BLESSINGS & GRATITUDE FOR 2021 HABITAT HOME DEDICATION
By Bettye Harris
During every Habitat build, there are two days that are incredibly special – the first day and dedication day. On day one, volunteers and the future homeowner raise the first walls, and begin shaping raw materials into a home. On dedication day, along with sponsors, we bless the home, celebrate and present the homeowner with the keys to their future.
On Sunday, September 19th, the Cobb Interfaith Habitat Coalition (CIHC) of which St. Catherine's is a member, dedicated its 21st home to new homeowner Rachel Coates, a single mom of two and caregiver at a senior living facility in Kennesaw. Rachel, a native of Kenya, has lived in Cobb County for 13 years. Her family currently lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Marietta, which has become too small for them. Every day possible, Rachel was there building side by side with coalition volunteers — hammering, painting, and seeing her dream of a home become a reality. The Cobb Interfaith Habitat Coalition is comprised of churches, synagogues, and mosques that for 21 years have put aside all religious differences and come together annually to give a family in this community a better life. Countless children are now successful, educated, thriving adults because of the stability of a home built by this alliance of faith partners. This Coalition is a bright light in this community and a shining example of what people can do when they come together to improve lives. The coalition’s motto says it all ‘We Build to Coexist; We Coexist to Build’.
Special thanks to everyone who participated in the Dedication of Rachel's home built by the CIHC. The blessing and festivities were lovely and fun; as were the homeowner Rachel Coates, her family, special guests, and many participants from Cobb Interfaith Habitat Coalition. A few rain sprinkles before we started gave way to perfect weather. During the Dedication service, Dave Daniels read the Habitat Litany (see below) and Mo. Rebecca gave the final blessing sharing St. Catherine's traditional benediction which seemed most appropriate to close the celebration, "Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who journey with us, so be swift to love, make haste to be kind, and go in peace to love and serve the Lord."
Bettye, says, "I so enjoyed Sunday's celebration and was reminded of what an amazing group the CIHC is, both as a whole and as individuals. How blessed we are to have such opportunities to serve (and to be served by the Rachel's we encounter). There, of course, was lots of laughter, a few tears,beautiful prayers, great refreshments including a sheet cake from St. Catherine's, seeing new and old friends, and much inspiration for the drive home and beyond."
The Habitat Litany Dave read during the Dedication program encourages us to see through new eyes: Oh, God, when I have food, help me to remember the hungry; When I have work, help me to remember the jobless; When I have a warm home, help me to remember the homeless;
When I have a loving family, help me to remember those who are torn apart; When I live in peace, help me to remember those who live with war;
When I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer; And remembering, help me to destroy my complacency and stir my compassion. Make me concerned enough to help by word and deed, those who cry out for what we take for granted