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WAUMC joins area churches in blessing 13th Habitat for Humanity house

April 23, 2013

Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church will join with four other congregations in blessing its 13th Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity house on Saturday, April 27 from 1 - 2 p.m.

The five-church coalition began work on the Washington Park neighborhood house in June 2012. Working with WAUMC were St. Pius X and Christ King parishes in Wauwatosa, Emmanuel Community United Methodist Church in Menomonee Falls and New Berlin’s St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.

Together, the congregations raised approximately $60,000 to fund the project. They also purchased the family a new washer and dryer.

More than 50 volunteers contributed approximately 960 hours to build this Habitat house. Church volunteers helped the homeowners with framing, stair construction, insulating, dry walling, priming and painting, carpentry and laying the floor. Other volunteers cooked meals for the work crews.

The house was completed in February 2013 and the family moved into their new home last month.

Homeowners Lay Lay and Moo Wah are Burmese immigrants who came to the United States after escaping their homeland on foot to Thailand. They each lived in refugee camps for more than 10 years before traveling to Milwaukee where they met. Married in 2009, they have two children ages 2 and 3.

All Habitat homeowners are required to contribute a minimum 250 hours of “sweat equity” to the building of their home and other Habitat houses. Those unable to perform construction tasks volunteer in Habitat offices. These hands-on efforts help give homeowners a vested interest in their houses.

Habitat for Humanity makes decent, affordable housing accessible to hard-working families with limited financial resources. Potential clients are interviewed and evaluated by Habitat staff as part of the approval process.

Upon taking occupancy, homeowners assume responsibility for a 20-year, interest-free loan and must make monthly house payments of about $500 (includes taxes and insurance) to Habitat for Humanity.

“WAUMC is grateful to have helped fund and construct 13 Habitat for Humanity houses in Milwaukee's central city. This social justice organization is a perfect fit for our church as we ’Gather as friends, grow in faith and share God's love’,” WAUMC Pastor Sue Burwell explains.

Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church dates back to 1848 and began with 42-members. Today, the congregation is more than 400 strong and firmly committed to inclusiveness, celebrating a diversity of people, ideas and cultures.

WAUMC offers two Sunday services, Christian education classes for individuals ages 3 through adult, a variety of adult and youth music programs and Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops. The congregation is involved with more than a dozen local, national and international mission outreach efforts.

The Mary of Magdala, Apostle to the Apostles, inclusive Vatican II Catholic Church celebrates Eucharist every Sunday in Wesley Hall at 9:45 a.m. on the WAUMC campus, as of Jan. 13, 2013.

For more information, call 414-453-0700 or visit www.waumc.org.

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"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where reporters Rory Linnane or Rachel Minske explore the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.

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