Resources for Helping Individuals and Families in Financial Distress
A word from NWYM Presiding Clerk, Lon Fendall
One of the major topics discussed at the Representatives meeting during the NWYM 2009 Mid-Year Board meeting was the need for our churches to respond to the serious financial challenges being faced by our people, including unemployment, under-employment, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and homelessness. These are complex issues and no single solution addresses all of the needs. But one
aspect of these issues is the need for individuals and families to manage their shrinking financial resources as carefully as possible, to take steps to avoid excessive debt and to be faithful in their stewardship.
Representatives reported on their experiences in participating in seminars on household financial management. Strong and weak points of these programs were noted and members were urged to study the programs available to see if they would be helpful. Among the programs discussed were:
- Financial Peace University
- Good Sense
- First hand perspective: Katrina McConaughey
- Crown Ministries
- Feedback available from Ken Redford
Additionally, there were reports on Love INC, one of the arms of World Vision addressing needs in the US. Love INC’s “Relational Ministry” goes beyond training people in financial management from a Christian perspective to providing individual counseling and help with getting out of financial bondage. Alan Weinacht has made himself available to share some first-hand experience with Love, INC.~ Lon Fendall
Here are a few other resources offered by some of our local churches. Feel free to adapt and use them. If you have helpful resources or have notes from helpful discussions, please send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and they can be added to this site.
- Living On Purpose – Living on Purpose is a book written by Christine Sine, designed to help you learn to make connection between your Sunday faith and your everyday life seven days a week. Learn how to draft a personal mission statement that will enable you to put first things first. Learn to reinvent your “timestyle” and lifestyle. Learn how God can use your life to make a difference in the world.This is especially practical assistance for evaluating and adjusting your lifestyle according to God’s values. Good for individual or group use.
- A Recession Preparedness workshop, was developed by Mustard Seed Associates in Seattle. MSA is an organization founded by Christine and Tom Sine. Here’s an article in Christianity Today that explains the workshop.
- Use “spiritual questions” or “queries” to help challenge individuals and create discussion.
- NWYM Queries
- Number 4: Do you acknowledge God’s ownership of all that is under your care? Do you give of your time and abilities in service to church and community and gratefully use your possessions as a trust to honor God?
- Number 7: Do you give generous financial support to the work of Friends? Do you contribute regularly to the ministry of your church and to the wider outreach of the Yearly Meeting? Are you and your meeting aware of those likely to require material aid, and do you give freely to those in need?
- Number 13: Is your life marked by simplicity? Are you free from the burden of unnecessary possessions? Do you avoid waste? Do you refuse to let the prevailing culture and media dictate your needs and values?
- Number 14: Are you careful to live within your income? Do you avoid involving yourself in business beyond your ability to manage or in highly speculative ventures? Are you willing to accept a lower economic standard rather than compromise Christian values?
- Number 15: Are you honest and just in your dealings? Are you true to your promises, prompt in paying your debts, and responsible in handling money or property entrusted to you?
- Queries written specifically for the 2009 Representatives’ meeting:
- Do you exercise faith in your finances by being grateful, content and trusting of God’s level of provision in your life? Do you seek first the Kingdom of God, keeping your life free from worry while trusting God to meet your needs?
- Do you humbly ask for and accept the discernment and help of others with your finances when needed? Do you work to create a community that recognizes and carries each others’ burdens
- Queries from Spokane Friends Meeting:
- What message do we as Friends have to contribute to the discussion relating to the current financial situation? How is our message reaching beyond the material need to the heart of the need within a broken or faulty economic system?
- Where is the potential for our collectively taking a position, actions, or making a statement that would call attention in our culture for the need to reconsider our economic systems, structures and philosophies?
- How do we reach out, as Jesus did, to not only the needy but the tax collectors as well? Where is our prophetic voice?
- NWYM Queries
- Explore “Caloric Security” – possibilities for sustainable food and community gardens to help people through tough times
- Consider a Community Savings Fund – pool resources at your church for those in crisis. See North Seattle Friends‘ proposal, and contact them with questions or to see how it is going.
- Lead a discussion at your meeting.
- Create a small group to meet and address specific issues. These “Empowerment Groups” might help you do some creative thinking and take positive action. Here is a description and outline for eight sessions, created by Good News Associates, whose director is Jan Wood, member of North Seattle Friends..
- Be sure to read the articles in two of our recent Connection newsletters that dealt with the NWYM queries on economics and simple living: