Habitat for Humanity Photos: Completion & Dedication

Two weeks before the dedication ceremony, red Virginia clay topsoil is spread around the nearly completed house, as the final stage of the building comes into sight: landscaping.

The crowd gathering for the Dedication Ceremony on a sunny Saturday, December 9, 2000.

David Neumeyer, Lynchburg Coordinator of the Soulforce/Habitat Build huddles with Ex-Mayor Pete Warren, as the crowd gathers for the Dedication.

Mary Adams, Director of the Greater Lynchburg Habitat for Humanity, exclaims her amazement at the smelting pot of diversity that came together to build this house, and who now gathers for the Dedication ceremony. What a vision of hope!

Diana Westbrook presents a Proclaimation from Soulforce to the Hintons, as one of many smiles is created from within.

As the crowd cheers, the keys are handed over to the proud owners by Tom Van Valkenburg.

The ribbon is finally cut with Habitat Volunteer Manager Doug Fields, and Director Mary Adams, looking on, as the crowd cheers again. Thankyou, for the vision of the Rev. Dr. Mel White, and the hard work of Soulforce and Friends from around the world, and in cooperation with the Greater Lynchburg Habitat for Humanity: "We dedicate this home as a symbol of love and cooperation between a family, a community of builders, and a community dedicated to justice for all of God’s children."

Habitat for Humanity Photos

The Rev. Dr. Mel White, Soulforce co-founder, and Kevin Hinton, the proud owner-to-be.

Putting up the siding was gratifying work.

Signing an interior 4 x 4. It won’t show — but we’ll know it’s there!

It was amazing that by lunch on the first day, what only hours earlier had been a slab was beginning to resemble a house. We had WALLS!

The heaviest, hardest work was raising the trusses for the second story roof.

About 45 Soulforce volunteers participated during the week. About half had been among the Soulforce delegates who met with the Rev. Jerry Falwell the previous October.

Fifteen Lynchburg churches volunteered to assist with the Soulforce-Habitat effort. One of the ways they helped was by bringing boxed lunches and sodas to the worksite every day around noon.

Soulforce volunteers assembled on October 3 at 8 a.m., they were faced with only the foundation upon which the house was to be built. But the lumber and tools were already assembled for them and — with the help of capable Habitat staff — the work began.

Habitat for Humanity Construction Schedule – Phase II

October 28 – December 9, 2000

Where to go, what to do
The Soulforce-Habitat for Humanity house is located on Floyd between 9th and 10th streets. Parking is available at Westminster Presbyterian Church at Floyd and 10th.

Work begins at 8 a.m. All volunteers must sign in (look for the sign-in table under the white canopy). Habitat staff will be there at all times, showing you where to go and what to do.

Lunches will be brought to the work site around 11:30 a.m., coordinated by First Christian Church and provided by First Christian and other Lynchburg-area churches. (Make sure to thank them.)

Mary Adams, executive director, Greater Lynchburg Habitat for Humanity, offers the following advice:
* If you can, bring a hammer, utility knife, measuring tape and pencil. If you can’t bring them, not to worry — Habitat can provide. If you are able to bring your own, make sure to label with your name.
* Wear *old* work clothes; the soil is mostly red clay.
* Work gloves are highly recommended; heavy shoes are a must.
* A baseball hat and sunscreen are good protection from the sun.
* Be flexible; construction is a "linear process" and many things can’t be tackled until the previous component is completed.
* "No job is too small to be important" (Mary’s exact words).

A few suggestions if you’re staying overnight, recommended by the local Chamber of Commerce:
– Best Western, 2815 Candlers Mountain Road, (877) 444-7088 [toll-free]
– Budget Inn of Lynchburg and Bedford, Route 460-W, (540) 586-8182
– Comfort Inn, Route 29 at Odd Fellows Road, (800) 228-5158
– Courtyard by Marriott,4640 Murray Place, (800) 321-2211 [Note: Many of us stayed here last October.]
– Days Inns Lynchburg, 3320 Candlers Mountain Road, (800) 787-DAYS
– EconoLodge, U.S. Route 29, 2400 Stadium Road, (800) 553-2666
– Hampton Inn, 5604 Seminole Avenue, (804) 237-2704
– Holiday Inn Select, 601 Main Street, (804) 528-2500
– Lynchburg Hilton, 2900 Candlers Mountain Road, (804) 237-6333
– Innkeeper of Lynchburg, 5600 Seminole Avenue, (800) 822-9899
– Ramada Inn and Conference Center, U.S. Route 29 and Odd Fellows Road, (800) 721-1160
– Ramada Inn Ltd., 1500 Main Street, (804) 845-5975

If you would prefer housing with a member of a Lynchburg-area church, contact Sandy Knodel at (804) 384-8626 (First Christian Church), or David Neumeyer at (804) 528-4722 (work) or (804) 384-3936 (home).

