Building On Faith 1996
September 18, 1996 - "It was the most exciting week we have ever had," Betty Salter, affiliate board president of Pensacola HFH, said as she described Building on Faith events in her community. Pensacola was one of more than 70 locations in North America where volunteers put their faith into action to build 150 homes in partnership with families in need.
This was the second year that Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) affiliates set aside the third weekend in September to urge churches to build, renovate and repair houses by following Jesus' example to help our neighbors.
One of the homes built by HFH of Cape Cod (MA) during Building on Faith was the affiliate's first blitz build. "We are a small affiliate, and this was a big thing for us," said Joanne Kelley, executive director of HFH of Cape Cod. "We have never had better feedback from the community. Everyone in Cape Cod--unless they had on ear muffs and blinders, knows that Habitat for Humanity on Cape Cod exists and is thriving here."
Planned in conjunction with the International Day of Prayer and Action for Human Habitat, Building on Faith also gave communities an opportunity to come together for celebration and worship. Millard Fuller, founder and president of HFHI, visited ten Building on Faith sites and spoke at Habitation services in each location. In Charlotte, NC, where volunteers’ blitz-framed seven homes, the service was very moving, said executive director Bert Green. "We have had a lot of Habitations, and we have had services that have been better attended, but this service combined worship and celebration in a way that hadn’t been done before."
About 800 people attended the Habitation in Fort Worth, TX, that was designed specifically to include as many people as possible. Churches funded and provided the labor for four of the five homes framed and dried in during the week in Fort Worth, and four more homes were dedicated.
Several affiliates reported these benefits of participating in Building on Faith:
• Building in neighborhoods and slowly but aggressively forming partnerships with churches in the communities in which they build.
• Receiving major media attention that attracted new supporters and rejuvenated the faithful.
• Being "pumped up" by speakers such as Fuller and Tony Campolo, who reminded persons that with God all things are possible and that we have a responsibility and a tremendous opportunity to live out our faith.
Pensacola, FL--Dedication of the 50,000th house built worldwide by HFHI. Over a thousand people scurried around the worksite to build this house--which was completed in a little over seven hours--and to frame, roof and finish the exterior of five other houses. Thirty-nine churches joined together to help revitalize an area where Habitat homes will replace condemned structures that were torn down.
Mexico City, Mexico--HFHI's 50,001st house was constructed next to the 6,500th home built locally. This project was the first time HFHI in Mexico City aggressively reached out to the churches. A beautiful, ecumenical dedication service was held at the festive building site that was decorated with colorful flowers and included a huge birthday cake in honor of the 6,500th home.
Edmonton, Canada--The affiliate blitz built a duplex, half of which was sponsored by Trinity Lutheran Church and Lendrum Mennonite Brethren. The tremendous media coverage during the week drew a lot of newcomers to the Habitation service, where over 500 persons were in attendance.
Cleveland, OH--Dedication of one of the 24 homes the affiliate has pledged to build as part of Bicentennial Village. Habitat is one participant in a community development organization that is celebrating the city's 200th birthday by rebuilding a downtown area.
Loveland, CO--Area churches raised the funds and provided the labor to build one home locally, and then sent volunteers to the Philippines the following week to build 21 homes that they funded there.
Canton, OH--An auction, a Run for Humanity, and the $4,500 Habitation offering Habitation netted $29,000 in addition to the funds already raised for the three Building on Faith houses roughed in by volunteers from 13 churches.
Start Planning Now for Building on Faith 1997
Watch the mail for information about participating in Building on Faith 1997. What is God calling the churches in your community to do to help your neighbors in need?