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Family’s faith a firm foundation (part 2) -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Family’s faith a firm foundation (part 2)


The congregation of Solid Rock Community Church bought this 1853 building in 2007 and is now renovating it. Photo courtesy of Katherine Bowers


Watch a video of Keith and Michelle Bowers burning their paid-off mortgage papers.


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Free to focus on what matters

Keith and Michelle learned about “church planting,” a process of starting a small church and growing it. Solid Rock started in the Bowers family’s basement with a congregation of 14.

“While I’m sure God would have provided the means for us to start a church regardless of where we called home, having a Habitat home certainly allowed us to pursue ministry opportunities that might have otherwise been extremely more challenging,” Keith said.

The security of knowing they had a zero-interest mortgage and a space to gather meant they could focus on serving the needs of their first parishioners.

In less than a year, they had about 35 members and had to move to a bigger basement, one underneath a beauty shop in Chambersburg. They grew more and moved more, and finally in 2007 bought the old limestone church, where they now have about 60 members.

“Solid Rock Church started as a small group in our home,” Keith said. “And even though we’re growing and now meeting in a historical, traditional-looking building, the church carries with it the feeling of being a small family group — much of which we credit to our beginnings, and to Habitat.”

How to ‘honor our beginnings’

In August 2012, the Bowers family paid off their mortgage, about 18 years after they moved in, and Habitat for Humanity of Franklin County held a mortgage-burning ceremony.

“Habitat is nothing more than people coming together,” Mark Story, executive director of Habitat of Franklin County, said at the ceremony. Then he nominated Keith Bowers to serve on his organization’s board of directors. “What better person to have around our decision-making table than a successful homeowner-partner?”

And so, Keith joined the Habitat board in January 2013 and immediately began looking for ways to help other families like his.

“As God blesses us and we continue to grow in the days ahead,” he said, “our congregation hopes to honor our beginnings by helping to sponsor future Habitat homes.”