For One Another

By | Interfaith | No Comments

Jonathan is a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) spending his service year with Greater Indy Habitat through the Presbyterian Church (USA). Learn more about the YAV program!

I’ve only recently started working for Habitat, but I can already tell that my time here will shape me greatly in the long run. Not because of the work experience, but because of the way Habitat lives into what I believe is one of the most essential verses in the Bible:

“Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.”
-1 Peter 4:8

This verse contains so much of what lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It highlights our outward expression of the love God offers us, and illuminates just how meaningful such love can be for the world. But we struggle with it. And perhaps our biggest struggle comes in the way we question the meaning of the phrase “one another.”

interfaith-build_webpage-1So what should “one another” mean to us? One thing that stuck out to me as I considered that was the difference between the two words involved. “One” implies unity and similarity. “Another” implies separation and difference.

However, when you put these words together, you get a profoundly meaningful combination which often goes overlooked. The idea is that, though we are “other,” separated by any number of things, we are ultimately still “one.” We are unified because we are all human. We are unified because we are all made in the image of God. We are unified because, only when we are unified, do we begin to see the full Image of God that is present between us.

In Luke 10, the parable of the Good Samaritan perfectly illustrates exactly how we are meant to “maintain constant love for one another.” The Samaritan showed love to the Jewish man despite their cultural differences, and saved his life in doing so. That is the definition of whom we are to love and how we are to do it. That is my theological understanding of 1 Peter’s usage of the phrase, “one another.”

The verse in 1 Peter also points to what happens when we fail to love one another. The “multitude of sins” – the thing that distorts the image of God in us and draws borders that get used to define humans as “other,” rather than “one another” – becomes uncovered. The pieces of us which are overrun by fear and mistrust are empowered by this failure. We see separations begin to form, and everything that comes with and builds upon that change.

We see men in turbans, catching glares of mistrust in airports. We see women in burqas, who remain shut-ins, apart from the society that resents that emblem of their faith. We see people of color, killed without fair trial, too often when we open an internet browser. We see refugee children, their bodies washed up on the shores of lands they hoped would bring new life.

interfaith-blog-post-1But that’s not all we see in this world.

A few days ago, I had the privilege of witnessing and participating in an Interfaith Build with Habitat. I saw people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs come together in service to their fellow human. I saw them learn from one another, and begin to grow in understanding of one another’s beliefs and respect for one another. I saw people recognize and cherish the similarity in values across faith backgrounds, and I saw them appreciate the differences, without ignoring or fighting over them.

Most of all, I saw them build. I saw people coming together around a wooden frame, and pouring their sweat, energy, and time into making something out of it. They did it together. They did it with one another, and in many ways, for one another.

Habitat’s found a powerful and radical means of service in these Interfaith Builds. It’s not just about building houses for and alongside people with less privilege, though that would be enough. It’s not just about providing an effective and meaningful outlet for people to serve one another and express their deep-seated values, though that would be enough. It’s about bringing people together. It’s about learning from and sharing with one another. It’s about maintaining constant love for one another, and in my opinion, this has the potential to be the one of the most beautiful things Habitat’s ever done.


Join us Nov. 10 for our Spirit & Place Event

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More Than a Roof: Affordable Homeownership as a Catalyst for Change

With the theme of “Home,” we knew participation in the 2016 Spirit & Place Festival was a must. On Thursday, Nov. 10, we invite you to join a hands-on, interactive experience and conversation about how affordable homeownership can eliminate barriers to a better, healthier, more financially stable life.

In Indiana, the average hourly wage necessary to afford a two‐bedroom, Fair Market Rate (FMR) unit is $14.03. More than half of Hoosier renters (52%) cannot afford the FMR, according to an Indiana 211 Partnership Community Report. The need for affordable housing is real and the benefits of homeownership—stability for children, improved health and safety, increased education and job prospects, and asset building—can be life-changing.

Taking place at Second Presbyterian Church and in partnership with Circles Indy, attendees to this event will enjoy a simple meal beginning at 5:30 p.m. before participating in a poverty simulation. The event will conclude in a group reflection and conversation led by our president & CEO Jim Morris, Marie Wiese with Circles Indy, and Habitat families eager to share their experiences.

