|By Lilly Fowler, St. Louis Post-Dispatch|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
It starts Sunday, when churches throughout the area will preach a unified message that pushes financial responsibility.
"Out of all the things that Jesus talks about he talks about money most," said the Rev.
The effort is part of Money Smart Week, a national initiative developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of
One of the partners, the
More than 100,000 households in the
A majority of the unbanked households in the
Through their Bank-On-Save-Up initiative, the
For her part, Blackmon said she will use the Gospel of Mark as the basis for Sunday's sermon. In that gospel, a poor widow who donates everything she has to her temple is praised above the rich who are able to give more.
Blackmon said the passage serves as a lesson in social responsibility where ensuring everyone has access to the resources they need is paramount.
But having the ability to give to others, Blackmon said, requires taking care of one's own finances first.
So in July, as part of the church's continued focus on finance, instead of Bible study, Blackmon will offer money management classes that focus on topics such as credit scores and debt. Anyone from middle school children to adults can take advantage of the two-hour, weekly sessions.
Blackmon's sermons in July will also be tied to money matters.
Fennoy said he plans to continue to plug into pastors like Blackmon and their emphasis on money throughout the year to reach more with their program.
Since the launch of the Bank-On-Save-Up initiative about a year ago, about 2,000 have gained access to checking accounts that offer perks such as reduced overdraft fees and lower minimum balances. Banks that are part of the initiative also only require
"The faith walk is about being whole or well in general," Petty said. "An individual's self-confidence and inner security is often compromised because of financial insecurity. Substance abuse, gambling, the use of pawn shops and payday loans increase dramatically as a result."
City Treasurer Tishaura O. Jones, who is drafting legislation to establish an
"I see this as an epidemic," Jones said, referring to the unbanked. But, Jones added, pastors can play an important role in bringing some relief to those financially strapped.
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