Christianity Today Debuts “The Work of our Hands”


Jeff Haanen, Denver Institute's executive director, and Chris Horst, a board member and VP of development for HOPE International, are the writers behind "The Work of Our Hands," a new column at

The editors describe the column this way: "The series will spotlight Christians bringing truth, goodness, and beauty to their workplaces and sectors of influence. We believe Christianity has something positive to contribute to every realm of human activity, from electrical lighting to legal justice to lattes."

In the first piece in the series, Jeff shares the story of Karla Nugent. You may have heard her name around here before; Karla was a part of our "Creating Good Jobs," is featured in a blog post about consumerism, and is one of the Senior Leaders in the 5280 Fellowship.

Here's a preview of "Light for Electricians: How Christians Bring Hope to Business." Read the rest at >>

Light began to flood into Weifield when, several years ago, [Karla] Nugent decided to bring the community’s needs into the company. After seeing growing income inequality in Denver, she created the Weifield Group apprenticeship program.

Scott Ammon, a journeyman electrician at Weifield Group, joined the Army after high school. After serving in Desert Storm and for four years in the Middle East, he worked for 11 years in the US Postal Service. “I’d actually been suffering from PTSD while I was there,” Ammon tells me. As a result, he “jumped into a pretty bad coke and meth addiction.” To get treatment, Ammon spent two years at the Stout Street Foundation, an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility.

During rehab, Ammon heard about an opening for an electrical apprentice at Weifield. The four-year program trains employees in a pre-fabrication process (preparing electrical materials for on-site installation) while paying for their education to become state-certified journeymen electricians.

“I was really nervous when [Nugent] interviewed me because I was in treatment at the time,” Ammon says, figuring he’d be passed over because of his struggle with substance abuse. “But she looked me straight in the eyes and just nodded her head.”

When he got the offer, despite his rocky past, “That made me feel so good,” he says. “I said to myself, ‘From now on, they’ve got my full dedication.’”