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Build with the Bishop

Posted: 2009-04-14 00:00:00

The Reverend Thomas Aitken, bishop of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA will be the special guest at the Habitat for Humanity build on Tuesday, June 16, 2009. Bishop Aitken and the entire synod staff will be working along-side volunteers from around the East Range area to raise the walls with Angela Curry, our future Habitat homeowner.

Bishop Aitken was contacted recently about the day and said,

The importance of becoming part of ‘Build with the Bishop Day’ is that it puts ‘skin’ on what otherwise could easily just become ‘principle’ or ‘things we really probably should do’ but never really get around to doing them. The gospel is not merely a message. It’s a person. The gospel is enfleshed. Jesus really came and lived among us—in the flesh. He not only spoke about the Kingdom, he ‘did’ the Kingdom everywhere he went: children were picked up in his arms, lepers were touched and healed, warring kin were brought together because he was there ‘in the flesh’, not merely offering some kind of theoretical ‘class’ on reconciliation. Jesus came to reconcile the world - and the New Testament describes Christians as fellow workers with Jesus, and as people who have been given the ‘ministry of reconciliation.’ When we roll up sleeves, put a hammer in our hand and connect together wood on wood to form a frame, then a wall, then a ceiling and roof, our whole being has been involved. This includes the muscles that ache the next day, the conversation that took place while serving on a
team, the feelings deep down in our souls that arise as a result of the interplay between intentions, will, hands and feet, sweat and prayer, thoughts and feelings. It is a holistic experience. This kind of love incarnated in us, helps not only those we are building a house for - but our own total spirituality as well.


Indeed, the plan for the day is to raise the walls for the new house. This will be a great day of noisy building; where there will be new walls for the house and new relationships for the builders! Plenty of nails and boards will be available for all hammers that bring arms to swing them.

This is not the first time that Habitat for Humanity has partnered with Lutherans. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a committed partner with Habitat for Humanity, donating thousands of dollars toward homes across the country. In 2009, Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity will contribute more than $24 million to help build another 314 affordable homes in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Hundreds of local Habitat affiliates will build these homes alongside members of Thrivent Financial and other community volunteers.

Locally, North St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity has been awarded $63,635.00, or 65 percent of the funds necessary, to build another home in 2009 through the alliance. This home will be built by area volunteers, of whom at least one-half will be Lutheran and one-fourth will be Thrivent Financial members. The Curry family will also invest 200 hours of “sweat equity” helping to build their home. Construction will begin early in June and is expected to continue for about 6 months.

Pastor Brian Birk, a long time member of Habitat for Humanity Board as well as the Mesabi chapter of Thrivent is also on the Thrivent Builds Team. He invited the bishop to attend the build to help inspire other Lutherans to become involved with Habitat for Humanity as part of their outreach ministry.

The city of Eveleth has taken a major step in its support of Habitat for Humanity by donating the lot at 202 15th Ave W in West Eveleth for the upcoming build.

All are invited to this unique opportunity to meet Bishop Aitken and lend a hand in the build. So we invite you to bring a hammer (optional, yet welcome) and meet us at United in Christ Lutheran Church, 201 Station 44 Road in Eveleth, at 9:00 a.m. for coffee and devotions, thanks to the graciousness of Pastors Joel and Emily Rove-Hegener. From there we will go to the build site for a day of fellowship and fun. A delicious lunch will be prepared by women of Gethsemane Lutheran Church, led by Jean Collins. Remember to come dressed for the event – this is northern Minnesota, after all!

-Judy Peliska
Church Relations Committee Member