By Chris Johnson,
Director of Communications
After a bit of a hiatus from blogging, I’ve decided to use this Fuller Center General blog space each week to give folks (as a Southerner, I reserve the right to use “folks” often) a rundown of some of the week’s events and upcoming opportunities.
The office was closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so I took a drive up to Macon to visit with Fuller Center of Macon leader Dianne Fuller, whose covenant partner chose that Day of Service to begin work on its first Save a House/Make a Home project. Save a House is a perfect fit for Macon, a city with a lot of housing need and a lot of vacant houses that can be made into wonderful homes again with your help.
A team of Mercer University students associated with LEAP (Local Engagement Against Poverty) was there to get the repair work rolling. I also had a chance to meet the homeowner partners — Teresa and Abusomwan West and their son Abusomwan Jr. and nephew Cobe — and their soon-to-be next-door neighbor, Barbara Penniman, second cousin to one of Macon’s most famous natives, Little Richard.
“I would love to see it on more streets and in more neighborhoods,” said Ms. Penniman, who was delighted to meet the Wests and excited about the prospect of Save a House changing Macon neighborhoods. “Wherever the work is done, it will look better and will be better all the way around for the whole neighborhood.”
(By the way, this story has another connection to the world of music. The home was dedicated by the family of Buddy Greene, who wrote the music for the hit gospel song “Mary, Did You Know?” that was recorded by numerous stars with the most well-known version likely that by Kenny Rogers and Wynnona Judd.)
This initiative has so much potential in cities across the United States — that’s why we featured it in a new, very brief email we sent out today. (You can read it here, and if you haven’t signed up for our emails, usually only about 2 a month, click here to do so.) To me, it just makes no sense to have millions of houses sitting vacant at the same time so many families long for a decent home. Repairing these donated houses is less expensive than building new ones. And with the quality work done by our covenant partners and volunteers, these houses often have a unique charm and beauty that harkens back to when they were first built — as will this 1920s-era home in Macon.
Our annual conference began today in Atlanta and continues tomorrow, when I’ll be there to lead a class on communication — or as I like to call it, the highlight of the whole darn event! So, I gotta wrap up this blog and get ready to head to Atlanta, which just might be icy when I head out in the morning.
On a final note, Director of U.S. Field Operations Kirk Lyman-Barner shared with me a great sermon by Kimberleigh Buchanan, pastor of Pilgrimage United Church of Christ in Marietta, Ga. She uses the example of our Fuller Center founder Millard Fuller to show how using your God-given gifts in the right way can change your life … and the world. Click here to read the entire sermon of Jan. 20.
p.s. — Welcome to Brett Safran, who came to Americus this week from Ohio to be the new leader of the Americus-Sumter Fuller Center for Housing. He got acquainted with us through the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure, and he’ll be on the ride again this year. Click here to support his ride.