Chalice Abbey Fair Trade Market in the Building
3500 N Loop 336 W, Conroe TX  77304
Chalice Abbey Fair Trade Market
Open Every 3rd Saturday
10:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m
Featured in The Conroe Courier April 17, 2019

Fair-trade market of Conroe’s First Christian Church makes an impact both globally and locally By Sondra Hernandez, Courier Staff writer Published 12:06 pm CDT, Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Senior Minister Wayne Ivey calls the Chalice Abbey Fair Trade Market at First Christian Church in Conroe a win, win, win for all those involved. The project, which currently resides in the church library, benefits people in villages all over the world whose lives are made better by fair-trade contracts. Also, he said it’s a win for the local First Christian Church, Conroe because of the unique gifts and items that are available locally for purchase. And the purchase made are doing something good in the world. Lastly, the project generates funds for the artisans who produce them across the world and for funding outreach projects locally. The concept of fair trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development achieved through long-term partnerships. The First Christian Church, Conroe works with the nonprofit Ten Thousands Villages to source its local market. The church also works with the Mercy House Global Market on FM 1488 and with Equal Exchange for gourmet coffees and teas. The global fair trade movement began with the founding of Ten Thousand Villages more than 60 years ago by Edna Ruth Byler. She was struck by the overwhelming poverty she witnessed during a trip to Puerto Rico in 1946. She was moved to take action after the trip. She believed she could provide sustainable economic opportunities for artisans in developing countries by creating a viable marketplace for their products in North America. Ivey had heard about a congregation having a fair trade market in Amarillo. He and his wife went to visit The Chalice Abbey Fair Trade Emporium in Amarillo to see what it was all about. “We came back all charged up,” he said. For Ivey this project harkened back to before joining the ministry when he was a buyer for a department store chain in their gifts and decorative accessories department. “We started talking about it and it was something we really believed in,” Ivey said. The project was established in the church’s library. There one can find handmade gifts from all over the world including jewelry, home decor and wall hangings, soaps, kitchen accessories, glass items, handmade cards, gourmet coffees and teas and more. The Chalice Abbey Fair Trade Market is opened to First Christian Church parishioners on Sunday after church and is open to the public for shopping on the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Twelve volunteers work to staff the market when it’s open to the public. What’s neat he said, is that every piece has a story. Sometimes the item includes a photo of the artist and tells a little about who made the item. “It’s different than simply buying a gift for someone,” he said. For example, the market contains items from Hebron Glass which is located on the West Bank in Israel. Ivey said the workers collect glass from bombings and air raids and then melt the glass down and create beautiful glass works of art. He said the congregation has really taken to the project. “It’s really cool stuff and they know that we’re doing good here,” he said. But he also realizes that the project will outgrow the church library at some point. His future goal is to have the market be a free-standing shop in the space where the pumpkin patch is held each fall. In this same vision, he’d like to make this facility a homebase for different community groups. “This congregation is really invested in the community and we want to make the church even more available to the community than we already are,” Ivey said. First Christian Church, Conroe is located at 3500 North Loop 336 West, Conroe. Call 936-756-3554 for more information.