Letter to Editor

In the sermon Friday, Sept. 9 at the Memorial Service for Queen Elizabeth, the Rt. Reverend Sarah Mullally, the Bishop of London, recalled words that the Queen had penned on Accession Day, February 5, marking the 70 years since she acceded to the throne: 

In a message released on Accession Day, the Queen wrote: ‘In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness.’ 

The Bishop continued: As we mourn her loss, give thanks for her life, and re-orientate ourselves as individuals and a nation to life without Her Majesty, may her words remind us of the power and the strength to be found in our coming together.

As I listened, I thought of my own family.  My Grandmother Liles believed that gathering her family of five sons and two daughters and their families was of utmost importance.  She held gatherings at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Everyone who could attended.  When my grandparents died, Uncle Ken and Aunt Frances made sure that our large family had at least one yearly gathering.  Now that both of them are deceased, Leon and I picked up the baton.  For the past five years, we have held an in person, on Zoom during COVID, gathering on Labor Day weekend at our home.  This year among the 25 people attending for the weekend, six of the original eight family units were represented. These gatherings are not only fun, they strengthen the relationships that bind us together as family.

Although the Queen’s words were for the British nation, her words are just as true for our nation and our communities as for hers.  The power and strength of our nation rests upon our coming together and working together as ONE PEOPLE—respecting one another in spite of our differences.  We may never think alike, but as Mack McCarter, founder of Community Renewal in Shreveport says, we can care alike.  You and I can’t control what happens in the rest of the country, but we can have an impact in our own family, in our own neighborhood, and in our city. When we reach out to get to know and be good neighbors to those who live around us, we do our part to create a safe, caring neighborhood.  When we get to know and form supportive relationships across our city, we make our city more resilient. We are better able to work together for the good of everyone.

Indeed, as the Queen and my grandmother knew, there is power and strength in our coming together as family, as friends and as neighbors.  The choice of what kind of family and what kind of community we want to be is ours.

Working together with you to renew our community one neighbor at a time.

If you want to learn ways to reach out to your neighbors and work with others who are renewing their neighborhoods, call or text Stephanie Wright, WE CARE Palestine’s Block Leader Coordinator at 903-922-6896.

Rev. Lynn Willhite

Director of We Care Palestine

Palestine, Texas

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