Spring 2002
Volume 6 Number 3





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Rehabbing a House in Princeton

Trenton-area Habitat for HumanityNot all ministry is about commentaries and communion cups. About 40 Princeton students and staff ministered with hammers and saws one Saturday a month from October through April as they helped rehab a house on Leigh Avenue in Princeton, in partnership with the Trenton-area Habitat for Humanity.

PTS director of student relations Cathy Cook Davis initiated the partnership between the Seminary and Habitat because she believes that a seminarian’s spiritual formation should include mission. “Mission in the community should be part of what we are modeling at seminary,” she says. The Leigh Avenue house is “pretty much a total rehab” according to Cook Davis. “We’re the hands, the feet, and the hammers of the project.” Students have helped put in new floors, new stairs, and new walls, working along with the family who will buy and live in the house when it is completed, an important partnership in any Habitat project.

Violet Hertrich, secretary in PTS’s Vocations Office, volunteered with her two daughters as a way of “doing something together that was worthwhile.” She worked two Saturdays putting up firewall and framing windows. Fellow volunteer PTS professor of Old Testament Dennis Olson was her crew leader the day they framed windows. “It was really fun to work with him, to see him in a completely different light from how I saw him as a professor,” Hertrich says.

Cook Davis plans more opportunities for students to become involved in the Princeton-area community. She is talking with Princeton University about how the two institutions can partner in doing community service projects that will “give students ways to step out of the classroom and be of service to their community away from home.”