If you have questions, please call Diana Westbrook, co-chair, Soulforce-Habitat project, (804) 266-5370 or e-mail (prosedoc@aol.com). As co-chair, Diana participated in the entire first week of construction, so she has hands-on experience. Feel free to contact her.

While in Lynchburg, another key contacts are the following:
* Sandy Knodel, First Christian Church, (804) 384-8626
* Mary Adams, Greater Lynchburg Habitat for Humanity, (804) 528-3774

In perspective
I know you must already be aware of the recent murder of Danny Overstreet in a gay bar in Roanoke, VA, less than an hour from Lynchburg. Ronald Edward Gay has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the shooting. According to police, earlier that evening Gay told an employee at another bar that he wanted to "go waste some faggots."

The awful coincidence of the rampage only days before we arrived to begin construction underscored yet again that anti-gay rhetoric can lead to anti-gay violence.

We’ve returned to Lynchburg to help shelter the homeless, as we are admonished to do. We’re also demonstrating to Jerry Falwell that his anti-gay rhetoric about the "gay lifestyle" is not based on reality. We’re dedicating our efforts to the memory of Danny Overstreet.

Habitat for Humanity Construction Schedule

October 3 – December 9, 2000

Soulforce originally called for volunteers last fall, and 35 of you responded. But there’s room for more.

Soulforce volunteers planning to spend the week, October 3-7, should plan to arrive on Monday afternoon, October 2, for dinner and a Habit for Humanity briefing at the First Christian Church, our Soulforce sanctuary for the week. First Christian is also providing housing for all volunteer workers who request it.

Here’s the schedule:

Tue., Oct. 3 – need 20 helpers Framing walls; sheathing
Wed., Oct. 4 – need 20 helpers Framing walls, 2nd floor; sheathing
Thu., Oct. 5 – need 20 helpers 2nd Floor, walls; sheathing interior walls, stairwell, doors and windows
Fri., Oct. 6 – need 20 helpers Roof trusses, paper, porches
Sat., Oct. 7 – need 25 helpers Shingles, facia, rake trim; finish porches, finish framing
Sat., Oct. 14 – need 20 helpers Vinyl siding, porches, wall insulation
Sat., Oct. 28 – need 15 helpers Finish siding, carpentry; trim started
Sat., Nov. 4 – need 15 helpers Trim, set cabinets, paint prep, interior doors
Sat., Nov. 11 – need 15 helpers Finish trim, painting
Sat., Nov. 18 – need 15 helpers Finish painting, hardware
Sat., Dec. 2 – need 10 helpers Final touchups, paint porches; punchlist
Sat., Dec. 9 – need 15 helpers Landscaping, cleaning

Dedication TBA

Gandhi says there are two ways to do justice:
First, help those who suffer, and second, help cut off the suffering at its source. Here’s our chance to help end the suffering of one homeless family. Jewish and Christian prophets both call us to "house the homeless." Here’s a wonderful opportunity to do our Creator’s bidding. Don’t worry about not having skills or experience at building a house. Habitat encourages everyone to serve — not just those with construction experience. Volunteers are encouraged to use their existing talents — and to discover and develop new skills along the way.

I can do it — sign me up!

Come Build with Soulforce – Habitat for Humanity

July 18, 2000

Hello, friends! Diana Westbrook here.

I know you must be wondering how the plans are coming along. There hasn’t been much to report till now, but suddenly things are really swinging into gear.

Most important, the dates now are set: October 3-7 (Tuesday through Saturday), along with subsequent Saturdays through December 9 (excluding Thanksgiving Saturday).

It appears that Thomas Road Baptist Church will not participate, though as Mel says, "Jerry is full of surprises, and we may hear from him yet." First Christian Church (Soulforce Central) and St. John’s Episcopal Church (another supportive church from October) are recruiting local volunteers and raising the final funds needed from Lynchburg-area churches and synagogues.

We’ll soon have registration for the project on the Soulforce web site, along with a fairly detailed construction schedule. We’ll also ask for additional specifics regarding your strengths and preferences.

When you register, you can indicate the dates you want to participate. If you really want to be a part of the effort but can’t commit to the entire week, not to worry. Habitat recognizes that volunteers may need to "come and go" as their job and home responsibilities necessitate.

We need for all of you to register your intent to participate on the Soulforce web site. Check the site over the next couple of weeks — the Habitat info should be posted soon.

I’ll keep you informed as additional specifics are finalized. In the meantime, feel free to contact me with questions or concerns. Many thanks for your interest in helping with the construction of the Soulforce in Lynchburg Habitat for Humanity house. It’s a mighty exciting way to follow up with the good work we began last October.

Mel and Gary will be present for the entire week and will lead us in special worship and training sessions along the way. Mel will be preaching at First Christian on Sunday, October 8.

If you have questions, be sure to contact me.

God bless,
Diana Westbrook
804.266.5370 [h]
804.287.6217 [w–new]