Laid off people

I never thought I would be writing from the perspective of someone who was just laid off. I’m certainly not alone in today’s world. I wanted to share some perspectives from the world of the unemployed that might be helpful as we seek to love and live together in God’s world.

  1. I did nothing wrong. I was laid off because my position was eliminated due to budget cuts. I was an excellent employee. Don’t look at an unemployed person and try to figure out what they did wrong. It just as easily could have been you – it is a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. All people deserve respect, even the unemployed.
  2. Understand my need to watch my expenses. I’m not getting a paycheck anymore. I can’t always go out to eat – perhaps a picnic in the park would be acceptable instead. I can’t give away as much money as I did before.
  3. Don’t complain about your job around me. Work is a common conversation topic. You may not like everything about your job, but you do have a job. I don’t. I would do anything right now to have a job, even if it was not perfect. I have trouble identifying with your job issues. I may even be envious of the fact that you have a job, even one that is not perfect.
  4. Treat a job applicant with respect. You may be in the position to hire people. I know that there are a lot of us right now who are looking for work. Don’t put all of us in a box. If we take the time to send you a resume, and you decide not to hire us, please let us know. Nothing is worse than sending in a resume and hearing nothing back in return.
  5. Ask me how things are going. Don’t be afraid to talk to me about not having a job. Avoiding the topic is like avoiding the purple elephant in the room. Give me a word of encouragement, but don’t tell me that everything will be okay real soon. It may not be. Let me know that you will pass along any job leads you become aware of. Help me stay involved in social groups. If I need to talk, lend me your ear for just a few minutes. Unemployment is stressful.
  6. Remember that unemployment is not just a statistic. Behind every number is a person just like me. Pray for the person who does not have a job. Let them know of your prayers. It does make a real difference to know that others are praying for you.

– Name withheld

Looking for a good year

I am writing in mid-August and our new clergy appointments are about six weeks old. I wish to humbly suggest that we focus mainly on the positive aspects of the appointments, situations and people we have just received. I believe we can immediately start looking for the good things or the bad things in our ministry situations.

I hope and pray we seek to see the positive aspects of the places and people where God has brought us. This doesn’t mean that we have to ignore the parts where changes need to happen so that the mission of Christ can unfold in a more powerful manner than ever, but even those can be seen as good challenges that lie ahead for the community of faith to work on together.

Jesus was always going from village to village both proclaiming and being the good news of God’s kingdom. So, what is the good news with the church, pastor or appointment we have just received? Who are the broken that together we need to join God in bringing healing?

I pray this year we can strive for the positive and all be peace makers in our congregations so we can grow more deeply in love with God and one another and that the mission and light of Jesus can burst forth through us to the people God sends to us. Is this your prayer, too?

I believe in us, and more importantly, I believe in God with us.

– Craig LaSuer,
Marion District Superintendent

Camping ministry

Recently, I co-led a week of camp for 156 junior high students at Camp Adventure in North Indiana, including 43 students and 14 counselors of Sonrise United Methodist Church at Fort Wayne. One week in August Camp Lakewood had 38 elementary students and counselors. Earlier this summer 42 senior high students from Sonrise were part of “That Thing” at Epworth Forest in North Webster. God did a “new thing” at “That Thing!”

The majority of Sonrise’s 40 counselors and leaders took a week of vacation to serve at camp. Most of the 100 campers Sonrise sent to camp received a $100 scholarship from the church – probably the best investment the church made all year. Many of these students made commitments to Christ, some responded to other promptings from the Holy Spirit. It was life-changing – eternity-changing.

I love camp and believe in our camping ministry. It has been our privilege to partner with the staff at our camp sites this summer. We look forward to doing it again next year. This is our “connection” at its very best. It makes me proud to be a United Methodist pastor to see the fine work taking place in our camps.

As a camp director, pastor and enthusiastic supporter of our camping ministry, I also am thrilled to see the development of our new camp capital campaign designed to invest in the facilities at our camp sites. Our camp staff does a great job maximizing the facilities we have, and I look forward to what we will all be able to do with the new facilities being developed.

I sincerely believe that some of our greatest days are ahead of us. The vision is right, the mission is right, and I’m convinced the time is right for this great effort!

Please join me, Right Here ... Right Now ... Right Future!

For more information, write to info@sonrisechurch.info.

Stan Buck, pastor
Sonrise UMC
Fort Wayne, Ind.