Building Up, In Loving Memory - Germantown UMC members come together to build 45th Habitat home in memory of longtime volunteer
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Building Up, In Loving Memory - Germantown UMC members come together to build 45th Habitat home in memory of longtime volunteer

Building Up, In Loving Memory

Germantown UMC members come together to build 45th Habitat home in memory of longtime volunteer Janet Milewski

Memphis, Tenn., Oct. 11, 2017 – Germantown United Methodist Church and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis have nurtured a partnership that spans decades. If you speak with folks from the church, their efforts with Habitat would not be where they are today without the leadership of volunteer and organizer Janet Milewski.

Germantown UMC has worked with Habitat since the early days when the organization was solely made up of volunteers seeking to put their faith into action and has helped build more homes than any other faith-based sponsor. But, this fall, that partnership will celebrate more than the accomplishments of the families working to buy their first homes – it’ll celebrate Janet’s legacy, making Habitat and Germantown UMC’s work together possible.

“In the early days of Memphis Habitat, when it was run by volunteers, sometimes we wouldn't have the resources to finish a home, and we would say ‘God will provide.’ He did many times, but it still takes coordination and leadership,” said Doug Warner, another longtime Habitat volunteer with Germantown UMC. “Janet Milewski stepped up to coordinate our meetings and fundraisers so we would have some stability.  During her 10 years of leadership on the Germantown UMC team, we completed 20 homes with Habitat families in Rossville and Collierville. Her effort, love and dedication made that possible.”

This fall, volunteers from Germantown UMC will build side-by-side in memory of Janet’s service with two future Habitat homebuyers. Memphis Habitat’s fall build will be held September through November in the Oakhaven neighborhood, where 10 prospective homebuyers will build the homes they will soon buy through Habitat’s affordable mortgage program.

“Germantown United Methodist Church members have been involved with Memphis Habitat since Day 1. It’s because of faith in our mission and the faithfulness of volunteers like Janet Milewski that we’ve grown from a volunteer-run organization to a thriving agency that works daily to help families build or improve places to call home,” said Dwayne Spencer, president and CEO of Memphis Habitat. “We are so grateful for Germantown UMC’s continued support to help local families build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter and are honored to work together this fall in Janet’s memory.”

Germantown UMC has been involved with Habitat from the beginning in 1983, providing volunteer support, meeting space in the early days, build site and board leadership, and raising house-building funds. Janet and her husband Bob became involved in the fall of 1987 with Janet helping with coordination and Bob lending his handyman skills. Janet acted as the main liaison and coordinator between Habitat and Germantown UMC from 1990 to 1998. Janet passed away in May 2016, and the team at the church immediately knew they wanted to build the next home in her honor.

“Janet was a dedicated and passionate supporter of Habitat for Humanity,” said Warner. “She reminded us always that we were doing God's work. She more than did her part to put God’s love into action and make sure we helped as many families as we could.”

Memphis Habitat is currently seeking support for its 2018 home-building efforts. For information on how to support and build with Memphis Habitat, contact Rachel Koch, volunteer and events manager, at or 901-322-3504.

About Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis partners with people in our community to help them build or improve places they can call home through new home construction, rehabilitation projects and Aging in Place accessibility and mobility modifications for seniors. Since 1983, Memphis Habitat has helped more than 480 first-time homebuyers secure affordable mortgages and completed rehabilitation and home modification projects in partnership with more than 350 local homeowners, helping them achieve the independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families. For more information, visit

About Germantown United Methodist Church
Germantown United Methodist Church is a 175-year-old community of believers in the heart of Germantown, Tenn. At GUMC, we see ourselves as “sent” people. We are sent into the world by Jesus to continue the restoring and healing ministries He started while on this Earth. Our vision is to become a church where our primary focus is outward to those beyond our culture and context. God has given each of us different gifts for the building of His kingdom, but we are all called to serve. For more information, visit


Posted by Kim Morrison Stewart at 1:10 PM
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