Work-Life ministry offers resources for job seekers

Posted10/5/2010 5:30 PM

Still looking for work? Facing tough decisions about your mortgage or other obligations during unemployment ... or underemployment? Toying with the idea of changing careers or starting your own business?

Desperate times call for the Church to step in and help, many Christians believe. Among them are a committed team of volunteers in the Work-Life Resource Ministry at Saint Margaret Mary Catholic Church, Algonquin, which offers an impressive array of resources for job seekers and others who may be considering a change.


"People are out there working for the same company 20 years or more, and all of a sudden they're laid off," said Jerry Knight, who heads up the ministry. "They're kind of like a deer in the headlights; they don't know what to do."

Work-Life Resource Ministry points them in the right direction, Knight said, and the service is available to anyone who needs help, not just church members.

The process usually starts with a phone interview and an invitation to attend networking meetings at 7:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at 111 S. Hubbard St., Algonquin.

Need a resume update? They can do that. Need to beef up your interview skills? They can help. Need to file for unemployment? They can get you started.

And sometimes people get started on a whole new career. Knight sees quite a few unemployed people in their 50s and 60s, he said, "and their jobs are no longer needed. A lot of these people are really bummed out, and they wonder what they did wrong.

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"They didn't do anything wrong except getting older," he said. "We help them consider shifting gears into something new and ask them, 'What else have you always wanted to do?'"

The ministry maintains a website at with links to a job bank, career management tools, job search tips, lists of networking clubs, and advice on personal finance, real estate, mortgages, and unemployment resources.

There's also a daily e-mail service so job seekers can learn about openings from sources like LinkedIn that may not otherwise be posted for the public.

And monthly seminars are videotaped and uploaded onto YouTube so anyone can get help on topics like using social networking in the job search or weighing the difference between a short sale and a foreclosure, should it come to that.


For more information, call Knight at (847) 854-8379 or email

Help when you need it: Many people homeless, unemployed, single parents, needy children, lonely seniors have specific needs beyond just finding a job, and nowhere to turn for help.

Love INC., a new coalition of churches and charitable organizations in McHenry County, aims to fill that gap.

Love INC. stands for Love in the Name of Christ. With more than 150 affiliates in 30 states, the organization unites churches of all denominations to serve their community in whatever ways they can.

Lynn Mueffelmann, chairman of the development committee, envisions the new McHenry County affiliate in Crystal Lake as a "one-stop shop" where people will come when they have a need that's "above and beyond what your normal circle of family and friends might be able to do for you," she said.

Whether they need money for groceries or a ride to the doctor's office or emergency baby-sitting or help with a utility bill, they'll be directed to a specific church or other agency prepared to assist. Some counseling may also be necessary.

"Is it really just an electric bill, or is there an underlying cause of what may have put you in this need?" Mueffelmann said.

Churches that may be interested in networking with other churches to help neighbors in need are invited to a two-day session from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8-9. The meeting will be held at The Pointe, 5650 Northwest Hwy. (between Sam's Club and Target) in Crystal Lake.

"One of the coolest things, I think, about Love INC. is that when you get partner churches to sign on, you're not allowed to have any more than one from any one denomination," Mueffelmann said, "at least for the first six. If you have one Presbyterian, you can't add another one until you have six others that aren't Presbyterian.

"It forces cross-denominationalism," she said, "so that the community sees it as the body of Christ and the churches working together and don't see it as 'Oh, that's the Lutheran thing' or 'that's the Catholic thing.'"

Mueffelmann said she hopes to put the development committee out of business soon by naming a board of directors, and anyone from the community may apply. For more information about Love INC and the upcoming meeting, contact

Lutheran in Lakewood: The Village of Lakewood will soon be getting its first church, Crosspoint Lutheran, in Lakewood Commons strip mall on Redtail Drive, and the conversion from retail space to worship place is already underway.

Crosspoint is being planted by Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Palatine, and the Rev. John Scott has been called as pastor.

"We're the very first church in the village of Lakewood," said Gloria Freres of the Palatine mother church. "The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod did some studies and found that Lake in the Hills was an underserved community as far as the Lutheran Church was concerned, so we decided to make that a focus."

Lake in the Hills is a neighboring village to Lakewood. Both communities, I'm sure, will welcome the new congregation when it open its doors in February.

"In the Spirit" covers churches and synagogues in the Fox Valley area; contact to submit information or ideas for upcoming columns.