Connectionalism at Work: Dothan District Ready to Build Habitat House

May 14, 2018
(Kari C. Barlow for the AWF Conference) -  The Dothan District of the Alabama-West Florida Conference is ready to build a house. After almost two years of fundraising, the district has raised the $40,000 needed to sponsor the construction of a Coffee County Habitat for Humanity house for Benita Smith, who lost her home in the 2015 Christmas Day floods in Elba.
 
“Two years felt like a long time, but I knew we’d get there eventually,” District Superintendent Sara Shaver said.
 
Smith, along with officials from Coffee County Habitat and the Dothan District, celebrated the project’s groundbreaking on April 22.
 
“It was really heartwarming,” Shaver said. “It’s on a really nice site with a lot of trees.”
 
It was Shaver’s district leadership team, which is comprised of clergy members and laity from across the 91-church district, that was moved to act after seeing how much damage the torrential rains had caused in Elba.
 
“When the flood happened, it was really a no-brainer,” Shaver added. “We felt like that was the where we needed to concentrate our efforts. … It was devastating. Some people had lost everything.”
 
Shaver said she is especially thankful for the many churches and individuals and organizations—including The Bethel Boys, a popular Christian comedy troupe—across the district who helped raise money for the house even when they had other projects that needed attention.
 
“It’s pretty exciting that we’ve come together and focused our efforts,” she said. “It’s our connectionalism at work!”
 
Now Shaver and her leadership team are eager to do their share to get Smith’s two-bedroom, two-bath house built and ready to be occupied. When construction starts in the next few weeks, she and her staff are already planning to take a few days to work at the site.
 
Coffee County Habitat Chairman Charlene Goolsby said the two-bedroom, two-bath house, which will be located on land that Smith owns on the outskirts of Elba, will be the nonprofit’s 23rd home. Construction is expected to last about four months.
 
“We are so excited,” Goolsby said. “I know all of the churches have worked hard. It’s certainly a mission project.”