Love Without Chocolate

February 13, 2012

By Rachel McCarty, South Main Member

It’s amazing that even though I’m living halfway across the world, South Main still feels like it’s a drive away. SMBC has been and always be my home away from home. I’m a fourth-generation church member and like my entire family, I bleed green and gold. I graduated from Baylor last May with a degree in Social Work. Immediately after graduation I was blessed with the opportunity to teach English in northern Thailand which is where I currently reside. I have spent this year becoming immersed in a wonderful culture, teaching and learning from precious Thai teenagers, and trying to grasp a better understanding of what I want my future to look like.

During this time I have discovered a deep passion in the area of International work and human trafficking which I plan to pursue as a career after graduate school. One living example of human trafficking that has recently received news coverage is that of child slaves working on cocoa plantations in West Africa. This part of Africa, specifically the Ivory Coast produces 70% of the world’s cocoa. UNICEF has estimated that 500,000 children are working in harsh conditions with little to no pay. Most receive no education and have been forcibly taken from their homes and families. Despite harvesting cocoa for up to fifteen hours a day, many have never even tasted chocolate. This is not a new issue. The Harkin-Engel Protocol or “Cocoa Protocol” called for an end to child slavery ten years ago. It is still unclear whether or not the protocol reduced child labor. Major chocolate companies like M&M/Mars, Nestle, Hershey, and Ferrero Rocher have given no proof of the changes they agreed to a decade ago.

As soon as I heard about the issue I knew I had to get involved. Some friends and I created a social movement called “Love Without Chocolate” that is beginning with a focus on the Valentine’s Day holiday. We are asking that people like you join our boycott of non-fair trade chocolate during the days when chocolate companies make a fortune. Americans alone purchase nearly sixty million pounds of chocolate during the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Our hope is to raise awareness and get the attention of the chocolate industry that is allowing child slavery to continue.

Awareness is just the beginning step of social justice for these children, but change has to start somewhere. Please help us spread the word. Let’s demand change and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. To learn more about our movement and ways to get involved, please visit our Facebook page “Love Without Chocolate”.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” – Proverbs 31:8-9

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A few fair trade chocolate companies include Divine Chocolate and Equal Exchange.  Grocery stores like Whole Foods should also carry fair trade chocolate.

Thank you for your consideration to join this cause!


Give Grace…by Claire Hein

October 17, 2010

By Claire Hein, South Main Member and student at Baylor’s Truett Seminary

“The beauty of grace is that it makes life unfair,” this lyric from Relient K tags along with every e-mail I send.  We like unfairness when it is directed to us, and we often disdain it when we end up on the losing side of it. But grace calls us to be unfair- unfair to ourselves that is.

Seminary is a hard place to find grace sometimes. The stress of the big questions (and Hebrew!) makes us forget the communal act of grace at times. Oddly enough, this is also the place I see grace the most.

This past summer we lost our parking lot at Truett Seminary. Most students now have to park a mile away and grab a “Truett” shuttle that runs every 10 minutes. This inherently means waking up earlier and arriving at the parking lot precisely in time to catch the shuttle. But no one is perfect. Everyday someone pulls into the parking lot just as the bus is beginning to leave. We’ve each been there, and no one ever objects to waiting an extra 30 seconds to depart. Our schedules are malleable and even though every person on that shuttle planned their life around that schedule, we whole-heartedly make our life less fair and make someone else’s life more fair, if only for 30 seconds.

I’ve been on both ends and been happy to hold the bus and thrilled when the bus is held for me. Grace really is that simple. God made life wholly fairer for us than we deserve. Should we not extend that gift and remember that grace makes life less fair, not begrudgingly but joyously?

Give Grace.

Sharing Our Stories…. Bobbye Lott

April 22, 2010

By Bobbye Lott, South Main Member

Bobbye Lott is a member of the South Main Outreach Committee and Guest Outreach Team.  She also teaches Sunday School in the Senior Adults department.

I married into the South Main Family–a boy who grew up at South Main. We had been married four years when we moved to Houston, bringing our first child in tow. I grew up in a small town, almost living at the church in my teen years. Then off to Baylor, marriage, teaching, child bearing. My thoughts about South Main were–this big beautiful church with all these smart people, there won’t be a place for me to serve. Wrong!!

My first “ministry” was in Vacation Bible School, as a helper with the three year olds, serving snacks, bathing rubber dolls, and taking kids to potty. Before I could turn around, I found myself teaching fourth grade girls in Sunday School–then time out to have a baby.

A dynamic young woman came on staff as our Children’s Director. (Women were not called ministers then.) She invited my husband and me to teach kindergarten. She saw potential and urged me into leadership positions I had no idea how to do. Most of the time, my answer was, “I don’t know how to do that.”

Throughout almost fifty years as a South Mainer, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to serve in ways I could never have imagined, and always, there was someone to encourage and guide me. Only last year, I learned that my mother-in-law was the one who suggested that I be asked to teach. We just never know the impact our words may have on someone’s life.

We are never more like Jesus than when we SHARE…. As we learn to share our stories, we learn to share our faith…

Share Campaign 2010

Sharing our Stories…Kelly Barsch

April 13, 2010

By Kelly Barsch, South Main Member

Kelly Barsch is a South Main Member who teaches Sunday School to pre-Kindergarten children and is a Financial Peace University small group leader.

I grew up in Houston attending a small Baptist church on the North side of Houston. After graduating from Baylor in 2000, I moved to Dallas in search of something new and joined First Baptist downtown. This was my first experience attending a larger, inner city church. It was very traditional like the church from my childhood, but had many more ministries because of its unique location.

When I returned to Houston in 2003, my childhood pastor retired after 35 years of service. The new pastor had a different vision and wanted to make Sunday morning worship more contemporary. I preferred a traditional service and began visiting many Baptist churches in the area. However, almost every single one of them had a “rock band” on stage with big screen TV’s and loud, contemporary Christian praise and worship songs instead of hymns. I am a big fan of this music, but it’s not my preferred style of worship on Sunday mornings.

Talking to friends about my dilemma, Sue Scott suggested that I try out South Main Baptist Church. She happened to know Pastor Steve and that he supported a traditional service. I began visiting with my boyfriend, Kyle, and we joined a few months later. Eventually, we were engaged and later married at South Main.

We have been so happy since joining South Main several years ago. With the birth of our first child, Eileen, we look forward to raising her and our future children in this church!

We are never more like Jesus than when we SHARE…. As we learn to share our stories, we learn to share our faith..

Share Campaign 2010