Churches not economy proof but keeping faith - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Churches not economy proof but keeping faith

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Over the past few months we've heard many companies ask employees to take furlough, or unpaid time off, in an effort to avoid layoffs.

But what about churches? They aren't recession proof but members are still keeping the faith.

It's a quiet time of year for Father Joe Hauer at Resurrection Parish in Dubuque. Afterall, it is Lent.

"It's a time when we're asked to look at out lives and say how do we match the principles of the gospel and to continue to reach out to those in need," said Hauer.

In the Catholic Church, Lent is a time of prayer and reflection; often times people give something up, or change a habit. But this year, more than ever, Hauer is seeing people reach out.

"I think there is a greater sense of responsibilities that people feel to help out those who are going without right now," he said.

He says people are donating more things to help those in need. Ironically tithing is up three percent from last year...

"Generally speaking during hard economic times, a recession, the last place the people relinquish their charitable giving is to their church," said Hauer.

And if the church remains financially stable, they'll still fall $30,000 short in their budget. Hauer said he did ask for voluntary furlough time from his staff.

"There was a genuine care and affection for someone that they knew would rely solely on their pay check," he said.

And while staff members volunteer to take unpaid time off and many others across the country are left without jobs, Hauer says a tough economy can help make the season of lent so timely.

"A crisis is a time for people to recognize what is truly important," he said.

Hauer also says, he's seen an increased number of people reaching out to support the unemployed and laid off workers in Dubuque. A service the he says is valuable, especially given the upcoming layoff at Deere and Company in Dubuque.

Online reporter: Lauren Squires

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