The dedication of our new house in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town on April 2, 2016
THE HISTORY OF FCHWC AND WHY WE HONOR DR. JEANNIVEE GUTHRIE TODAY
on Saturday, April 2, 2016
By Bishop Louis Green – President and CEO of FCHWC
Anyone who has read the life story of Millard and Linda Fuller would be inspired by it.
" Millard Fuller was the founder and former president of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI). His 29-year leadership, beginning in 1976, forged Habitat into a worldwide Christian housing ministry, building 200,000 homes with projects in 100 countries.
He passed away on Feb. 3, 2009, at the age of 74. He was laid to rest at Koinonia Farm in Americus, Ga., the birthplace of Habitat and The Fuller Center, and the home of his former mentor, Clarence Jordan.
Fuller spent decades traveling and speaking worldwide and earned international recognition for his work advocating decent, affordable housing for all. In September 1996, former President Bill Clinton awarded Fuller the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Clinton said, “Millard Fuller has done as much to make the dream of homeownership a reality in our country and throughout the world as any living person.”
Shortly after Fuller’s death, Former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement in which he called Fuller “one of the most extraordinary people I have ever known."
“He used his remarkable gifts as an entrepreneur for the benefit of millions of needy people around the world by providing them with decent housing,” Carter said in the statement. “As the founder of Habitat for Humanity and later the Fuller Center, he was an inspiration to me, other members of our family and an untold number of volunteers who worked side-by-side under his leadership.”
Millard Fuller developed a theology which is called “The Theology of the Hammer”.
The “theology of the hammer,” teaches us to put aside our differences and to work in partnership with one another.
This theology is about bringing a wide diversity of people, churches, and other
organizations together to build houses and establish viable and dynamic
communities. It is acknowledging that differences of opinion exist on numerous
subjects— political, philosophical, and theological—but that we can find common
ground in using a hammer as an instrument to manifest God’s love.
As we focus on working together to build a house, we realize that the things that
make us the same become more important than the things that keep us apart.
Putting the theology of the hammer into practice will help us eliminate poverty
housing while joining in fellowship and being of service to those in need.
Millard Fuller’s mission was his life.
Every breath he drew was utilized to improve the quality of life of those who are unfortunate enough to live in the worst of places. Despite the notable and difficult absence left by Fuller – a true servant leader – the organization that bears his name and his mission carries on. Linda, his wife of 49 years and the co-founder of both Habitat and The Fuller Center, said that Millard would not want people to mourn his death. Instead, he would be more interested in having people put on a tool belt and build a house for someone in need.
Meeting the Guthries in Cape Town in 1996
Twenty years ago, in 1996, I met Bishop JD Guthrie and his late wife, Dr. Jeannivee Guthrie, with a delegation of saints from FAC, Atlanta, Georgia, in the corridors of Parliament.
They have been an inspiration to me and Liz, and many others throughout the Western Cape for more than 20 years.
In September 2013, I expressed the desire to visit the Fuller Center for Housing in Americus, Georgia. At that time, Rev Hillton Dennis was also with me on that trip to the USA.
We had no transport, and the Guthries, with great enthusiasm from Dr. Guthrie, took us to Americus, Georgia, and that is where it all began.
I did a presentation to a few Board members of the Fuller Center for Housing in Americus, motivating to them why we need a chapter in Cape Town, South Africa. They accepted our request without hesitation and that is how we started with them.
Despite our few resources, both Bishop JD Guthrie and Dr. Guthrie always encouraged us to continue the work in Cape Town, notwithstanding our hardships.
Two years ago Dr. Guthrie has been called home to be with the Lord, but she left a legacy for us here in Cape Town, and that is why we are gathered here today in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town, RSA.
Dedicating our first new house in honor of Dr Jeannivee Guthrie
We have chosen a special way to honor this humble woman of God, who inspired us greatly here to do the Lord's work amongst the poorest of the poor. Not only has she taught us to pray, preach and teach, but she also taught us to give of our substance and resources (including our time) to alleviate the suffering of the poor.
It is, for this reason, we are dedicating our FIRST HOUSE (built with our own hands and with volunteer labor) in Bonteheuwel to this great woman of God, whom the Lord has called home.
We are celebrating the life work of Dr. Jeannivee Guthrie today and we give honor to the seed she has sown in Cape Town.
We are remembering her work here by dedicating our first new house built by the Fuller Center for Housing Western Cape.
We are privileged to receive Bishop JD Guthrie, the P.A.W. Diocesan of Georgia, who will is a guest speaker to dedicate our first house in the name of Dr. Jeannivee Guthrie.
Also accompanying him is his sister Deborah Guthrie-Lewis, who has traveled to RSA many times to support the P.A.W. work.
We thank them both for their unwavering support and encouragement for our work in the Western Cape throughout the many years.
Let us, therefore, rise to our feet to have a minute of silence in honor of the late Dr. Jeannivee Guthrie.