Just prior to the publication of this issue of Habitat World, I turned 50. That seems a lot younger now than it did a few decades back! Milestone birthdays — often filled with great celebration and “not so subtle” reminders about growing older — tend to make us reflective. We examine what has come before and imagine what lies ahead.
Because 1.6 billion people around the world lack adequate shelter, Habitat's strategic plan calls for us to increase our reach and our depth of impact. -Jonathan Reckford
I often think about the fact that Clarence Jordan, the spiritual father of Habitat for Humanity, never saw the incredible impact of his work. I consider Clarence a true prophet who gave himself completely to living out God’s love in this world. Along with Millard Fuller and other supporters of Koinonia Farm, he developed the idea of partnership housing, but he died in 1969 just before the first house was completed.
Through Habitat, however, Clarence’s legacy lived on and has grown into a worldwide ministry that has helped more than 2.5 million people. It has been an amazing journey, and this year, as we celebrate the births of Clarence and Florence Jordan 100 years ago, we also celebrate the lives that have been transformed by Clarence’s determination to live out the gospel.
Clarence measured every situation against the life and teachings of Jesus and wrote about spreading the radical ideas of the gospel message. His words continue to challenge us as we seek to act with courage and boldness. Joe Gatlin, Habitat's director of U.S. field operations, reminds us on page 10 that Clarence would urge us to look forward. He would call upon us to renew our commitment to this work and to be faithful in our efforts to serve in partnership with the poor.
With that mindset, our board of directors approved a new strategic plan for Habitat in June. During the planning process, stakeholders around the world were clear that their desire was to have God at the center of our efforts. The new plan is deeply rooted in our Christian faith and also broadly inclusive in a way that welcomes everyone’s participation.
Because 1.6 billion people around the world still lack adequate shelter, Habitat’s strategic plan calls for us to increase our reach and our depth of impact. Repeatedly in the Scriptures, God tells us to love our neighbors and to care for the poor. Our response is that we will commit to improve, increase and inspire. We will help families improve their shelter conditions. We will partner with others to increase access to shelter, and we will seek to inspire action to end poverty housing.
I hope that you will pray with us and for us as we bring people together to build homes, communities and hope.