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Church offers Prayer and Support Group for job-seekers

By Susan Shinn
sshinn@salisburypost.com
When layoffs and foreclosures began to affect the community ó his community ó the Rev. Neil Westbrook wanted to do something about it.
Westbrook, pastor of Neel Road Baptist Church, formed a Prayer and Support Group for people who have lost their jobs.
The group meets at 9 a.m. the first and third Wednesday of each month in the church’s multipurpose room.
“We pray for those folks every Wednesday night,” Westbrook says. “I just felt a need to do something more. When people are struggling, they want to turn to God. They have questions. They want answers. This is really what this group is about.”
The group, Westbrook continues, “is a way for our church to say we care, and God cares about what they’re going through.”
Those without a job often feel a lot of shame, Westbrook says, and may be overwhelmed with debt and other concerns.
“God cares about us no matter what we’ve done and where we are,” Westbrook says. “We don’t have to carry that shame around.”
Response to the group has not been what Westbrook hoped.
“We’ve had a couple of people come who are going through tough times,” Westbrook says, although the group has mainly included members of the congregation who come to pray.
“You don’t have to lose your job to come and pray,” Westbrook notes. “If you have heart for people who are struggling right now, this group is for you.”
The meeting lasts about 45 minutes.
“We get to know each other and then I have a devotional time,” Westbrook says. “And then we just share.”
Then it’s time for coffee and doughnuts.
Westbrook contacted several local agencies when he decided to start the Prayer and Support Group, and was told it would probably be slow going.
But he’s not discouraged.
“It’s worth our time to come and pray for these people,” Westbrook says. “We’re not disappointed we haven’t had 10, 20, 30 people come out.”
Westbrook acknowledges that he doesn’t have an advertising budget.
“It’s kind of a challenge to get the word out,” he says. He’s put flyers at the Y and other places.
“We’ll just keep going a couple more months and see where it goes,” he says.
Westbrook is grateful to the Salisbury Post for providing newspapers and to Krispy Kreme for the doughnuts.
“I appreciate that those two companies have shown support to help people out,” he says. “It’s just in a small way, but it doesn’t have to be a big way to make a difference.”
The church’s address is 135 Neal Road, Salisbury, off N.C. 150. For more information about the Prayer and Support Group, call the Rev. Neil Westbrook at 704-640-2821. The group’s Web site is neelroad.org/group.

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