission-partners under Fiona Kendall’s section, and the video is on the Church of Scotland YouTube channel 


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