This is a free event but space is limited, so please RSVP via the Spirit & Place website by Nov. 7. With questions, please contact Abri Hochstetler at 317.777.6095.


Stability can Help Defeat the Challenge of Mobility

By | From the CEO | No Comments

This correlation shows my age, but for me September was always the month recognized for returning to school. With the change in school calendars, many students now go back to school in early August. My seventh-grader and fifth-grader each started school the first week of August. My son, the seventh-grader, and I reflected recently that he has never attended the same school for more than two years. He went to three different elementary schools; each move because our family moved residences. My daughter has attended two schools.

When asked if either would like to move between several schools in the same school year, they both agreed “that would stink.” “How would you make friends?” my daughter asked. “How could you keep up in class?” my son added.

Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity recently participated in a study (Residential mobility of single mothers in the Indianapolis’ Mid-North area neighborhoods: An exploratory study of chronic moving prepared by Sagamore Institute for Policy Research) on the mobility of students within the same school year, particularly among those considered to be in poverty. The study concluded that single mothers have the greatest challenge with mobility.*

Financial difficulties like lack of housing affordability, loss of stable employment, foreclosure and eviction, or the high cost of rent were major reasons why single mothers moved residences. A mother I spoke to who purchased a home with Greater Indy Habitat revealed that her son had never had a dresser because they moved regularly. Instead, he just put his clothes in a trash bag. She (and he) was elated to have the stability of a home, which also meant he could have a dresser for his clothes.

Anyone living out of a trash bag because of the absence of a stable home is difficult to swallow. The mobility study also reveals that children’s school performance can suffer because of frequent moving. “Student mobility impacts not only students who change schools but also classrooms that have to adjust to a changing student enrollment. Teachers struggle to balance the introduction of the new student while maintaining the education level of the entire classroom. Similarly, classes were not taught consistently across schools, even within districts, such that students faced further change when they were placed in a misaligned course (i.e. -being in Algebra II when knowledge is at an Algebra I level). For students who transfer without a record or transcript, class placements can take weeks to months to perfect, creating more lost time.”

Affordable homeownership provides stability. Greater Indy Habitat’s affordable homeownership program of education, community engagement through volunteerism and a 0% interest mortgage are the building blocks to that stability. It also ensures no child has to live out of a trash bag anymore.

*Study results are in final draft form and expected to be published soon. Please check back with the Sagamore Institute website for the completed study.


Habitat Hosts Fourth Women Build in 2017

By | Volunteer, Women Build | No Comments

Women Funded, Women Built

Each year hundreds of women pick up hammers, power tools, and paintbrushes while leveraging their networks to raise funds and build a Habitat home. The Women Build program recruits, educates, and nurtures women to build and advocate for affordable houses in their communities. In 2017 we will host our fourth Women Build, with the support of women leaders and volunteers, for a first-time homeowner.

Women from all walks of life will work together to raise the funds and walls for the Women Build project. Together they will make up the more than 300 volunteers needed to construct the home. Friends and family will be recruited to support their work through a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. From its inception in 2014, the volunteers of the Women Build project have raised more than $332,000 to provide homes for three families, and support the Greater Indy Habitat mission. View photos of the 2014, 2015, and 2016 builds!

Though team leader spots are filling up, we invite you to share your interest in learning more, or participating in 2017, by emailing


Cabinet Company Finds Bedder Way

By | ReStore | No Comments

High-quality, Unfinished Cabinets Available at the ReStore

Like many local companies, Bedder Way Murphy Bed and Cabinet Company has regularly donated cabinets to the ReStore over the past few years. Unlike most corporate donations, these cabinets are specifically made by Bedder Way for the Greater Indy Habitat ReStores to sell. While making their custom cabinets, Bedder Way ends up with excess of cabinet-grade plywood that doesn’t fit the measurement requirements for the company’s usual product. However, these pieces are large enough to make high-quality unfinished cabinets for the ReStore. These cabinets will show up on the sales floor of our ReStores every couple of months for purchase. They will make a beautiful addition to shoppers’ homes.

The ReStore appreciates donations from our many commercial donors. We are grateful for those partners who go out of their way to use their skills, resources, and expertise to give the ReStore, and ultimately Habitat families, a great boost. Discover how your business can partner with the ReStore by contacting Andy Duncan at 317.777.6078.