The SPIRE – June 2018

Dear Edwards Church Community,

Over the next six months, Edwards Church will be participating with 12-15 other houses of worship in Hampshire County (mostly on the east side of the river) in a campaign to raise funds, recruit volunteers, and in the process re-energize the relationship between Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity and the interfaith community.  The core group of churches is formed, with room for more, and our aggregate “time, talent and treasure” pledge goals for all participating faith communities as a group are:

$30,000, which is the portion of total funding for a house not yet covered by any other source; and

1,000 hours of volunteer time, which can be on-site or office work.

Habitat has named this project “The House that Faith Built,” expressing their confidence that the faith communities will come together to make this happen. “Finding strength in our diversity, we call on all our talents to worship and serve.” Based on my faith, which is informed by my experience of Edwards, our wider community, and our God, I share their confidence. “Encountering the world’s joys and suffering, we offer ourselves as instruments of love and justice.”

The overall project of which “The House that Faith Built” is a part is a three-home project on land just off Glendale Road in Florence, which the city will donate to Habitat. Two of the homes will be modular design, capable of operating as zero-net energy homes. One will be conventional framing construction.  Site prep work is scheduled to begin in the fall. The modular homes could be delivered as early as October. Volunteer crews will start working to finish them over the winter and into the spring. We need to complete fund raising by December 31st.

To that end, there will be a kick-off concert at First Churches on Friday, June 8th at 7:00 pm, featuring Valley Rock Voices, On That Note, and The Amherst Area Gospel Choir.  Admission is free, though donations will be accepted.  Come learn more about “The House that Faith Built,” have some fun, and contribute to a great cause.

This project will stretch us a little, but there is nothing like layering on top of an already active community one more set of worthwhile demands. That is what we do. We take on the tough challenges that require faith, and hope, and love lived out in concrete and constructive ways. We care for the hungry, the homeless and the world weary. The the lack of affordable housing in Hampshire County is chronic, and we have been asked to help. How we answer declares who and whose we really are.

Thank you for being who you are, and for doing what you do.



Read the whole newsletter here.