The House That Faith Built

Ashley Kotteman Home Dedication Ceremony on October 21, 2015, at 8501 Oleander Street in New Orleans, LA. (Erika Goldring Photo)

Photo credit: Erika Goldring

Ashley Kottemann spoke with quiet gratitude to the gathered crowd of volunteers, staff, and friends of the affiliate. Her new home, barring a few minor details, had just been completed a few days before after a mere ten days under construction as part of a special blitz build. Two churches, Household of Faith Family Worship Church International and Trinity Episcopal, had brought dozens of volunteers out each day to bring her dream of homeownership to life, and they had joined her once more that afternoon to celebrate the dedication of her home.

Members of both churches helped present the traditional dedication gifts to Ashley, many of them telling stories of their time working with her on site. Selena Dorsey, from Household of Faith, presented Ashley with a Bible and took the opportunity to talk of the bonds they formed.

Ashley Kotteman Home Dedication Ceremony on October 21, 2015, at 8501 Oleander Street in New Orleans, LA. (Erika Goldring Photo)

Photo credit: Erika Goldring

“I came and worked on this house and had the chance to personally build a relationship with Ashley,” she said. “I remember when the back room was painted. I said ‘Ashley, I wish they would paint your door red.’ I said I’m going to get somebody to paint this door red. I came back the next day…”

And then she gestured to the bold red door at the front of the house.

The Faith Build was intentionally designed by both churches as a chance to break down racial barriers. Both had long histories of service, and for years, they had been neighbors on Jackson Avenue. But until recently, they had never worked together. Over the course of the build, their relationship strengthened, however, and Trinity Episcopal announced that their Vestry had officially challenged them to build a permanent, covenant relationship with Household of Faith. Household of Faith, meanwhile, announced that they would be attempting a major project every year with Trinity.

Ashley was clearly moved by their hard work. She said, as she thanked the volunteers, “I don’t know if my faith was really there before, but it is now.”

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