On October 26, 2017 our rector handed a set of keys to Brittanie Gellings Zwart, program director for Magdalene St. Louis. It was a day a long time in the making.
For over nine months dozens of volunteers from Holy Communion, along with family members and friends had been showing up on weekends and weekday evenings to work. Members of the Building Committee led by Kara Cummins, the project manager and Susan Norris, Junior Warden coordinated with contractors, plumbers, and electricians. Mike, our rector spent countless hours filing permits and working with inspectors.
Holy Communion purchased the house at 7400 Gannon from Mr. Floyd Marx back in 2004, along with the house next door. The homes were purchased so that Holy Communion could become more accessible to people with disabilities. We redrew the lot lines in order to make room for our ADA compliant elevator. In 2009 the vestry sold the house at 7402 Gannon, but we honored our agreement to let Mr. Marx live in the home his family built for $1 rent per year. Mr Marx moved out of the home for an assisted living facility in 2014, while Holy Communion was in the midst of a rector search. He died later that year.
The vestry decided at the time not to move forward with the sale of the property. The house stood vacant for a few years. In summer of 2016 the vestry voted not to sell the house “as-is.” We realized such a sale would mean a signifcant loss on our investment on the house. More importantly, we wanted to find a way to use the house for mission and outreach.
As the house was beginning to take shape, we discovered that Magadalene St. Louis, a new community for women who have survived lives of sexual exploitation, violence, and addiction was looking for housing.
Magdalene was founded in 2015, a sister community to the Magdalene House of Nashville Tennessee. This year their first graduates were going to be ready to move out. Where would they live? The vestry signed an agreement to rent the house to Magdalene at a reduced rate.
In early fall we held a fundraiser to support Magdalen and cover the first year’s rent. We exceeded our goal of $7200 (exact figures are still coming in from Magdalene). The first Magdalene graduate now lives onsite, and more are scheduled to move in next year.