Interfaith event celebrates Habitat for Humanity

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Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity from a previous year. (Universe archives)

People of many different faiths came together on Sunday, Sept. 20 to celebrate the Annual Day of Prayer and Action for Human Habitat. The event was associated with the charitable organization Habitat for Humanity and was hosted by St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in downtown Provo.

The event was held to bring people of all faiths together for a worthy cause in the Utah Valley. The speakers of the event were affiliated with many different faiths, but a common theme among all the speakers was the need for Christlike charity. “What drives us is God’s love for His children,” said Gary Jensen, the Utah County Board Chairperson of Habit for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity of Utah County works to provide houses for the needy. (Universe archives)

Habitat for Humanity is a charitable Christian organization that was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. The organization builds affordable homes for the needy. Homes are built by volunteers, paid for with donations and sold for no profit. The organization has built or repaired more than 1 million homes to help more than 5 million people since its creation.

Flora Aleman, a Utah Valley resident, was the recipient of one of the homes built by Habitat for Humanity. The Aleman family moved into their new home on Aug. 1, 2015. Aleman wept as she shared her family’s story at the event. “It was clear that (the Habitat for Humanity volunteers) were working with God’s love in their hearts,” Aleman said.

Dr. Robert L. Millet discusses gaining spiritual strength from prayer during his address at the Annual Day of Prayer and Action for Human Habitat. (Savannah Hawkins)

Many members of the LDS Church were also present at the event. Dr. Robert L. Millet, an emeritus Dean of Religion and former professor of ancient scripture at BYU, shared his testimony of the need for divine aid. Millet has been a visible figure at many interfaith dialogues and works as a coordinator for religious outreach.

“We need help beyond ourselves,” Millet said. “We need help from the source possessing wisdom and perspective and power grander and greater than that possessed by any mortal man. We need help from the Almighty. That recognition, that acknowledgment of our limitations, is not a sign of weakness.”

Millet encouraged Christians to use prayer as a source to access this spiritual strength, regardless of their denomination.

The Rev. Peter Van Hook, reverend for St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, stressed the need for a dialogue between Mormons and Evangelical Christians. “There’s so much interfaith hate, so there’s got to be a witness for how to do it right,” Van Hook said. “There’s so much distrust, mistrust and hate. Some of us have to witness to the alternative, which is that which we preach: love, acceptance, mutual support and caring.”

 

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