The Charleston NAACP wants to strengthen its presence in local churches — sort of the way it used to be. It's not a bad idea.

President Dot Scott said the chapter has sent letters to black and white churches asking them to appoint liaisons to help solve community issues.

“We need the churches' prayers and presence. We are stronger working together,” she said; both groups deal with social issues and can work together as a unit to solve them.

Scott has gotten commitments from the two new bishops of the S.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church and the 7th Episcopal District of the AME Church.

Essentially, the idea is a refocus, as the church has always played a key role in the fight for education, voting rights and equal treatment.

The black church provided a safe and welcoming place to hold meetings when most hotels, restaurants and meeting places were closed to blacks.

Churches have never stopped working to build the community. Go to almost any church in the Lowcountry, and you will find an array of programs aimed at education, health and wellness, music, seniors and young people.

Current outreach

Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston raised $25,000 for a water purification system for Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Locally, the church offers education programs for young people and outreach services, including Zumba classes.

On James Island, First Baptist has a senior ministry called Seniors on the Move with fun activities, even a fashion show where they strut their stuff, I'm told. Its shoebox ministry provides toiletry items to those in need.

On Wadmalaw Island, New Bethlehem not only has an active senior ministry, but two Sundays a month, students are taught math and reading by school teachers, administrators and assistants, all members of the congregation. A health ministry staffed by doctors and certified nurses promotes health and wellness.

Morris Brown AME, where NAACP Vice President Joe Darby is senior pastor, holds an annual unity day that provides a variety of community services, including a health fair and speakers to address young black males.

Most churches help the needy. Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Johns Island on Saturday hosted the annual Feeding the Multitude program with other churches.

Helping others

So, the NAACP would do well to incorporate the momentum of the churches, their energy and their strong emphasis on young people.

Scott told The Post and Courier's Brenda Rindge that “Our hope for the NAACP is to see if we can get more engagement from the local churches around these issues … we deal with daily in the community.”

At the NAACP's 95th annual Freedom Fund Banquet on Saturday, the shift in focus was visible as numerous churches and their pastors were represented.

For the church not only prepares you for a life in heaven, it teaches how to live and help others to live good lives in the meantime. And for that, we should all be thankful.

Reach Assistant Features Editor Shirley A. Greene at 937-5555.

or sgreene@postandcourier.com.