Saturday, September 20, 2003

Habitat founder wants to celebrate the vision

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

WALNUT HILLS - As Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity works on its 100th home, volunteers with the program will have a special guest Sunday - the founder and president of the international organization.

Millard Fuller, who founded the group in 1976 with his wife, Linda, will speak Sunday at an 8 a.m. "SONrise service" at the 100th home to be built by Cincinnati's chapter, at 3102 Mathers St.

The visit is part of Fuller's "Building on Faith" eight-city tour to celebrate partnerships between the volunteer organization and local churches.

"Building a home is about more than providing service; it's about what Fuller calls 'the theology of the hammer,' " said Tim Sheehan, development director for Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity.

"We're all equal, the volunteers and the partner family," Sheehan said.

"When we're all swinging a hammer, it doesn't make a difference what race or religion or socio-economic status we are."

Since its founding, Habitat for Humanity International has built more than 150,000 houses around the world in 3,000 communities. Cincinnati's chapter was founded 17 years ago.

The home has special significance because the group of seven churches building it, Shalom Coalition, is on schedule to complete it in 100 days.

It normally takes 150 volunteers 140 days to build a Habitat home, Sheehan said.

Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church, one of the Shalom Churches, will host Fuller at its 9:30 a.m. Sunday service at 1345 Grace Ave., followed by an annual Habitat picnic at the community building, 3020 Erie Ave.

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