Church Offers Prayers, Financial Help to Furloughed Federal Workers

The partial government shutdown is the longest in U.S. history

The congregation at a Dallas church came together to help ease the burden felt by federal employees hit hard by the partial government shutdown.

Concord Church senior pastor Bryan Carter asked for anyone in the audience who happened to be a federal employee to come toward the stage during Sunday service.

A couple dozen people did.

Carter offered up a special prayer for each federal worker who continued to work amid the partial federal shutdown that is keeping them from being paid for the moment.

"When petty politics impacts the homes of individuals that are just trying to make a living," Carter said to the large audience. "Our hearts and prayers are with each and every one of those individuals."

Members of the church, Carter said, contributed money -- so they could offer more than prayers.

"We think it's very important to not only praying for these people and encouraging them, but we are also providing financial resources," he said.

The church handed out gift cards and food baskets to affected workers and providing some with applications for financial assistance.

"Tomorrow will be my first paycheck I miss," said Kevin Knowles, a correctional officer at the Federal Correctional Institution in Seagoville.

"I have to report to work every night at midnight to guard some of the worst, heinous criminals in this country and knowing that I'm not getting paid is sort of adding more stress to my job," he said.

"My daughter is going back to school to Prairie View A&M University today and without having the funds in the house, I can't send her back to school with any money," Knowles added. "Everything has been a little lean."

Vellenise Gatlin works as in quality assurance for the Federal Aviation Administration.

"Right now we're holding on and we're just trusting that God is going to make a way," she said.

Knowles said she felt frustrated by the impasse in Washington.

"Seem like they're putting government workers as pawns in their game," he said.

Both employees said they were grateful for the helping hand.

"The people are what's important and you need to focus on that," Gatlin said. "Focus on helping each other. Focus on being there for each other and let the politicians handle the politics."

Pastor Carter offered final words of comfort.

"It's easy to feel like, 'What am I going to do? I'm going to lose this. I'm going to lose that.' But people of faith, we often say that God provides one day at a time. One moment at a time and that's what we're encouraging," he said. "We don't know when it will end, but just take it one day at a time and trust God."

NBC 5's Catherine Park contributed to this report.

Contact Us