Monday, April 27, 2009

The Priest, The Pastor & The Dropouts Who Are Dropping Back In- Recession Stories

Over in California, a priest is putting his faith to work by steeping up to help members of his community who are caught in the foreclosure mess. Father Lasseigne’s involvement started when members of his parish began having their homes put up for foreclosure after they were given loans for mortgages with low interest rates which later ballooned. Some were faced with payments that more than doubled. Father Lasseigne with the help of community group “One LA, will receive finance preparation to better understand the fine print on loans. Lasseigne says that sometimes, people here didn't know what they were signing onto when they got loans.”

On the East Coast, another member of the cloth, the Rev. Brad Braxton, is generating not praise, but controversy, from the congregants of his church. According to this story, the newest pastor of the historically renowned Riverside Church in New York City, will be receiving more than $600,000 (yup SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND; that is not a typing error) in salary and benefits a year for overseeing the church with about 1,500 members. “The Rev. Brad Braxton’s salary and benefits total more than $600,000 by the time you figure in $250,000 in salary; $11,500 monthly housing allowance; private school tuition for his child; a full-time maid; entertainment, travel and "professional development" allowances; pension and life insurance benefits; and an equity allowance for him to save up to buy a home.”

At a time when many people are struggling, I can understand why quite a few members are in an uproar over the new pastor’s steep paycheck. Hopefully, Rev. Braxton will take a cue from Father Lasseigne and reach out to his community with support and action.

In what might be the sole high point to this whole economic meltdown, teens are actually “dropping” back in to school. According to this story, former dropouts, prompted by the high unemployment rate, are choosing to re-enroll in order to receive their GEDs. One Indiana student, Yamilette Colon, 18, three years after quitting is “an alternative school honor student on track for a May diploma, spurred in part by a sense of self-pride, but also, she says, by the economic calamity that has shuttered plants, claimed jobs and dimmed the future for many young people in this hard-hit county dubbed the “RV Capital of the World.”

The article describes young adults- some parents of small children, some now dreaming of attending college- all buckling down to give themselves a better chance in an economy that’s finding people with advanced college degrees struggling to find full time work.


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