Contact NCC News Service: 212-870-2228  |  E-mail   |  Most Recent Stories   |  NCC Home

Millions of Americans are still looking for a job;
NCC and CBS tell how faith communities help



New York, March 29, 2011 -- Despite signs of economic recovery, overwhelming numbers of people are still unemployed. Next month the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission and CBS will report how many faith communities are stepping in to help.

"Unemployment: How Faith Communities Help Job Seekers," a CBS religion special, will be broadcast Sunday, April 10, on the CBS Television Network.  

Wesley M. "Pat" Pattillo, NCC Associate General Secretary, Justice, Advocacy and Communication, represents the NCC on the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, which plans many high-quality network programs similar to this one each year. Shirley Whipple Struchen is the NCC's Coordinator of Electronic Media Programming.


Given the current jobless rate, many faith communities have created programs to assist people with their job searches and job retraining.  Programs are conducted by experienced professionals free of charge and most do not require job seekers be members of the church or religion. 


Faith communities acknowledge that faith and prayer have to be aided by training and greater market awareness to help increase employment rates.  As the broadcast will show, many experienced and compassionate people are helping today's job seekers.


The CBS special visits the Career Transition Center of Chicago (CTC), where one such program offers professional, spiritual and emotional support to those looking for work or undergoing a career transition.  CTC was founded in 1997 primarily by the United Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Episcopal communities.  The program features interviews with Executive Director Anita Jenke and David Kaiser, a life coach volunteer at the center, as well as those currently using the CTC''s outplacement services.


In Chicago, the special visits St. Chrysostom's Employment Council, which dates back to the 1980s.  Viewers will see a workshop entitled "Improving With Improv: Presenting Your Best Self through Humor and Spontaneity" and led by Bina Martin, a teacher at Chicago's famed Second City Improv. 


While there, viewers will also hear from Rev. Larry Green, a Deacon at the church, and Michael Cade, a parishioner and volunteer who oversees the Employment Council's monthly meetings.  


Up next is New York City's Riverside Church, which offers a free six-week barber training program.  Since 1997, master barber Dennis F. Thomas has trained nearly 2,000 people in the basics of barbering.  The special explores the church program's practical results by visiting with some of its graduates at work, and speaking with Debra Northern, Director of Social Services for Riverside Church.


The special's final stop is St. James, a Roman Catholic Parish in Stratford, Conn. where Rev. Paul Sherry, Program Director of the Chicago-based "Interfaith Workers for Justice," talks about the realities of unemployment, lending a deeper sense of need to the practical efforts now offered by local churches. 


Sherry, former general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, directs an advocacy group that addresses related issues of wages, benefits and working conditions.  The individual local programs help support job seekers with new skills as well as insights as to what employers are seeking today.


John P. Blessington is Executive Producer and Liz Kineke is the Producer.  The special is produced in cooperation with the National Council of Churches, Consortium of Roman Catholic organizations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Union of Reform Judaism and the New York Board of Rabbis. 

Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell),


Return to NCC Home Page