Kingdom Builders and MCC partner to meet building needs

img_2202.jpgJessica WalterKingdom Builders Anabaptist Network of Greater Philadelphia, in partnership with Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) Philadelphia office, has launched Kingdom Builders Construction a new renovation and construction project for the various Anabaptist churches and ministries in Philadelphia.Dan Umstead, a Spring City, Pa., resident and recent Eastern University graduate, will serve the Kingdom Builders and MCC Philadelphia office for the next two years as project coordinator of Kingdom Builders Construction. Dan is an experienced volunteer construction team leader and jobsite foreman. He has worked in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina and in the Dominican Republic.J. Fred Kauffman, MCC Philadelphia Program Coordinator, explained that this building project started very quickly beginning with a discussion of the needs of many churches and ministries in Philadelphia and an inquiry on available positions with MCC from Dan. “In a period of about a month we went from nothing to enough work to say let’s go,” said Fred.Along with immediately taking on the role of building caretaker at Franconia Conference Related Ministry Philadelphia Mennonite High School (PMHS), Dan will also work on renovating Philadelphia Praise Center’s basement to add a kitchen, renovating Oxford Circle Mennonite Church’s new building, renovating Vietnamese Mennonite Church’s fourth floor, helping a newly developing Ethiopian church purchase and renovate a building for their congregation and working with several city-based Anabaptist community ministries to assist in renovating the homes of community members in need.“Kingdom Builders Construction (KBC) is now in full swing aiding the Philly churches in their rehab projects,” says Dan, who is now a few months into the project. “KBC is actively working with Oxford Circle Mennonite Church doing a large scale remodel and has a full schedule for the next few months, between jobs with Philadelphia Praise Center, Cross Roads Community Center, and the Vietnamese Mennonite church – we will be very busy.”In addition Dan will solicit and coordinate volunteer groups to assist him in the renovation and construction projects.“All the work done by KBC is facilitated through volunteers and they are the heartbeat of this project,” notes Dan. He is making a wide appeal to all local church groups, including youth groups on up to older groups, to come and spend a week or so with him in Philadelphia building and renovating in these projects.“Through pulling volunteers from within the city as well as the outlying areas KBC has been already been a catalyst for forming relationships.”In the future Dan will also be holding construction and home improvement workshops open to all interested and a Friday Elective Service Learning class for PMHS.The congregations employing Dan have already committed funds toward the project and Fred was very excited to note that Kingdom Builders and MCC Philadelphia has already received more than half of the money needed to fund this initiative. The project’s biggest needs now are tools, funding for operating expenses and volunteers.For more information on Kingdom Builders Construction and on volunteering contact Dan Umstead at 610-574-2959.