News Flash! Based on the success of the 2010 Habitat for Humanity project, the diocesan Social Justice and Outreach Committee (SJOC) has identified and plans to adopt another house to renovate in partnership with Habitat in 2013.

In the spring and summer of 2010 the SJOC helped renovate a house in Sharpsburg for a refugee family from Somalia. Bringing together an entire diocese, the project fulfilled its goal to Build a House, Unite a Diocese, Change Lives.

"Everyone has been so helpful. I have learned so much especially through. . . all of the hands-on volunteering. I feel like I can fix anything in my new house," said Abdi Muya, the father of the family of six helped in 2010. "In Pittsburgh, I can live a good life."

We now have more parishes and more people in the diocese that can participate – more people we need to get to know, more need for construction expertise, electricians, and plumbers, and also those who can learn to put up dry wall, pound a nail, and paint! There are jobs for young and old, from making lunches to holding creative fundraisers.

An informational program will be held Sunday afternoon, January 13th, at Calvary Episcopal Church, East Liberty, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Habitat staff will be there to tell us about a house in Sharpsburg we can work on; the seven-member family from Burundi that we can help; the volunteers needed; and most important, how we can fulfill our vision as the Body of Christ and churches working together to fulfill our mission.

We pray that every parish can send representatives, especially someone from their Outreach Committee, a particularly talented builder, and as many enthusiastic workers as they can muster. We'll look at times and types of volunteer opportunities. Look for plans for a new competition between districts. For those who cannot volunteer for physical labor, we need monetary support, and we hope every congregation, large and small, will be able to make a monetary contribution as they are able.

Let us renew our commitment of the mission statement of the Social Justice and Outreach Committee for "the people of God to hear and respond to the cries of the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, and the alienated within our communities, the nation and the world."

Let's strive for 100% participation of the Vibrant Episcopal Communities United in Christ.

The Rt. Rev. Dorsey W. M. McConnell
Bishop of Pittsburgh

Mark Rust
Diocesan Social Justice and Outreach Committee 
Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors

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