Catholic churches in western N.C. help build 2011 'Interfaith House'
ASHEVILLE — Four Catholic churches and one college community of Catholic students plan on helping to make a deserving homeowner's dreams come true. The parishes of St. Eugene, St. Lawrence, St. Margaret Mary and St. Barnabas will participate in a Habitat for Humanity project in west Asheville this fall.
Catholic students from the University of North Carolina-Asheville are participating as well, along with eight other faith communities in the Asheville area to build the 2011 Interfaith House for Asheville Habitat for Humanity. Construction should be completed by Oct. 28.
Pictured: Parishioners of St. Eugene Church in Asheville and their pastor, Father Pat Cahill, get to work on building a Habitat for Humanity house, funded in part by the parish's weekly offertory. Four Catholic churches and one college community of Catholic students are working on the project, along with other churches in the Asheville area. (Photo provided)
Betsy Warren, sponsorship coordinator for Asheville Habitat for Humanity, is excited about the new project.
"This 2011 house will be the 13th Interfaith House built by a diverse coalition of faith communities in Buncombe County, and we are proud of not only the project, but of the way it bridges gaps and brings people of different faiths together," Warren said.
More than 150 people will work on the home, for a total of 275 volunteer days contributed by all the churches. In all, it is estimated that more than 1,650 volunteer hours will go into the home's construction. The house itself will be approximately 1,100 square feet and will house a mother and her children who will put "sweat equity" into the project.
The actual cost to Habitat of building the Interfaith House, including land and infrastructure, will be approximately $125,000. A full sponsorship is $55,000. The 12 faith communities sponsoring the Interfaith House expect to raise about $20,000. The balance of funding will come from other donors, from Habitat ReStore sales, and current partner family mortgage payments.
Dan Brown, coordinator for the volunteers from St. Eugene Church, estimates that there will be 35 volunteers from the parish helping with the home. They will work over the course of 50 days to help complete the house.
"Participating with 11 other faith communities is a demonstration of St. Eugene's ecumenical spirit," Brown said. "By helping to provide affordable housing for a deserving family in the Asheville area, parishioners reaffirm St. Eugene's mission statement's call to service within and beyond our boundaries."
St. Eugene Church distributes 10 percent of each week's offertory to numerous local charities, including Habitat. They will contribute more than $2,500 to the cost of the 2011 Interfaith House.
"I believe the Interfaith House project sponsored by Habitat for Humanity is so popular because we can share our resources with others in God's name, see the tangible evidence of our effort, and know that it has a lasting positive impact on making the our community more livable and sustainable," Brown said.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
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