Unconsuming the consumer

May 18, 2009

THE PRESENT credit crunch has forced many people to think again about how they live and what they spend – and to re-assess what they could do without and how to live more simply.

More than 30 years ago, at the same time as God was leading our church to establish New Creation Christian Community, He gave us the vision of living a simple lifestyle and of breaking free from the all-pervading consumer culture. As a result our Food Distribution Centre (or FDC for short) came into being.

The aim of the FDC is to provide a relatively simple range of food, non-food and clothing products to meet the majority of needs within the church. Each community house places a weekly order for whatever food or household items they need, and then we pick and prepare their order ready for them to collect. We try to supply the most cost-effective products we can (that is, the cheapest product that will adequately meet the need). And we aim to supply just one brand or quality of product where possible.

The FDC ensures that across the church we are living at roughly the same level, thereby helping to retain real equality. It’s all part of the justice of God’s kingdom that we want to express through Christian community.

The FDC also helps the church to save money which can then be channelled towards supporting the church’s mission and many activities. Importantly, we who work at the FDC see ourselves as servants of the church, helping to share the load. Many of our members lead busy lives and they appreciate being freed from having to worry about numerous time-consuming shopping trips. It’s better to be serving God than stuck in Tesco.

And using the FDC frees people from the pressure that comes from the bombardment of advertising, continually insisting what you should be buying, eating or wearing.

We, at the FDC, are now looking to the next 30 years to continue our mission!