Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Building on Faith

I really love living in a place with that “small town” feel.  Concord is fabulous when you’re late dropping the kids off at school.  Cabarrus County is wonderful when you’re looking for goods or services and the only “Search Engine” you need is asking someone at the grocery store where they go for X.  Twenty minutes later you have a new friend and a new handyman.     

One of the BEST things about Cabarrus County is the sense of community.  Not too long ago I bought a pair of shoes and three days later a man in my Sunday school class told me his brother had sold them to me.  People learn your name in Cabarrus County and they genuinely care about you -- even your shoes.  Isn’t caring the bedrock of community?   

Another foundation of this community is faith.  Our original settlers brought their religion and, before the 1700’s ended, Cabarrus County already had Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist churches established.  You might say faith built Cabarrus County.  

A few years ago my family toured the Dunbrody – a replica of an Irish famine ship.  This thing was tiny, dark, and squalid.  Imagine trying to fit YOUR family - with all your worldly goods  -  into a space the size of dining table… for three months.  (My kids can’t do a two-hour drive without a movie.  True story.)

If you survived the crossing you still had to contend with potentially hostile natives, to clear and plant acres of land (by hand), and to construct a shelter.  Then you and your neighbors worked together and built a church. Those early churches developed schools, fostered rebellion, and helped constructa new democratic government.

Today’s churches continue to strengthen our community through their support of organizations like Habitat for Humanity.   Volunteers from First Presbyterian Concord, Grace Lutheran, Kerr Street United Methodist, Cold Springs United Methodist, Saint James Catholic, Saint John’s Lutheran and Trinity Reformed United Church of Christ combined their efforts and built the very first Habitat Cabarrus house for Angela Greer in 1990.  Over the next 25 years, faith built 140 Habitat houses and repaired 100+ homes  for 800 people (400 children) in Cabarrus County.  

Jesus fed multitudes with five loaves of bread and two fish.  That’s quite a miracle.  The disciples probably didn’t realize exactly what Jesus had accomplished until it was over.  Just like you may not realize what a miracle each Habitat house really is.

Let me invite you to participate in a miracle.  You.  Your choir, your Sunday school, your church. 

In July, Habitat Cabarrus begins construction on the 2015 “Building on Faith” house at 312 Broad Street.  Our goal is to raise $50,000 through donations (financial and in-kind construction materials). In addition 200 volunteers will be needed to put in nearly 1600 hours of construction.  Jesus used a boy’s lunch to feed 5,000 and He can use you to paint, roof, drywall, and landscape to house a family.

I love being part of a community where people learn your name and where different church congregations work together for the common goal of affordable housing for all.  We all sweat in the Carolina summer sun.  The same Jesus told us, “Love thy neighbour.”  We can do both at a Habitat workday. 

We are all invited to build on faith.

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