(This is the latest installment of our “Faith in Action” series. If you have a story of how involvement with The Fuller Center has impacted your faith, please let us know at this link.)
There were many common sights at the 2017 Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Indianapolis back in June.
You could not open your eyes in the Tuxedo Park area that week without seeing hard hats, mud, sawhorses, pickup trucks, tool trailers … and Jan Rosenberg with her large camera.
The founder of Heritage Education Resources, now based in Bloomington, Indiana, is passionate about history and preservation. The idea of a build to rejuvenate a once-thriving, historic area of Indianapolis was intriguing, and she spent the entire week documenting the project in photos and through countless interviews with volunteers and local residents.
Also, as a Jewish woman, she was interested to see the Christian nonprofit Fuller Center for Housing in action.
“I am Jewish — a believer in the Deuteronomy edict, ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one,'” Rosenberg said. “With that in mind, my internal question was: How do people express their love of God through their acknowledgement of John 3:16 and how was this done by building houses that became homes?”
“The answer, for this group of volunteers, was plain and powerful,” she added. “Love, strength, skill, and the willingness to put all of that into a structure was all so present, not only with the builders, but with the families who I interviewed. It all didn’t change my spiritual relations as a Jew, but it did provide me with the belief that (1) God is love, and (2) that there are so many ways of expressing that.”
The five new homes built during that week were the historic neighborhood’s first new home builds in decades. It reminded long-time residents of its thriving past and encouraged others to spruce up their properties. While most people hailed the build as a starting point for a brighter future, Rosenberg is now focused on Tuxedo Park’s past.
“I took over 500 photographs and have written a small book on the Legacy Build in Indianapolis,” she said. ” am now designing and implementing an archive, research facility, and an oral history project for the neighborhood church, Tuxedo Park Baptist Church on North Grant. This is one place where I can do my bit in service to God and community.”