Manatee Habitat for Humanity Interfaith Build Groundbreaking Draws the Faithful to Washington Park

17 12 09 H4H Interfaith Groundbreaking compressed

Dec. 12, 2017(Bradenton, Fla) - On Saturday, December 9th more than 40 supporters of the Manatee Habitat Interfaith Build braved the rain standing under tents and umbrellas to celebrate and bless the ground breaking of a new home. On the lot at 604 11th Ave. East in Washington Park, members of ten faith communities came together to turn a shovel of dirt and share words of faith and encouragement.

The Kendall family that will be the Habitat home buyers and Habitat staff and volunteers all joined the ceremony. “What a joy as we partner in this Interfaith build! This is a great visible witness to the local community and putting into action our work for affordable housing. Come join us!” said Rev. Rosemary Backer, Manatee Habitat Board of Directors Vice President and Chairperson of the Interfaith Build.

The founding faith communities committed to the project are: Church of the Annunciation and Gloria Dei Lutheran Church of Anna Maria Island, Harvest United Methodist Church and Knights of Columbus Council 13341 of Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church of Lakewood Ranch, Faith United Church of Christ, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church and Trinity Lutheran Church, all in Bradenton; St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Palmetto; and Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton andSt. Armands Key Lutheran Church the in Sarasota.

Those representing the participating faith communities read passages for the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and from the Quran in the ceremony.

“What a wonderful outpouring of love we are receiving,” said Jackie Kendall with her husband Marvin Kendall and their grandson Marcus. Marvin is a custodian at Suncoast Behavioral Health Center in Bradenton and Jackie is a housekeeper in private homes and a “minister outside the walls of church.” Marcus is a 10th grader at Southeast High School. The Kendall’s have three grown children. Their two daughters and son are all military veterans.

After the ceremony people enjoyed a reception held at the home of Mae Lizzie Jennings, a community leader in Washington Park. The participating faith organizations brought sandwiches, chips, cookies, fruit and drinks and the guests had the opportunity to meet the family that will call the Faith Build home their own in roughly six months. The Faith organizations have committed to help raise the $95,000 needed to cover site preparation and construction costs and to provide 3,200 hours of volunteer service – much of it at the work site on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings starting in January.

“We look forward to supporting this effort throughout the construction and remain committed to building our relationship with Manatee Habitat and the faith community,” said John Joly, Knights of Columbus of our Lady of the Angles Catholic Church.

Early on, the Interfaith Build Steering Committee – consisting of representatives of the participating groups – identified three purposes of their project:

  • to build a single-family affordable home in Manatee County
  • to build a coalition of faith communities serving God
  • to witness their unity and their service to the local community

Several of the faith communities have been involved previously in Manatee Habitat homebuilding, but this is the first time multiple denominations and faiths have come together to take on a project from start to finish. The planners envisioned and welcomed the concept of an Interfaith Build and more faith communities are encouraged to join the effort.

You do not need to have construction skills to work on Habitat home building. Volunteers can contribute their time, talents and treasure in many different ways, from on-site labor to organizing fund-raisers to providing mid-morning snacks for the work crews. At the work site, training is provided and construction professionals are present at all times that volunteers are on the job.

Whether you have been involved with Habitat for Humanity before or not, or have construction expertise or not, if you would like to get involved in this project, please speak with your faith community leadership, or contact Amy Van Dell, at Manatee Habitat for Humanity (941) 748-9100 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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