Church group is learning to have a little financial faith
As many Farmington residents continue to struggle in a challenging economy, one local group is turning to an authority higher than anyone at the bank.
For the past two years the members of Light of the World Lutheran Church's Trusting God In Finance group have met monthly to talk about their financial situation, share stories and get tips on managing their money. It's part support group, part Bible study and part financial seminar, with speakers coming in to talk about topics like managing credit.
The idea is to help people get comfortable with their situation and to trust that things will turn around.
"That's the biggest thing we're doing together. We're learning not to be scared," said pastor Deb Stehlin, who leads the group. "It's easier to not be afraid if you know you're not alone."
The group members each have their own reasons for joining. Diane Howell is a realtor, and selling homes has been difficult business in recent years. She works part time as a nurse, and is going back to school to become an RN. She likes being able to talk about her challenges with other people who are going through something similar.
"I was miserable," she said. "I thought I was going to have a breakdown and looking inward."
Being part of the TGIF group, she said, lets her know she's not alone.
Ben Burdick knows what that's like. He was unemployed for more than a year before he found his current job. He got a cheer from the rest of the group at last week's meeting when he announced he was back to working full time, but there are still plenty of challenges when it comes to making ends meet. He said he likes the support he gets from other members of the group.
Burdick joined the group after sitting down with Stehlin to talk about his situation. The first thing she did was ask what the church could do to help.
"It was very humbling to know you can ask for help and you're not alone," Burdick said.
The members of the group -- there were about 10 at last Wednesday's meeting -- all come to the group under different circumstances. Some are dealing with unemployment. Others have jobs but still have trouble making ends meet.
Mitchell Weers told group members last week he's been finding there's "too much month at the end of the money."
Weers, who has a job now but has been laid off three times in the past seven years, said attending the meetings has helped him trust that God will provide what he needs.
"I'm trying to learn how to have God help me with it," he said. "It's a learning process."
For the time being the group is made up entirely of Light of the World members, but it is open to anyone who wants to show up. Group members meet at 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month for a free meal. Their meeting starts at 6:30.
"It's silly for just Light of the World people to be doing this, because there are so many people who need help," Stehlin said.