Local pastors work on Habitat home

PARKERSBURG – Area ministers were helping to build a better future for a Parkersburg family as they participated in Habitat For Humanity’s Pastors Build Day.

About eight pastors from local churches gathered Thursday at the site of Habitat’s latest home build at 1010 Summers St. to help get the walls up for the project.

“We are raising the walls on our 68th house,” said Alvin Phillips, executive director for Wood County Habitat For Humanity. “We have invited local pastors to come out and be with us today.

“We have a number of pastors here who are with local congregations.”

Habitat has always had close ties to the Christian faith and the pastors at many churches.

“With Habitat being a Christian ministry, we feel like it is a natural fit,” Phillips said. “We hope they have a good day and are interested in encouraging some of their church folks to come out as well.”

The four-bedroom, two-bathroom house is being built for Sam and Melissa Dotson and their four children.

The Dotsons were working on the house.

“I think this is great,” Melissa said of the local pastors coming out.

“If it wasn’t for people like them, this would never happen,” Sam said. “There are so many good people, you just don’t realize.”

The Dotsons expected to have the exterior walls up by the end of the day last Thursday.

“When we started it was just the sub-floor,” Sam said. “It is moving along really well. We have a lot of good people and a lot of help.”

With volunteer labor, the home is expected to be completed by February.

“We are really looking forward to being able to move in,” Melissa said.

Habitat uses volunteer labor, donations and donated materials and land to keep homes affordable for those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to own their own homes through conventional means.

Habitat homeowners are required to attend homebuyer education classes and complete “sweat equity” hours in working on local Habitat projects as well as their own. The homeowners pay a zero-percent interest mortgage to buy the house from Habitat.

The walls being put up are specially insulated that will make the home more energy efficient. The walls had to be assembled by putting interlocking joints together.

The pastors involved in the building talked about the need to build a better community and better lives for people in the community.

“A bunch of us pastors are here to build,” said Ian Reed, pastor of the First Lutheran Church.

Rich McClure, pastor of First Baptist Church on Market Street, said many of the pastors were enjoying their time working on the house.

“Things are going great,” he said. “We pastors are learning a lot.

“We feel like we are able to give a hand. Habitat has been a good mission partner for us. We are excited to be a part of what is going on here today.”

In putting up the walls, McClure said it was more detailed work than someone might imagine.

“We are finding that although it looks easy enough, it requires someone who knows what they are doing,” he said with a laugh. “We have put things up, taken things down and put things up again.

“Fortunately, it is free volunteer labor and it is not costing them by the hour.”

Many churches are looking for ways to help people throughout the community.

“Every church is looking for some kind of mission outlet, something to do in the community to make a difference in the lives of people around their churches,” McClure said. “Habitat is a great venue to do that. Alvin works well with pastors and we feel like it is a partnership that we can work on together.”

Phillips asked the pastors for continued prayers for the work Habitat is doing as well as put them in contact with members who might like to volunteer to build. He also asked for prayers in leading deserving families to them.

The Rev. Chrissy Ruehl, associate pastor at Stout Memorial United Methodist Church in Parkersburg and president of the Wood County Ministerial Alliance, said Habitat for Humanity helps a lot of people and that is part of their own jobs in their churches.

“I think it is important because Habitat does a lot for our community and we should give back in some way to that,” she said. “We are having fun, learning some new skills and spending some time together.

“This is a good opportunity to do that.”

Phil Richards, senior pastor at Cornerstone Gospel Church in Vienna, commented he was at the build to make sure the home’s cornerstone is secure.

“I believe that Christ has told us to love others,” he said. “I believe that this is the greatest way to do that by giving of ourselves and giving of our time to make sure that others know that they are loved and supported and that God loves them.”