The laughter coming from an imam and minister as they dug fence posts during a Habitat for Humanity interfaith clergy and lay leader build day last summer illustrated the event’s spirit, says Rev. Debra Faulk.
“It was an outpouring of a willingness to work together for the common good that has touched me so deeply,” Debra says, noting there was so much interest in the Aug. 24 day it was split into two shifts with extra volunteers on each.
Rabbi Shaul Osadchey echoes the enjoyment that came from the build day.
“(There were) lots of great jokes and humour and everyone had a good time,” he says. “It really illustrated the whole idea behind it – that we can all get together and do good things in a positive way.”
Calgary’s interfaith community has another opportunity to participate in Habitat for Humanity build days Saturday Feb. 4 and Tuesday Feb. 7 during UN World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Incorporating the build days with Interfaith Harmony Week shows a “demonstration of solidarity among faith groups, each responding to the urgent need for affordable home ownership,” says Les Sawatsky, Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta board member. Habitat for Humanity has a long tradition of interfaith collaboration.
The Habitat for Humanity interfaith build project is a million-dollar commitment to build 10 units of affordable housing. An interfaith music concert (Feb. 11 and 12) Building Sacred Bridges will serve as a fundraiser for the project.
Participants in the February build days will be working on a Habitat for Humanity site in the Bowness area of northwest Calgary. “These build days are designed to build momentum towards raising funds for future interfaith build project site that has not yet been defined,” Les explains. “The future interfaith build project site may involve multiple locations.”
People unable to participate in a Habitat build day can still help through making food or donating money, which is beneficial, Debra says, noting she’s impressed with the fundraising efforts of her Unitarian Church of Calgary congregation.
Though the Building Sacred Bridges concerts take place after the Feb. 1-7 Interfaith Harmony Week the events are included on the program.
The Building Sacred Bridges concerts feature musicians and singers of different faiths from across Calgary including Corpus Christi Male Chorale, YYC Campus Ministry Drum Troupe, United In Song, Kol Sasson (Joyful Sound), Zimran (My Song), Inter-Faith String Ensemble, LDS Institute Choir and Lutheran Church of Our Saviour Praise Singers. A minimum $20 donation is suggested for attendees, with 100 percent of donations going towards local Habitat for Humanity families.
To learn more and register for the events, visit calgaryinterfaithcouncil.org/harmony-week.html or https://habitatsouthernab.ca/news-story/3591/.
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