Third Presbyterian Church’s many Outreach ministries support community needs in key areas, such as housing, food, education, transition from incarceration, and activism for justice. While many of these ministries are well known to the congregation because so many members volunteer, several have been flying under the radar. This is the first article in a series to put a spotlight on some of these lesser-known ministries and draw attention to the real breadth of Third Church’s Outreach commitments.
Third Presbyterian Church has been a supporter of Flower City Habitat for Humanity for decades, but our commitment took on greater intensity in 2008, when the Session allocated a $300,000 portion of the capital campaign funds to this partnership. Together, Habitat and Third Church developed a creative way to leverage the church’s support: our funds would cover 25% of the cost of new building projects and would be the seed money to encourage other faith communities to form coalitions with us for the construction of new homes.
H@T and our coalition partners joined Habitat’s existing project to build 100 homes in the JOSANA neighborhood. (JOSANA stands for Jay Orchard Street Area Neighborhood Association; the area is just north of 490, west of Broad St.).
Since 2009, H@T has built 12 homes in partnerships with the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Metro Coalition, New Beginnings Coalition, Urban Presbyterians Together, Pittsford Mendon Students, and Harvest Home Coalition. Habitat for Humanity expects to finish the 100 homes project this year and H@T and our partners are scheduled to start construction of our thirteenth house as part of that final push!
Habitat commits to supporting new homeowners both before and after they move in. Each future-homeowner must log 250 hours of volunteer work on their own house or another Habitat house, and must complete training in home finances and associated counseling. This additional support contributes to the huge impact that owning a Habitat house has on families. For example, at the dedication of her new home this past March, Patrese Thomas (pictured above) shared,
“I’ve done more in the homebuyer program than I ever thought I could. My savings is full, I’m eating healthier meals, and I can feel life getting better. I prayed for the day my home would be ready, and I prayed for the people who were building it. My kids and grandkids and I will finally be able to sleep peacefully without fear that something could happen to us. Thank you with all of my heart! Words cannot express the joy I feel in my soul. THANK YOU, better days are coming!”
Volunteering at a Habitat build is easy: sign up online (flowercityhabitat.org) and show up on the day you choose. The work is designed to fit your skill level. Training and supervision is provided to all volunteers.
Habitat@Third is grateful to have built such a strong and enduring partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Third Church, and is proud to be a part of addressing the dire need for safe, quality housing in Rochester.