FMC TINY HOUSE BUILD

First Mennonite Church is building a Tiny House!
Tiny House Update #1

Tiny House Update #1

We’re well on the way! Perry staked out the lot on Wednesday, 10/28, with the help of Phil and Dannie. After receiving city approval to start digging, the work began on Saturday morning, 10/31!

Lot as it looked at the end of the day Saturday.  Three sides of trench completed.

Footer forms

The work continues!

Stay tuned for the next update!

Groundbreaking Blessing

Groundbreaking Blessing

On Monday, October 26, about twenty-five of us, including representatives from CU at Home and the city of Champaign, met on-site at 509 Alabama Ave to pray a blessing over the work. These are the words we shared:

Welcome to 509 Alabama Avenue, the future location of a small home to be built by First Mennonite Church as an investment in the work and ministry of CU at Home.

As so often happens, the vision for this project began with relationships. A longtime friend and member of our congregation needs a simple, warm, comfortable, and affordable home. We hope that this place will be a home for him.

With help and encouragement from his other friends in Champaign, we explored many options and prayed for each possibility as it arose, things like renting from other members of the church or purchasing a small house. Members of the community within and outside First Mennonite offered significant financial support.

But even as possibility after possibility did not work out, God was planting the seeds for another idea.

Restoration Urbana Ministries owned this land and had no plans for its use.

CU at Home has been a local leader in meeting housing needs in our community for almost a decade. And First Mennonite has long supported and occasionally partnered with CU at Home. So we reached out to Rob Dalhaus, CU at Home’s Executive Director, with a thought: First Mennonite has access to land, along with the vision and resources to build a tiny house. Would CU at Home receive it, as a gift? The first person to make a home of it will likely be our friend and congregant. After that, through CU at Home it may also become a home for others.

This journey that began with these friendships and partnerships also paints a bigger picture. “The personal is political,” as some have said. We know that in our city and in cities across the United States, there is a dramatic shortfall of safe, comfortable, and affordable homes. Home ownership is inaccessible to many, and rental costs are simply too high, having outpaced the incomes of average workers. So today as we break ground on this tiny house built upon so many relationships, we also break ground on the vision that a safe, comfortable, and affordable place to live is a birthright that God wishes to bestow on all people.

Let us pray:

1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 91:1)
O God of shelter, we stand on this place with a vision that it will one day soon be a shelter that keeps your children warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and safe through the day and night.
We give thanks for your wisdom reflected in the many people and relationships that have come together to make this happen.
For Restoration’s gift of the land.
For CU at Home’s partnership and accompaniment with so many in our community.
     For Perry Biddle’s expertise and time to design and build.     For Mary, Norma, Marcia, Bob, and Tom organizing details.
For the compassion and generosity of Kerri and others who are joined to us through friendship and care for a dear friend.
For the whole First Mennonite congregation giving of time and money and prayers – including those who gave years ago in faith to provide funds for this project, long before we knew what it would be.
For all this and more, O God, we give you thanks.
God who walks with us always, be with us on this special occasion.

2: We pray for safety and strength for the workers. Guide our hands and our hammers. May this act of service build up our fellowship. As we strive side by side to build one tiny part of your kingdom, may we also grow closer to one another as you build us into the body of Christ.

3: God of compassion, we pray for all in our community who do not have a place to live and sleep, Lead them to a place where they feel safe, where they can be warm, and where they can rest. If needed and whenever possible, use us to help make this happen. May the future house at 509 Alabama Avenue be a place of respite and safety for many.

4: We pray for the many small details still taking shape. May the colors and textures of the house, the plants in the yard, every grain of wood in the walls be a witness to your love that enfolds and embraces us all. For all who are part of this planning, give us wisdom to plan and communicate and choose.

5: May this work strengthen our whole community, a sign of what’s possible when people come together with compassion and generosity. May Champaign-Urbana one day soon be a place where every single person has a safe, warm, comfortable, and affordable place to live.

6: Christ our Rock, God our foundation,
Consecrate this ground with a vision of your love in action.
As our shovels break ground on this tiny part of your grand earth,
we ask that you break ground on the shared hope and joy in our lives.
As the sweat from our work falls and mixes with the dirt of this place,
may it be poured out as a sweet blessing on the land in this place.
Infuse the soon-to-be-poured foundations of 509 Alabama Avenue with your Holy Spirit of sanctuary
and a rich outpouring of your never-ending grace.
Keep us always grateful, O God.
May we every day give thanks for the foundations of love and service that make every day possible.
It is by faith in Christ we pray, AMEN.

Tiny House Update #1

We're well on the way! Perry staked out the lot on Wednesday, 10/28, with the help of Phil and Dannie. After receiving city approval to start digging, the work began on Saturday morning, 10/31! Lot...

Groundbreaking Blessing

On Monday, October 26, about twenty-five of us, including representatives from CU at Home and the city of Champaign, met on-site at 509 Alabama Ave to pray a blessing over the work. These are the...