What are the Civil Graces?

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident…”
-The preamble to the Declaration of Independence

What are the Civil Graces? They are the core values that hold us together as a community and a nation. The Civil Graces are more than treating each other nicely though unfortunately civility is missing in our current debate. Our founders understood these principles and called them “self-evident,” which means they don’t need to be proven but are ultimate Truths. When you consider that time, it was a war more of ideas than of weapons. The civil discourse was about the rights of humans in contrast to a centralized empire that dictated the rules. The people won that debate. We the People are engaged in what scholars call a “second revolution” of ideas just like the first one where we re-articulate what is essential. It is a consciousness revolution. All of humanity and our planet calls us to wake up and create a world that works for all. Meanwhile, there is a tug-of-war with those struggling to keep control.

Civil Graces are core to our national ideal and the partnership model of society: Freedom, Justice, and Equality, though we haven’t always perfected their application. They are timeless beliefs throughout every spiritual tradition and philosophy. Hospitality, Courage, Gratitude, Truthfulness, and Friendship are among others of an ongoing list of what we hold as self-evident.

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33180085_10215796981218124_8411193764130848768_nElizabeth grew up in Michigan along the shores of the Great Lakes. As one of twelve children, she learned the importance of working together with people and having 8 brothers, she also knew how important it was to get to the table! Elizabeth is a graduate of Western Michigan University in Political Science, Women’s Studies, and Public Policy. She interned with the Michigan House of Representatives, worked on numerous campaigns on both sides of the aisle and created an organization encouraging women to run for public office. In her early career after college, she was a research assistant with the Fetzer Institute with the assignment to be the “spiritual Thomas Jefferson” and explore the meaning of freedom of spirit.  This work had a profound impact in her understanding of working in dialogue and creating wholeness in community work.  As a former candidate for U.S. Congress, she saw firsthand the divisions that have resulted from our polarized system and knows that we can accomplish so much more when we find our common ground and connection. For several years, Elizabeth has served her community as a real estate broker, led a sales office, and helped many people achieve the dream of homeownership. She sits on local boards and is an active member in her community. Elizabeth and her husband, Vince, together have 5 children and own a small farm in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania where they raise sheep and heirloom chickens. They are passionate about human rights and well-being as well as activists in land conservation. Together they founded a local advocacy group for open space preservation and conservation of our natural resources.


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