leaders of faith


​​​​​The group targets discussion and activities that build relationships with all faiths; and focuses on common beliefs to identify and help implement programs that build and grow character and that build a better community. 


Purpose: Through the engagement of our faith leaders and communities, support the Orangeburg County Community of Character and the One Orangeburg County Initiative visions to be a county distinguished by the excellent character of its citizens and a premier place to live, work, learn, shop and play.

  • Improve and build relationships with all faiths.  Get to know each other. Understand each other’s beliefs. Identify common beliefs. Recognize the importance of this relationship in character development and the importance of this relationship in a community united for positive change.
  • Focus on common beliefs to identify and help implement programs and initiatives in our communities that will build our character and that of our children and the world they will inherit. Look for opportunities to come together in the broader community to further education, growth and service. 


'All faith teachings unify us in character and stress courage, honesty, faith, forgiveness, love and selflessness as virtues that are qualities of the Creator and attributes of all of us and our purpose in life.'

  • Be ambassadors of character education, character growth and positive community engagement.
  • Build on the transforming power of faith and character. Be the change we want to see in the world.
  • Engage and grow involvement from other leaders of faith.
  • Share and teach each other. 


Background

The Orangeburg County Community of Character Faith committee was formed in June 2016 through an appeal to ALL faith leaders in the community.  Evelyn Disher, Executive Director, stated that “This event is expected to bring together leaders of all religions and churches in Orangeburg County in support of the vision to be a county distinguished by the excellent character of its citizens. This group will come together in solidarity showing a community united; discuss and help execute planned initiatives; and help identify needs and develop other programs that will benefit our community. It will help improve relationships by embracing all individuals and focusing on the commonalities of things we can do to build our character and that of our children and the world they inherit.” The group had the opportunity to design its scope, purpose and initiatives, etc.… under a basic premise -  Committee efforts should be in support of a better Orangeburg County through the involvement of our faith community and character development.  Meaning, making a positive transformation through the power of faith and character. The group was also being formed about the same time as 'The 1000' grass roots movement of The One Orangeburg County Initiative was taking shape; key leaders felt the timing was ideal. 


Initial meetings focused on identifying where and how this group could have the greatest impact in improving our community. The initial 8 leaders at the first meeting grew to 13 by the second. At that time, the group made a decision that work should come from this core group in order to build trust and focus on sincere relationship development (thus the group closed its doors to others in order to avoid having to continuously bring new participants up to speed).  Intense, and often times, difficult subject matter was discussed.  The following 'Participant Engagement and Discussion Guidelines' were developed based on the most common valued traits of each individual identified at the first meeting. 
(Keep the following in mind. Before you say or do anything, consider the following.) 

  • Have COURAGE (to act; express beliefs and thoughts)
  • Be HONEST (with yourself and others)
  • Have FAITH (in your beliefs and each other)
  • Exercise FORGIVENESS
  • Express LOVE
  • Act SELFLESSLY (pause to consider who stands to gain from your comments and actions)
  • Show COMPASSION
  • Be HUMBLE
  • Show HUMOR (have fun; laugh)
  • Express JOY
  • Be KIND (thoughtful and understanding)
  • Practice OPTIMISM
  • Be PATIENT (the work we do is a process; we’re working towards unprecedented spirit and engagement)
  • Be COMMITTED
  • PERSEVERE (Don’t give up)


However, it didn't take long before the group determined that closing doors, in fact, worked in opposition to achieving objectives and the committee began encouraging others to join. But the challenge remains to ensure we have a committed core group of leaders dedicated to mission driven work. 


Recognizing the need and natural alignment given the work that Orangeburg County Community of Character is doing with The One Orangeburg County Initiative, in June 2017, the Committee expanded its stated mission in support of both Orangeburg County Community of Character and The One Orangeburg County Initiative.  And, in the spirit of One Orangeburg County, the committee remains a ready and willing group, in place, and a group committed to addressing the needs of our community.