The Church of Paloma
The most important institution in Promise is the Church. It is the spiritual center of the village. You could argue that it is the political center as well, since it is not uncommon for most, if not all, of the Council to be beloved of the goddess.
Paloma is mistress of Animals, Harvest, Fertility and Nature. She is viewed in an abstract way and is not considered to take the form of a Named Race. She is a force, a goddess. Female attributes are assigned to her because of her fertility aspect and she obviously feels women are more important due to their role in carrying the child in their womb.
Traditionally, the church has been more matriarchal. There are far more women than men serving as the faithful to Paloma. This further strengthens the belief that Paloma is a goddess with more female-attributes.
The faithful dress in browns and greens. Brown is to represent the earth and the cradle which holds the plants. Green is the colour of growth and the harvest and both are beloved of Paloma.
The Church of Paloma is built in the style of a barn. In addition to living quarters for the priests and priestesses, there is a large root cellar below the church. This area stores most of the food, distributing it evenly across the village. Every farmer much tithe some of their crops to the church and they in turn distribute it to the village.
Important religious meetings are held outside. Depending on the ceremony, they can be held by the reservoir, in a field, in the birch grove or one of the other forests. Planting and harvest is the most holy of times for Paloma. There are few celebrations during the planting season. There simply isn’t enough time and the beloved are busy giving their blessing to the newly-sown seeds. After the harvest is completed, the Festival of Paloma, a week-long religious celebration coupled with the tests for the potential new guards. The beloved play an important role during the challenges, making sure that no one is badly injured in any accidents. The religious aspects of the Festival are held at night. Paloma knows that it is important for her children to play and enjoy life before they can turn their attention to enlightenment and study.
In cycles past, the beloved of Paloma were nearly as skilled as the Druids at encouraging plants to grow and maintaining the forests in the valley. However, the current crop of clerics (pun intended) is unable to do so. Jennifer is very vague as to the reason and quickly changes the subject if it is mentioned. She insists that they will overcome this problem quickly.