Habitat for Humanity Celebrates the Legacy of Clarence Jordan
Americus, Ga. - Oct. 29, 1999 - On the 30th anniversary of the passing of Clarence Jordan, a farmer known worldwide for Bible scholarship and racial reconciliation, the people of America’s foremost housing ministry celebrated Jordan’s life and legacy.
“Clarence Jordan was the spiritual father of the ministry we know today as Habitat for Humanity,” said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI). “He constantly reminded me that Jesus called on us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” Fuller said.
“Then, as now, housing was a relevant issue in Americus and Sumter County. So Clarence would say, ‘If your neighbor is living in miserable conditions but you have a decent place to live, you certainly aren’t loving your neighbor as yourself. You’d better get busy and help them have a decent place to live,’” Fuller said.
Hundreds of members of the HFHI staff and volunteer community gathered to dedicate the Clarence Jordan Center, the office building at 121 Habitat St., Americus, formerly HFHI’s headquarters, still in active service as an office center for Habitat’s growing staff.
One of the most engaging and controversial figures in Georgia history, Jordan was a widely admired Bible scholar, speaker, writer and farmer. He founded Koinonia Farm, an interracial community near Americus, Ga., in 1942. Jordan’s “Cotton Patch” translations of New Testament books and letters, setting Bible stories in contemporary Southwest Georgia, are still popular.
“While I never had the opportunity to meet Clarence – I came to Koinonia as a volunteer three months after Clarence died – I have never heard preaching and teaching that can compare with Clarence’s insight and wisdom on applying the teachings of Christ,” said Ted Swisher, HFHI’s vice president for U.S. affiliates. “Clarence believed that low-income people need capital, not charity, and co-workers, not case workers. While he could not have envisioned it at the time, Habitat for Humanity is fulfilling that dream by providing decent, affordable housing in partnership with God’s people in need.”
Dedicated to eliminating poverty housing, Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry founded by Millard Fuller along with his wife, Linda. HFHI and its 1,916 affiliates in 64 nations have built and sold more than 80,000 homes to partner families at no profit with zero-interest mortgages.