2009 could be the worst economic year in Britain since 1931, according to this report in the Independent.
In my old life as a full-time journalist, this news would have affected me cerebrally, although my emotions would certainly have gotten involved if I'd been assigned a story on the crisis and worked to faithfully tell the stories of those I'd interviewed.
Now, however, working as a part-time journalist but also serving full-time at a church, I am confronted nearly every day with the reality of these difficult times. One of my jobs is working as a support worker for Christians Against Poverty, a national charity that offers free money management courses and comprehensive debt counselling programs, and I'm constantly speaking with clients who are desperate to get back on their feet but can't because they simply can't get enough work. Even if they have jobs, their hours are falling as the ripple effects of the recession spread through the economy.
The financial woes were brought home to me last Saturday, as well, when I joined a regular team of church folks who offer prayer on the streets of Nottingham's city centre. It sounds crazy, I know, but we offer to pray for anyone's physical or emotional needs, and I was pretty surprised the first time I tried it by the number of people who sat down--Christian or not--and asked us to pray for them. We usually do pray for people with physical needs, but last Saturday I was approached by a man who said, "I'm jobless. I need to find one. Can your team pray for me?"
I recently saw a 2007 episode of Dr. Who where the Doctor and his lady Martha traveled back in time to 1930s Manhattan to discover that the evil Dalek race had infiltrated the city's infrastructure. I think I need to watch it again, because at least in that show the good guys win.