Our trip back to South Carolina continues. We've spent most of our time on Kiawah Island just south of Charleston where this morning we saw dolphins and a shark. Pretty exciting stuff. Almost beats the alligator we keep seeing most mornings outside the place we're staying.
We finally made it into the Holy City (Charleston's nickname given because of the city's large and diverse number of religious communities). One stop was the Market. This historic site is always a family favorite and I suspect has been since it first opened in the 1790s. It is a community market with vendors that stretch for blocks.
What always catches your eye are the basket weavers. Descendants of slaves still make these works of art.
But what I noticed today that was different from previous visits were the number of vendors selling Fair Trade products.
Fairtrade is an alternative approach to conventional trade and is based on a partnership between producers and consumers. Fairtrade offers producers a better deal and improved terms of trade. This allows them the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their future. Fairtrade offers consumers a powerful way to reduce poverty through their every day shopping. When a product carries the FAIRTRADE Mark it means the producers and traders have met Fairtrade standards. Thestandards are designed to address the imbalance of power in trading relationships, unstable markets and the injustices of conventional trade.
This is capitalism as it should work - a system that helps lift people out of poverty.
We also stopped by Circular Congregational Church, a United Church of Christ congregation in ecumenical partnership with the Presbyterian Church USA. This congregation has an amazingly rich history:
The members of Circular Congregational Church are proud to be one of the oldest continuously worshipping congregations in the South. Among highlights of our history are:Circular Congregational Church doesn't live in the past, however. They're active in many ways and are an Open and Affirming congregation, welcoming of gays and lesbians, in a part of the world where that isn't always welcomed or popular. But the people of Circular Congregational Church have decided to listen to the Holy Spirit instead of the polls and for that I've been a long time admirer.
- Charles Towne's original settlers founded this protestant, or dissenting, church about 1681.
- The graveyard is the city's oldest burial grounds with monuments dating from 1695.
- The first meeting house on this site gave Meeting Street its name.
- The third structure here, a vast, circular hall built in 1804, burned in 1861.
- Bricks from "Old Circular" were used in building the present sanctuary, completed in 1892.
- Historically Independent: the congregation is now related to the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Up next: Columbia, the state's capitol.