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A Special Liturgy Scheduled to Plead For Emergency Unemployment Renewal

Faith-based leaders will gather Monday with unemployed workers at the city’s job training center to call on  congressional leaders and members of the Missouri delegation (Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt and Representatives William Lacy Clay and Ann Wagner) to immediately renew emergency unemployment benefits. 

The event will feature a special liturgy marking the culmination of the Christmas season, called the “Chalking of the Lintels,” blessing the homes of all those who have lost their unemployment benefits because of the inaction of Congress.

The event takes place the same day that the U.S. Senate returns from the holiday recess and is expected to vote on a motion to renew the federal jobless aid. 

Federal jobless aid for the long-term unemployed was allowed to expire on December 28th, leaving 1.3 million unemployed Americans without any jobless aid, including more than 35,000 Missouri workers and their families. By mid-2014, 1.9 million more long-term unemployed workers and their families will lose access to this aid.

WHAT:

St. Louis religious leaders will gather with unemployed workers and concerned citizens at the city’s job training center for a special religious service calling on Congress to immediately reauthorize federal jobless aid, which was allowed to expire on December 28th.     

WHEN:

Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, at 11 a.m.

WHERE:

St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment, 1520 Market Street, St. Louis, Missouri (between 14th and 16th Streets)

WHO:

•       Jim Sahaida, President, Metropolitan Congregations United (St. Louis)

•       The Rev. Jonathan Stratton, Offices of the Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Missouri

•       Worker Testimonials

Before leaving town for the holidays, House leaders rejected a motion to schedule a vote to reauthorize the program, despite the support of several Republican lawmakers, turning their backs on the nation’s long-term unemployed workers and their families. 

On Monday, January 6th, the Senate is expected to vote on a bi-partisan bill, sponsored by Senator Heller (R-NV) and Senator Reed (D-RI), to immediately reauthorize the federal jobless aid. 

The White House, which recently issued a report documenting the program’s beneficial impact on workers, their families, and the economic recovery, also released a New Year’s Day statement calling on Congress to immediately reauthorize the program and prevent a further lapse in benefits.  

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