The Recession and Religious Workers

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A rabbi, a priest and a pastor are all looking for a job … It sounds like the set-up to a joke we’ve all heard before. But due to shifts in our culture and economy, it turns out that this set-up has no punchline. The unemployment rate among clergy has doubled from ten years ago. And institutions ranging from churches to College chaplains have enacted hiring freezes and clergy lay-offs.

We talk with Pastor Kara Hildebrandt, who was unemployed for six months before being hired by the Bowling Green Presbyterian Church in Kentucky.

Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner offers advice to out-of-work clergy, and some facts about how their circumstances during unemployment are different from laypeople.

Finally, Rabbi Irwin Kula, a leading thinker in the field of religious pluralism, shares his insights about the effects and causes of unemployment in religious institutions and communities. We're looking at how the recession is hitting churches, mosques and synagogues. We want to know from you: What role has a place of worship played in your community during the recession?