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Keith Leon and Maura Leon Headshot

A Church In Need

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Did you know that churches are being hit very hard by the current economy? Recently, Maura and I watched a PBS Show called, Religion and Ethics that aired on over 200 stations nationwide. The interview by Saul Gonzalez focuses broadly on the larger economic challenges facing churches and perspectives on the impact of financial distress in the religious community.

In the PBS show, the story of our friend Pastor Jane Galloway and her church pulled at our heartstrings. Pastor Jane provided an insightful and heartfelt commentary on the challenges at the church called Immanuel (a church community in Long Beach, CA). She discusses candidly their indebtedness, and the possibility of foreclosure. We find this very disheartening, as Immanuel provides a computer lab, art shows, plays, recreational activities and art and drama classes for the elementary school across the street. Immanuel has even hosted the 5th grade graduation ceremony for the school for the last two years. The closing of Immanuel would seriously affect the children and the community. Immanuel stepped up for the children and has been hosting these classes through their non-profit organization called H'artWorks.

Click here to see news coverage about H'artWorks and the students:

Pastor Jane goes on to say, "People come here looking for food -- looking for spiritual food, and I hear the kind of despair they are in, and I realize that it's crazy for me to be this preoccupied with the finances of some place, when I'm here to create a place where people can come and find solace. So I feel a sense of responsibility to the people who come here for that kind of nurturance."

We must publicly commend Pastor Jane for her commitment, her sacrifices, her leadership, her faith and her vision. For months now we've found ourselves asking, "What can we do to make sure that this church stays open for the kids?" Immanuel welcomes ideas, partners, new members or supporters.

Do you have any ideas that would help Immanuel or any other churches that find themselves in the same position? Please comment below, and if you feel moved to assist Immanuel in keeping their doors open, feel free to go to their website ( and leave a donation.

Click here to see the Religion and Ethics spot entitled: Churches In Financial Distress

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