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NCC General Secretary says Habitat
puts Christian message into action

New York, February 13, 2006 – The General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA will host a workshop and breakfast promoting the work of Habitat for Humanity Brazil at the World Council of Churches ninth assembly this month in Puerto Alegre, Brazil.

Habitat plans a building project near the assembly site, and the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar said the many communions in the U.S. add similar projects to the agenda of their national meetings.

“Many cities have seen national church groups descend upon their hotels, crowd their shopping malls, become part of the bustle in the streets, and then depart as quickly as we came,” Edgar said.  

“Our presence is so fleeting that we find ourselves looking for ways to be better neighbors – to leave a little bit of our Christian witness behind. The need for shelter is universal, and there is no clearer message in scripture that we are to love, help protect and create a safe haven for our neighbors. Habitat for Humanity, both locally and internationally, is a powerful way to put this message into action.” 

Habitat for Humanity Brazil has been working with the families in Ilha Grande since early 2005 and hopes to build at least 100 houses for the town’s residents in the coming years. Ilha Grande dos Marinheiros is a poverty-stricken community alongside the Guaiba River. The majority of residents lives in dilapidated, wooden shacks and make their living by recycling garbage from a nearby dump.

Sanitation in the community is a huge concern, with 28 percent of the families reporting that they don’t even have access to their own latrine. Not surprisingly, 64 percent of the families also report at least one family member with some sort of chronic illness. To address the health problems, Habitat for Humanity also plans to provide adequate septic systems in addition to the housing.

Ademar Marques, national director for Habitat for Humanity Brazil, says, “As a Christian organization we’re called on to serve people, and we’ve seen that by providing a decent place to live, we’re proving families with a base for development. With a simple, secure home, a family can more easily develop into all that God intends them to be.”   

“Habitat for Humanity was founded at Koinonia Farm, a Christian community in south Georgia, and has since its founding offered churches and Christian organizations a way to put their faith into action,” said Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity International’s chief executive officer.

The assembly of the World Council of Churches meets every seven years. This assembly, taking place Feb. 14-23, is a time of encounter, prayer, celebration and deliberation for thousands of Christian women and men from around the world. The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of more than 340 Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox and other churches in more than 100 countries representing more than 550 million Christians.

Contact NCC News: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2252, or Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350

Contact: José Luis Villaseñor (, International Program Manager, Church Relations, Habitat For Humanity International, (800) 241-0285 or (919) 303-7807 Ext. 4325, Fax (919) 303-3665



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