*Alternate* First Reading: Excerpts from an Essay by Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International

So of what am I certain?

I am certain of Habitat’s vision: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.

I am certain of our mission: Seeking to put God’s love into action, we bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope.

I am certain that:

  • We are a welcoming and accepting ministry.
  • We build with people in need of decent housing, regardless of their race or religion.
  • We welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds.
  • We work with people of all faiths and people of no faith.

We have a particular heart for the marginalized in our world. Habitat was born in a place marked by its fierce commitment to the equality of all people and its unfailing devotion to the creation of opportunity for all.

People of faith and strong conviction called Koinonia home, living in the shadow of a community that did not understand, welcome — or in many instances — tolerate them. And yet, because a small group never failed to put their faith into daily practice, what would become our global housing ministry found its footing and its following.

The way we approach our work has been a vehicle for reconciliation and has broken down barriers between people. We work alongside those willing to partner with us, no matter their background or walk of life, and that will always be true.

We firmly believe that no matter who we are or where we come from, we all deserve to have a decent life, to feel strength and stability day after day, and to know that we have the power to help build our own futures.

The words of Jonathan Reckford.