Habitat, churches come together

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When it comes to helping people, everybody wants to swing the hammer.

That’s the way Fred Johnson, Americorps VISTA with Habitat for Humanity of Pike County, explains the spirit of Habitat volunteers.

“There’s just something about swinging the hammer,” Johnson said. “With every strike of the hammer, you know that you are helping somebody … and it feels good. It’s all about loving somebody.”

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Habitat for Humanity of Pike County is always looking for opportunities to put the “hammer” in the hands of more “loving, caring people.”

“We want to involve more churches in Habitat,” Johnson said.

“Churches are filled with loving, caring and giving people. Many of them are looking for outlets for their generosity and we need them to know about Habitat.”

On Saturday, the local Habitat offered the churches of the community a unique opportunity to come together for an afternoon of music and fellowship and, at the same time, learn more about Habitat for Humanity.

“The public was invited to come out to Park Memorial and enjoy the music,” Johnson said.

“We didn’t have a big crowd other than the singers and we didn’t get many donations but it was not about money. It was about Habitat reaching out to the community and people getting to know us better. All of us that were there received a real blessing.”

Johnson expressed appreciation to the church choirs, groups and individuals who came together to support a worthy cause.

Those who participated include Park Memorial United Methodist Church, County Line Baptist Church, Mt. Olive No. 2 Baptist Church, Chosen Vessels, Lenny Trawick, Henry Everette, Keon Smith, Bill Chamblee and Vanessa Harvey.

“It was some of the best singing that you ever heard and we all go to know each other better and we had a chance to explain what Habitat is all about,” Johnson said.

“We’re building from the ground up with getting the churches more involved. And, the churches might not need Habitat, but Habitat sure needs the churches. When we all get together great things will happen in our community.”

Johnson said Habitat is not looking for people to just swing the hammer. Habitat also needs those who will serve in leadership roles.

“Before long, we will need board members to replace our university students,” he said.

“No, I used the wrong word. We can’t ever replace Melissa Mikul, Tate Hinkle and Erin Wood.”

“They have been outstanding board member and workers. I can’t say enough good things about them and their dedication to Habitat and the community.”

The Habitat board of directors oversees the daily operation of Habitat and makes sure that the local Habitat is good stewards of the funds donated by the people of Pike County.

Johnson said another plan to involve local churches in the Habitat is a ministers’ meal where ministers and a member of each participating church join the Habitat for Humanity board in a time of sharing and planning.

However, it’s when the hammer strikes that volunteers become dedicated convents to Habitat.

“It’s the actual building of a Habitat house that puts the fire in people and makes them want to continue to be a part of this wonderful ministry,” Johnson said.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Pike County or to make a donation, call Johnson at 372-7578.