It took the commitment of 13 parishes, the labor of more than 75 volunteers, the purchasing power of a donated $25,000, plus a few other goods thrown in just to make things nicer – all to fix up a house and fulfill a dream.
For the young, immigrant family that is moving in, the numbers they take pride in are 202 Tenth Street, 15215.
At that location in Sharpsburg on Saturday, September 18, the diocesan Habitat project concluded with blessing the house and handing over of the keys to the new owners.
It is a place where 32-year old Abdikadir Muya and his wife, Rukia, can raise their five sons: Mohammed, 13; Ali, 10; Jibril, 7; Moulid, 3; and, Abubakar, a newborn. It is a home of their own, the first for them since Abdi, a Somali Bantu, fled persecution and famine during the Somali Civil War of 1991.
"In Pittsburgh," he says, "I feel l can live a good life."
The Rev. Nate Rugh of Calvary Episcopal Church offered the blessing on behalf of the diocese. The renovation was, as the Committee on Social Justice and Outreach intended, a common mission. The participating parishes were All Saints, Brighton Heights; All Souls, North Versailles; Calvary, Shadyside; Christ Church, North Hills; Holy Cross, Homewood; Nativity, Crafton; Redeemer, Squirrel Hill; St. Andrew's, Highland Park; St. Peter's, Brentwood; St. Paul's, Mt. Lebanon; St. Stephen's, Wilkinsburg; St. Thomas, Oakmont; and Trinity Cathedral, Pittsburgh.
The women of the cathedral also brought a hand-made quilt as a house warming gift. Members of Holy Cross gave house plants. Others provided food for the celebration.
The Habitat project was coordinated by Nancy Lapp, chair of the diocesan Social Justice and Outreach Committee, along with Mark Rust, who is the treasurer on the Habitat of Greater Pittsburgh board, and Christina Bologna, a VISTA faith relations volunteer.
Read more about the Muya family in this Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story.
–Photos courtesy Jerry Stephenson, Christ Church, North Hills