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Churches Put Faith into Action with Habitat’s 1997 “Building on Faith”

Building on Faith with Habitat for Humanity:

Americus, Ga. - July 30, 1997 - Housebuilding projects will create a worldwide sermon of love Sept. 15-21. At more than 100 sites across the United States and from Northern Ireland to the Philippines, churches will join with Habitat for Humanity International to build simple, decent shelter with people in need. This special week of churches funding and building homes is called “Building on Faith.”

Building on Faith is HFHI’s annual effort to draw people out of their pews and into action to build homes. The building projects are designed to dramatize the power of the church at work.

“It is amazing what the church can do when it gets focused on service,” said Rick Beech, HFHI director of church relations. “Building homes is our response to the grace and love we receive from Christ. We are compelled to carry that grace and love around the world.”

In addition to providing hope and self-esteem for new homeowners, Building on Faith projects bring healing and new beginnings to many communities. For example, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, clergy and church members will work together on one home. In addition, organizers are planning a unity walk where Habitat volunteers will leave the site of a house dedication in a Catholic community and will walk to the groundbreaking of the first Habitat home in a Protestant community.

The first Habitat for Humanity home in Quebec, Canada, will be constructed as part of Building on Faith. This project will bring together French and English-speaking groups. Building on Faith will also kick off a major building project in Canada that includes church-sponsored, blitz-built homes in Edmonton and Ottawa.

Highlights of the week include major blitz-building projects in Lynchburg, Va.; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Charlotte, N.C.; and Dallas, Texas. One of the homes in the Dallas project will be designated as the 60,000th home built worldwide by HFHI since its founding in 1976.

In addition to building projects, Habitat affiliates and churches are planning communitywide worship services in many areas. These building projects and services are attracting participation of several well-known leaders.

Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, and Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International, will raise the first walls of a Habitat home being built as part of the Franklin Graham festival in Sioux Falls, S.D. Part of the offering collected during the festival worship services will be set aside to fund the home. Evangelical churches will complete the home framed in by festival participants.

Yolanda King, daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., will speak in Lynchburg, Va.

Building on Faith week will culminate Sept. 21 with the observance of the International Day of Prayer and Action for Human Habitat. The Day of Prayer is designed to put the issue of decent housing on the hearts of all people. Churches around the world are urged to pray for persons in need of housing and are encouraged to shape their worship services around the theme of serving God by serving neighbors.

“Making prayer a priority among the Habitat community once a year reminds us of how richly God has blessed us,” said Beech. “This is a time to give thanks to God for this ministry and to give thanks for the churches that make faith come alive by building homes.”