When people lose their jobs, it's not surprising that they also lose hope, and it's also not surprising that churches step into to provide a lifeline of hope and encouragement to the unemployed.

I've written a lot about a group called Joseph's People, a network of church-based support groups for the unemployed started at St. Joseph's Catholic church in Downingtown. I just received word about another church-based group, also from Chester County. To save time, I'm just going to copy and paste the group's announcement here.

Here it goes:

Connecting the Dots, a free seminar that connects principles of the 12 Steps Toward EmploymentTM  curriculum to real life job-seeking situations, will be the subject at the Monday, May 13, meeting of a Greater Chester County networking and support group for those who are unemployed and underemployed.

The Barnabas Group, named after the Biblical disciple known as the "Son of Encouragement", meets in Room 114/116 at Calvary Fellowship Church of Downingtown, 95 West Devon Drive (rear entrance) at Route 113, Lionville/Exton and provides a variety of services to those who are unemployed and underemployed, regardless of religious affiliation.

Over 100 individuals of all adult age groups, from Phoenixville and Pottstown to West Chester and Kennett Square, and from Western and Northwestern Chester County to King of Prussia, have participated in the group since its expansion in February.  The group formerly had been meeting for the past eight years on Monday mornings.

The sessions include a new, free optional dinner at 6:15 p.m., designed to provide a time of additional connecting and fellowship, followed by weekly job-related presentations and activities from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., and optional networking opportunities until 9 p.m.  The church's Monday Night Prayer also is available, starting at 6:30 p.m., with a prayer pastor and prayer team members available for individual prayer for attendees of any of the evening's care ministries that also include GriefShare, DivorceCare, and Mending Hearts for parents of prodigal children.

In addition to presentations, currently involving components of the 12 Steps Toward EmploymentTM workshop curriculum that discusses the many free unknown resources available to job-seekers, the employment-assistance group also provides individual volunteer support for resume writing, interview skills, job search assistance and more.  The meeting is open to all job-seekers, along with family members, organization representatives and other individuals wanting to learn more about how to assist the unemployed and underemployed.

Further information about the job-seeker group, along with suggested registration to help ensure availability of sufficient materials and meals, is available from Casey Jones at bps461@msn.com or (610) 707-1494.