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Ways of the World

Carol Stone, business economist & active Episcopalian, brings you "Ways of the World". Exploring business & consumers & stewardship, we'll discuss everyday issues: kids & finances, gas prices, & some larger issues: what if foreigners start dumping our debt? And so on. We can provide answers & seek out sources for others. We'll talk about current events & perhaps get different perspectives from what the media says. Write to Carol. Let her know what's important to you:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Encouragement Can Come from the Church

What can the Church say in the midst of this tumultuous time? Surely religious faith is important right now. As I have attended church these last couple of Sundays in particular, it has been so affirming to hear the Promises of love and healing from God in Christ.

In this regard, here is a very constructive statement from the Bishop of Chicago, Jeffrey Lee, the text of a Pastoral Letter he issued just this past Tuesday. At the conclusion, he quotes the Collect from two weeks ago, a prayer that spoke very strongly to me as I stood in the pew that morning.

The news from both New York and Washington, D.C., about the present financial situation in the United States is troubling to me and many others. There is widespread confusion about the status of our country's financial markets. People are angry and anxious about the economy in general. There is concern about the immediate and long-term consequences of intervention in the finance sector by the United States Congress, the Department of the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve. For most of us, issues of this nature and scale are unprecedented, and the accompanying uncertainty contributes to our apprehension.

These problems, like so many we face today, are compounded by the speed at which information is distributed. We are confronted by immediate and virtually incessant comment and analysis by the media and others. There is a general election at which we, as a nation, will decide the leadership that will guide us over the next several years. And, this is taking place while our service personnel are engaged in military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not surprising that people are worried.

But it is essential to remember now, as at other times of transition and turmoil, that most of the challenges in life are ones we cannot control and that our trust, as always, is best placed in the Lord. As the Psalmist reminds us, "Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you." (Psalm 55:22). None of us can know precisely how this or any future predicament will be resolved, but we can take comfort in the certain knowledge that God is still God and that Christ is always with us.

I am aware that the consequences of this economic crisis are reaching into the lives of our faith community with the threat to jobs, homes and savings. Along with prayer and pastoral support, we can also offer our members and communities information and connections that can restore confidence and aid with charting a more secure future. Several of our congregations have ongoing ministries for assisting those searching for jobs or making a career change. Career counseling, legal service and credit counseling help is also available through local, state and federal sources. . . .

The collect for Proper 20 seems appropriate during this time, and I encourage you to join me in praying for the health and well being of all people, but especially those most affected by current financial events.

"Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."


Bishop Lee provided a list of resources for counseling and career assistance. His list, of course, was specific to his Diocese. But he also mentions this nationwide Department of Justice approved list of credit counseling agencies. We cannot emphasize too much the importance of keeping your own finances under control and getting help with credit before it controls you!

Thank you, Bishop Lee!

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