When Habitat for Humanity finishes a home, it's turned over to the new owners at a Dedication Ceremony. All the volunteers who helped build the home are invited back to celebrate with the new owners.
It is a remarkable event, but it is the joy of the givers that makes it great to watch! These volunteers have given hours and hours of their time to build a home for someone else… and they give even more during the Dedication Ceremony.
I had the privilege of being part of a Dedication last week. The focus was on the new home owners and they were gracious and grateful for their new life in a home of their own. Stability has come to their lives for the first time in many many years. Their children can go to the same school year after year, they can be a part of a community again. It's a wonderful thing to watch and experience.
In addition to the volunteer builders, there are corporate sponsors and donors who give money, materials and staff time to make these new homes available for so many people. Many Minnesota and Twin Cities companies and corporations make Habitat for Humanity work. Without them very little would happen, but there they are… grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in other people's lives.
Of course the new home owners contribute their fair share of labor on the house, they work side by side with the volunteers and they get to know one another.
A group of volunteers from several churches in the northeast metro call themselves the "Holy Hammers". They have been volunteering on Habitat houses for several years, and one or two of them have given vacation time for 20 years to build Habitat houses. They bring their own tools and others members of the group bring lunches to make these construction projects a community event.
The short 15-30 minute program is truly filled with joy and love.
One of the foundations of Habitat is the shared values of all the participants. The common bond is nicely stated in the Golden Rule which is recognized by nearly all cultures and faiths. A framed print is given to the new home owners that states the Golden Rule from many different perspectives and faiths.
Here is a sampling of those common values found in the Golden Rule:
- Christian: Matthew 7:12 – So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.
- Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
- Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman.
- Hinduism: This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.
The Golden Rule represents the inclusive mission of Habitat as they work with all faith backgrounds. While Habitat's organization is rooted in the Christian tradition, they do this work in partnership with families of all faiths.