Importance of Community: Civic

IMG_0190Do I have a civic duty to my country, my state, my local community? I think I do. As a teacher in the public school system, I see part of my job is to help the students become valuable citizens. As a civilian, there are many ways to volunteer to better the community. That can take the form of a few hours or a major commitment of years.

Through the years, I’ve been a part of many civic endeavors. One of my favorites was the building of Kid’s Towne in Clinton, Mississippi. The community came together with funds, skills, ideas and sweat to make the dream of a creative, safe, fun area for our children. I can still see the joy on the faces of the kids and adults when the plan became reality.

Many other projects centered around libraries, gazebos, civic centers, neighborhood gardens, Lion’s Club, Rotary Club, museums, United Way, hospital drives, fundraisers of all kinds. The time I give freely means the most to me. I want my community to thrive.

IMG_6006The desire to be good, productive citizens spans the centuries. There’s a part of the human soul that wants peace, camaraderie, and beauty. Sometimes the cost is great, as in time of war. In my Revolutionary Faith series, the citizens of Charles Town, South Carolina in the 1770s joined groups like the Sons of Liberty, the Daughters of Liberty, and even the South Carolina militia. The other projects such as the theater, music hall, museum, college, and library, though important, took a second seat to the war.

Hold me Close front (1)Oh, the decisions they had to make.  Here is a brief conversation between Louis and Elizabeth from Hold Me Close.

Louis: “I’m here for you when you need to talk—as a neutral party, of course. I don’t know about the future of this town or the colonies, but I do know I would like to be your friend.”

Elizabeth: “I do need a fried. I’ll try not to grumble too mush. I know where you stand—a Frenchman with no involvement or attachment to any place or people.”

Can we really live like that? Not for long. I believe in the importance of civic duty in the community.

Hold Me Close–Amazon

What do you enjoy about local civic involvement?

Importance of Community: Family and Friends

This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”               John 15: 12-13

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I have always been surrounded by family: a house full of sisters, grandparents not far away, then my own children and husband. With three sisters now married with children, our gatherings at special occasions consist of lots of relatives. I love it! For the majority of my adult life, I’ve lived a few hours away from my parents and siblings. The time together seemed so short but packed full of memories. I’ve been blessed with my large family. Today, I’m still hours from my sisters, yet I’m only a few hundred yards from my parents. I love it!

IMG_0699Family, and friends, form an important circle around my life, encouraging me with love and support. The bond is firm, strong, and unwavering, one I can’t imagine living without. Through the years friends have come and gone, leaving me now with the ones to see me through the rest of my life.

I enjoy my community of family and friends. Even when I am alone, I know I have the love of many who challenge me not to give up, to face my days with hope and courage.  Even though blessed with a close family and a few dedicated friends, I know God is always with me giving me my community of family and friends.

070.JPGI hope you have your own community of family and friends. God’s blessings!

 

Importance of Community: Social

colonial-dance.jpgLast week I shared that many find the community of faith to be a pillar of life that supports all other areas. I agree. Whether a community like Charles Town, S.C. 1776 or a modern town, city, or village. But what else holds a special place in our lives? I believe one is the social element. Society.

img_2201.jpgAs I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more of an introvert, not minding my own company. In the past, social events pulled me to participate. Now, not so much. I was one to always have a dinner party or birthday gathering. Fun. Fiesta. As my life continued to get busier and fuller, I found my social calendar suffered.

I remember the regular parties my friends and I had about fifteen years ago. We called them “hoolahs.” Every season, every occasion, or no occasion. The laughter, the food, and the awesome memories. So worth it!

Perhaps, we have lost the art of social events. I’m thinking back to the 1770s. In my Revolutionary Faith Series, Elizabeth and Louis enjoy numerous community events, large and small. Their commitments tire me just reading about them.  Dinners. Balls. Weddings. Charity events. Gowns. Hats. Flowers. In their world without movies, TV, cars, and internet, these events filled their time as entertainment. We’ve lost the need for that level of entertainment. And perhaps we’ve replaced these personal encounters with our impersonal devices.

IMG_2200I think I might plan a “hoolah” to satisfy my desire for social mingling.

Do you entertain at your home? 

Importance of Community: Religion

IMG_9113I take a walk through history as much as I can. On vacation. On walks in my hometown. Through old houses. Through old photo albums. In the pages of books. I’m enthralled with history. With that comes a desire to understand the people in those communities that seep through the time warp into my present mind.

I’ve found that the church or religion or belief in God, plays a great role in the lives of the ones who walked before us. My research for Revolutionary Faith finds the actions of the community of Charles Town wrapped around the spiritual beliefs and actions of the citizens. Religious affiliations help to mold the thoughts and therefore, actions of the members. Charles Town 1770s held a religious tolerance view that the other cities and colonies did not necessarily hold. This ecumenical existence brings the whole city together in support of the most important decision of their lives. It is true that the Church of England had the largest congregation and pull, but the other denominations and religions had a voice and role too.

IMG_0089My characters attend St. Philip’s Church, a Church of England congregation.  The importance of their participation with this group of citizens molds their lives. They find the community of faith a stronghold in their dramatic lives in the pre-revolutionary and revolutionary stages.  Marriages, burials, baptisms, worship, dinners, celebrations all revolve around the group of people they share through affiliation of the church. I read a very informative book about St. Philip’s and her growth and influence in the community (Book link). I’m sure there is such a book about your own affiliation out there.

Is it the same today? Do you find religion or faith to be one of the foundations of community?