Invista workers facing layoffs shown support

By Lynn R. Parks
When Dale Brown, minister of the Union United Methodist Church in Bridgeville, learned last fall that the Invista nylon plant in Seaford plans to lay off about 400 of its 500 employees, he thought that his church perhaps would have a role to play in helping affected families. "We have four people in our congregation who work at the plant," he said. Since then, in all kinds of occupations, "we have seen people laid off, going from full-time to part-time and downsized," Brown said. "I believe that the church has much to say to hurting people in this economy." Brown was one of eight ministers who spoke at a Sunday evening prayer service at Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church, Seaford, for Invista employees who are facing layoffs. "We care deeply for all of you," he said. "We love you. And we want to be of as much help, with God's present grace, as we can be." About 170 people attended the upbeat service, which included music by the Clarence Street Church of God's men's choir and several soloists. The overall theme of the service, sponsored by the Job Loss and Spiritual Response Team, was that in times of trouble, God can help. And that praying to God for help is an appropriate response. "Some people have said that prayer is a waste of time, but the Bible declares otherwise," the Rev. Diane Melson of Concord United Methodist Church said. "For such a time as this, a call to prayer should be the first thing that we do." Melson told the congregation to "think big" in their prayers. "You can never ask too much of God," she said. "Prayer is not something we do after we have exhausted all other sources of help." The Rev. Thomas Gross from Frankford United Methodist Church said that he expected to see results following the prayer service.

"I expect there's going to be a change because we prayed tonight," he said. "If you see things change, don't say, 'Aren't we lucky?' It's because we prayed and asked God to help us." "We don't have to wait for help," Brown said. "God is already doing something." On Jan. 25, the churches' Job Loss and Spiritual Response Team will sponsor a job fair at the Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club in Seaford. Representatives from local companies, Delaware Technical and Community College and social service agencies are expected to attend. The team also plans fund-raisers so that it can continue to hold job fairs and so that it can help families in financial need, Brown said. The Rev. Carlton Cannon from the Clarence Street Church of God offered assurance that God is in control. "God sanctioned our being here this afternoon," he said. "Every time God wants to move in the people, a crisis comes." The Rev. Luis Almandoz of Cannon United Methodist Church talked about his 17 years as a missionary, when he often had to live on $20 a day. "My God supplied all our needs," he said. "Your problems are little compared to how big your God is."

For your information: The Job Loss and Spiritual Response Team will sponsor a job fair Sunday, Jan. 25, 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club, Seaford. Representatives from local companies, Delaware Technical and Community College and area social agencies are expected to attend. Employers and agency representatives who want to participate can call Susan Kent, 745-1935, or e-mail her at susanrkent@yahoo.com. Donations to the response team can be made to the Union United Methodist Church, Bridgeville, with the notation "Job Loss and Spiritual Response Team."

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