By Rick Wolcott*
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Volunteers with hearts for helping others needed less than 10 hours over two days to turn piles of lumber into 57 walls for a new home. The United Methodist Church of Berea (North Coast District) and members of the community teamed with Help Build Hope to frame the walls of a three bedroom, one-and-a-half baths Habitat for Humanity home. And they did it all in the church parking lot!
Rev. Dr. Nathan Howe, pastor of UMC Berea, explained the church’s partnership with Help Build Hope, a program of Crossroads Missions out of Louisville, Kentucky.
“It started with a conversation with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cleveland, and they told us about the Help Build Hope organization. We then talked to church council about it and talked with folks in the congregation about it and it seemed like a good fit. It felt like a good opportunity to come together after a couple of years of being apart from one another and it gave us a really good mission project to focus on and an opportunity to reach out to our community and invite some other community partners to join us in helping others,” he said.
“What was really special about this was we could invite people of all ages to work together,” shared Rev. Carrie Antczak, UMC Berea pastor of Christian Formation and Outreach.
Being able to do the work right across the street from the church was a big draw to many.
“Help Build Hope works with churches because a lot of people might not have the opportunity to go out and do a physical home build but they’re willing to come and do a build on a weekend at their church,” said Tony Thompson, construction manager for Habitat for Humanity in Wayne County, where the house will be built. “It’s such a blessing when the volunteers all get together like this to build these walls because what we really have to work at it is saving on labor costs and they are saving tremendous right here by building the walls and then we just have to go and put them up to fit the house. It’s a great program and gets everybody involved – young and old. People feel like they are really giving back. So, it works good for all of us.”
The framed walls were loaded into a truck and taken to storage in Wooster. This fall the walls will be assembled into a 1,200-square-foot house, complete with a two-car attached garage, on land on Madison Hill.
“We’re going to start working on the property in early August preparing it. We’re planning on doing a fall build and working on it throughout the winter and try to have the home ready for the family by the spring,” Thompson said.
*Rick Wolcott is executive director of Communications for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.