Turning to church for help

On Wednesday evening, July 14, the Haddonfield United Methodist Church will hold a free networking event for the unemployed from 6:30 to 9:30. And like all events, there's a story behind it. In this case, it's the story of Jeanne Page-Soncrant, a human resources recruiter who lost her job in February, 2009.

In September, after seven months of unemployment, Jeanne Page-Soncrant, a human resources recruiter from Haddon Heights, landed a temporary part time job with the New Jersey Department of Labor, where she works now, earning significantly less than she once earned in the corporate world. "It's a job, nevertheless," she said, "and I'm grateful to have it."

The unemployment experience affected her profoundly. "I had always been recruited for jobs," she said. "I had never been in that situation." In the middle of her unemployment, Page-Soncrant talked to the pastor of her church, Haddonfield United Methodist Church, and told him that the church needs to have a mission for people like her. As a recruiter, she had skills in working the job market. She teamed up with a fellow congregant, a counselor, who helps handle the emotional fallout of unemployment. And, because it is a church, there is a faith-based component.

The group, known as the Career Management Group, meets each Thursday morning at the church, from 8:15 to 10:15. The coffee is unlimited and the talk, all confidential, covers all kinds of issues. Anyone can come, regardless of religion, because the faith-based part is not done with a heavy hand. Meanwhile, Page-Soncrant wishes her job were full time, but she sees it as a blessing that her part time schedule allows her to keep volunteering with the group.   

Wednesday's event at the church will feature speakers who will discuss networking, either face-to-face or through social media such as LinkedIn. You can call 267-872-6229 for more information. Registration would be appreciated, but if you can't, just show up, Page-Soncrant said. The church is just off Kings Highway in Haddonfield on Warwick Road.