Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill

Sea Island Habitat for Humanity celebrates 25th anniversary

JOHNS ISLAND — The Lowcountry was visited March 15 by Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity. Fuller was in town to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sea Island Habitat for Humanity. The affiliate is among 2,000 worldwide.

In 1977, one year after Fuller started Habitat, the people of John’s Island applied for affiliate status. In 1978, they became the third international affiliate. Twenty-five years and 135 homes later, the community is celebrating their ever-growing success. Over the years, they have created five neighborhoods of Habitat homes on John’s Island.

During his stay, Fuller visited home sites and worked alongside volunteers. He met with homeowners and dedicated five homes in a special ceremony at the newest Habitat neighborhood, Sea Island Place.

That night, the Sea Island affiliates organized a “Habitation” celebration at Church of Our Savior. Local music groups performed; Fuller gave an address; homeowners gave testimonies, and one college student shared his experience working with Habitat for Humanity.

Nathan Walsh is a senior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and is spending his second spring break along with classmates on John’s Island. They join 19 other colleges coming to work with Sea Island Habitat this spring. Locally, the College of Charleston students regularly get involved with home building, and the Medical University of South Carolina School of Dental Medicine recently added their name to the list of whole house donors.

Walsh gave a brief testimony to the rewards of this alternative spring break. He described the work as “the gift that keeps on giving.”

“Together we can change the world one family at a time,” said the senior.

Local churches and individals also get involved. Gene and Prudence Yost, parishioners of Holy Spirit Church, have been involved with Habitat for 10 years and recently donated funds for an entire house.

Fuller acknowledged the hard work and dedication of college students. He said of the 30,000 students opting for an alternative spring break this year, one-third of those are working with Habitat.

He shared stories about his longtime friend President Jimmy Carter, a man many think founded the home-building movement. He said he’s asked time and again how he feels when people think Carter founded Habitat.

He replied simply, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish in life if you don’t worry about who gets the credit.”

Since 1984, Carter and his wife have helped build houses each year. Last year, they and the Fullers and 4,300 volunteers in South Africa built 100 houses in five days. This land, where they plan to build 200 more homes, has been vacant for 40 years, when the apartheid regime tore down the homes and displaced the hundreds of people of mixed races who were living there in Cato Manor.

Habitat has renamed the neighborhood Place of Hope.

“We are in the hope building, dream building business,” said Fuller.

He described situations in which Habitat has brought people together, such as in Belfast, Northern Ireland, were Protestants and Catholics are building together.

“You don’t have to hate someone just because they believe differently than you,” said the Habitat founder. “Increasingly, Habitat for Humanity should be a part of the reconciliation process.”

Carter recently told him that the greatest discrimination is economic. To that Fuller said we should count our blessings and remember our neighbor who may not have a bed to sleep in or a roof over their head.

He also said to continue in the direction of peace.

“Jesus promoted a love that knew no boundaries, to love even your enemies,” said Fuller. “We want to tear that page out of the bible when someone’s wronged us.”

The hundred or so people gathered on that rainy night on John’s Island have all been working toward peace through Habitat with a hammer and paint and many prayers.

Fuller told the diverse crowd at Church of Our Savior, “God has used you in a wonderful way, but he’s not through with you yet.”

  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Mar 304:30 pm Spring Art Exhibit
    From the Calendar of Bishop England Charleston
    6:15 pm Talent Show
    From the Calendar of Our Lady of the Rosary Greenville
    Mar 31All Day 3rd Quarter Honor Roll TAG Day
    From the Calendar of Bishop England Charleston
    SEARCH Retreat
    From the Calendar of Youth Ministry
    All Day Report Cards Issued
    From the Calendar of St. Martin de Porres School Columbia
    All Day Conference Week
    From the Calendar of St. Joseph School Anderson
    All Day Parent Conferences- Noon Dismissal
    From the Calendar of St. Peter School Beaufort
    9:00 am Mass
    From the Calendar of Our Lady of the Rosary Greenville
    2:15 pm School Stations of the Cross
    From the Calendar of St. Mary School Greenville
    5:00 pm Fish Fry
    From the Calendar of St. Michael School Murrells Inlet
    Apr 1All Day CNDM- Cardinal Newman Dance Marathon
    From the Calendar of Cardinal Newman School
    2:00 am Bishop to attend Dedication of Habitat House - Charleston
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    10:00 am First Communion Retreat
    From the Calendar of Holy Trinity North Myrtle Beach
    What We Have Seen and Heard; A Reflection and Dialogue on Peace - Aiken SC
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    5:00 pm 15th Annual Spring Auction
    From the Calendar of St. Michael School Murrells Inlet
    Apr 29:30 am Bishop to say Mass - St. Mary's - Charleston
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Vietnamese Women's Club
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Apr 3All Day Mid-Quarter progress alert for 4th Quarter
    From the Calendar of Bishop England Charleston
    All Day Spring Break
    From the Calendar of Our Lady of Peace North Augusta
    All Day External Review
    From the Calendar of St. Andrew School Myrtle Beach