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The Publication of Habitat for Humanity International | December 2001 / January 2002
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Behind the Scenes:
Post-Sept. 11 Prayer Unified Anniversary Participants

As the tragic events of Sept. 11 unfolded, hundreds of Habitat
for Humanity International global and area leaders were
en route to attend or already were gathered for the organization’s Global Leadership Conference and 25th Anniversary Celebration in Indianapolis.

That morning’s workshops were suspended as participants—representing 72 nations—were united, first in shock then in prayer, as they heard the news. Anxiety among the delegates was exacerbated by language barriers, geographic orientation, and worry about what information was reaching families and colleagues in their home countries.

HFHI staff began to address delegates’ concerns and to contact HFH worldwide offices.They also worked to determine the whereabouts of participants who were en route. By that time—though many were stranded throughout the United States—all were safe.

On the evening of the tragedy, delegates joined in a community interfaith service to pray, and by Wednesday morning, hundreds of GLC and 25th anniversary participants gathered for devotions in the Indianapolis Convention Center. HFHI founder and president Millard Fuller took the stage with a message of encouragement.

“When something unexpected happens…the question is, how do you respond to it?” he said. “Should we go on [with the 25th anniversary event]? We felt that we should.We felt strongly that we should not allow the forces of evil to prevent what we have been planning for months.

“What has happened does not alter the fact that we have built 120,000+ houses for more than 600,000 people.…You’re here because you are people of compassion. Let us be a witness over these next few days to show that we are victorious people in Christ.”

The event did go on, though admittedly, it was inalterably changed. Even so, the gathering served as a testimony to the fact that the work of ending poverty housing and homelessness is imperative, now more than ever.

“Oh God, look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne. Amen.”

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