God’s love in action
As a Christian ministry that builds homes with people of all faiths and no faith, Habitat for Humanity relies on churches in hundreds of U.S. communities for donations, for volunteers and for prayers. In turn, Habitat offers faith groups a powerful way to put God’s love into action.
A few examples:
Asheville Area Habitat in North Carolina will hold a wall-raising in May for the Pope Francis House, with local Catholic churches taking the lead in bringing together volunteers to build. “The donor wishes to remain anonymous but said they were so impressed by the rejuvenation that this pope has brought to many aspects of the Catholic Church,” says executive director Lew Krause. “They were particularly fascinated by a quote by the pope about dignity through work and felt that really matched the language of Habitat.”
Atlanta’s Peachtree Presbyterian Church started building homes with Habitat in 1988, and the church is nearing completion on its 150th home. “The volunteers love that it’s very hands-on,” says Staci Graham, Peachtree’s mission resource director. “They get dirty, they build and they can see the results right in front of them.”
In 2013, Habitat Philadelphia’s Building on Faith Week was held during the hottest four days of the year, but volunteers from 13 churches still came together to tackle a 22-home blitz repair as part of a Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative project. This year’s event will take place in the summer.
When a few churches in Denver, Colorado, got together in 1988 to form a coalition to build with Habitat Metro Denver, they knew what they wanted to do. But Jim Reuteler, who heads up Denver’s Loaves and Fishes Coalition, recalls someone asking where the money was going to come from. “They had no idea,” Reuteler says, “but the crowd that Jesus fed in the Bible didn’t know where the food was coming from either.”
These days, the coalition numbers 12 congregations and raises $85,000 every year to sponsor a Habitat home that the churches then help build.
Habitat’s first mission principle states: “We undertake our work to demonstrate the love and teachings of Jesus, acting in all ways in accord with the belief that God’s love and grace abound for all, and that we must be ‘hands and feet’ of that love and grace in our world.”
The hands and feet of the faithful are active this season, as they are year-round. — Phil Kloer
Learn more about how you can participate in Habitat’s many faith engagement opportunities.