“Theology of the Hammer” Unites Diverse Faith Groups Building with Tulsa Habitat for Humanity

TULSA, OK – Once again Tulsa Habitat for Humanity breaks new ground, uniting three major faith groups through its “theology of the hammer.” Setting aside theological differences, Christians, Jews, and Muslims, will unite with hammers in hand to build a Habitat home alongside the Habitat family of Starla Elston. This will be the first time in Tulsa Habitat for Humanity’s 21-years of service that the three major faith groups have built together.

The dream of an interfaith home was initiated two years ago in a conversation between Tulsa Habitat Executive Director Paul Kent and Paul Staat, Director of Missions at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church as the church was just completing its seventh Habitat home built locally. “For over a decade as a Christian pastor, my path led me into cherished friendships with people from the Jewish and Islamic communities, but I experienced few opportunities in which the three faith groups served together. Enter Habitat!” said Kent. “I’ve always said that Habitat unites people in a way I don’t often see anywhere else. And now, thanks to Habitat, my friends from these different faiths will all get to come together for the common good of our community.”

The Wall-Raising Ceremony will include Isaac Garnett from the Islamic Society of Tulsa, Paul Staat from Boston Avenue United Methodist, Rabbi Anna Beroll from Temple Israel, Dr. Paul Kent, Tulsa Habitat and Habitat family partner Starla Elston.

The public is invited to this ceremony celebrating the coming together of different faiths, the beginning of new partnerships and the start of a new home!

Ms. Elston has completed 450 hours of her 500-hour Homeowners Program. The program has included building various home components that will go into Habitat homes and completion of a 60-hour money management classes along with various workshops. Ms. Elston will complete her final 50 hours building the home alongside volunteers from the various faith group. She will repay a zero-interest mortgage of which the principal will be used by Tulsa Habitat to support building future Tulsa Habitat homes.

Updated 04-02-2010

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