A Thanksgiving story: The House that LOVE Built

From left, Tim Hubers (site manager of the House that LOVE Built project), project spearhead Nanda Wubs, Tresa St. Catherine (daughter of the recipient of the project), Destiny Mills (St. Catherine's daughter), Monica Fife (for whom the project was undertaken) and David van Noppen, who administered project finances. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Nelson Zandbergen
Nation Valley News

HARMONY CORNERS — Harmony Church recently celebrated ‘The House that LOVE Built’ — a combined effort that didn’t quite move heaven and earth but did relocate two houses to put a widowed member into a comfortable home.

Nanda Wubs spearheaded the effort to acquire the two surplus houses in Winchester from grocery chain Sobey’s, which donated both Main Street bungalows. One became the home now occupied by Monica Fife after the structure’s relocation to her rural property several kilometres to the west; the other was sold to help fund that project.

Fife’s new home replaced the shack-like dwelling — constructed by her late husband, Larry — that previously stood at the Cameron Rd. address where she resides.

When Sobey’s bought the two homes in Winchester as part of a planned revamp of its recently purchased grocery store property, Wubs saw an opportunity to help a fellow church member in need.

Although involving the move of an existing house, it was still a construction project requiring the installation of a new foundation at the Fife site.

“Seek ye first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. God uses us when we seek his face. There are many of you who have given sacrificially to build ‘the house that love built,’ brick by brick,” said Wubs during the special church service late last month. Completing the scripture, she declared from the pulpit, “Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, pressed down, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use will be measured back to you.”

Wubs marvelled at the number of stories that came out of the effort to secure a better house for the widow. “I say to Monica that we should really write a book about all the different things that have happened…. There’s so much to tell in this story … people who sacrificially gave and wanted to remain anonymous, and … every step has just been a blessing.”

“May this story inspire you to believe in miracles … He is the God of miracles.”

She reported that when cleaning the kitchen of the relocated house, they found a hidden drawer containing a stone painted with the inscription: “God is here.” They took another sign that “God was saying I’m in this.”

Rev. Bruce North credited Wubs with “all of the behind-the-scenes stuff” to get the project rolling by relentlessly lobbying Sobey’s to donate the houses to the cause. Another parishioner suggested she should receive a plaque for her efforts.

The pastor recalled his long association with the Fifes, including his advocacy on their behalf to former Mountain Township Reeve Estella Rose, and prior church efforts maintain the original dwelling as best they could. “Even before we knew this [new house] was coming, that place was preserved … God had a plan. And it’s exciting.”

Noting that people unaffiliated with Harmony had also come forward with donations to help out, North acknowledged the initiative “as good PR” for the church.

Fife’s daughter, Tresa St. Catherine, reported that her mother was enjoying her new house and that it was “shocking” to see the old place torn down.

As of late September, the church was still looking to raise about $62,000 to pay off all costs related to relocating and setting up the house for Fife, according to David van Noppen, who handled the finances. They had just been granted a severance creating a vacant lot on the property. Once that lot is sold, said van Noppen, those proceeds should help cover outstanding costs “and leave $50,000 or $60,000” in the bank for Fife, who works as a cleaner.

Wubs also continues to pump up the project’s bottom line by conducting charity auctions at The House That LOVE Built on Facebook




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