As the partial federal government shutdown moves toward a fourth week, a historic church in Memphis, Tennessee, has stepped in to help their affected members weather an uncertain period of missed paychecks.
Pastor Donald Johnson of Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church told News Channel 3 that a few of his members work for government agencies such as the IRS. So when he first heard about the shutdown he began proactively looking at ways to help.
“I just realized people were going to be affected by it, and we didn’t want to spend any time just arguing and fighting about what the president is doing,” Johnson said.
He combed through the church’s database and found eight members who were federal workers. He then collected an offering and had the church’s financial board match what was collected and was able to raise $8,000.
The affected workers were asked to stand in church on Sunday and were given nearly $1,000 each.
“We didn’t want to look at them as a handout or people that were asking, but we wanted to be kind of proactive in that area,” Johnson said.
Church member Janice Bankston who has worked for the IRS for nearly 35 years, told Fox 13 that she survived being furloughed before but this shutdown feels a bit different. She added that the past few weeks have been stressful.
“The uncertainty of what’s going to happen, how soon we can return, don’t know how you’re going to pay your bills,” Bankston told Fox 13.
Wall Street Journal opinion columnist Kimberly Strassel noted that unlike other shutdowns — like Obama’s 16-day shutdown in 2013 in which “the administration immediately furloughed workers and cut pay for private contractors,” and shut down Head Start and placed barricades around the World War II memorial — President Trump told the Office of Management and Budget to make “this event as painless as possible.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair