Faith & Finances course at United First Methodist

Claudia Loucks
Doug and Heather Kuriger show the book they will use in leading a class, Faith & Finances, beginning Thursday, Sept. 2, at First United Methodist Church in Geneseo.

If navigating through the last couple of years taught a lesson, it most likely is that one never knows what can happen.

Many people have had to deal with job loss, housing insecurity, dwindling income, and are struggling to make ends meet each day.

“But, financial problems don’t need a pandemic to become a reality,” according to Doug Kuriger, who with his wife, Heather, will be leading a class, Faith & Finances, at First United Methodist Church in Geneseo. The class is from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, beginning Sept. 2.

The class is open to anyone that wants some help becoming financially responsible and secure,” Kuriger said. “We’ve had people in our class that are just starting college, married couples, single people, retirees, you name it. I feel a diverse group of people just adds to the class and we all learn a little from each other.”

The 12-week class will cover such topics as budgeting, saving, and creating an emergency fund. The goal is to provide students with the tools to build a strong financial future,” he said.

Dinner will be provided as will nursery care. Anyone interested in taking the class can register at the front desk of the church, by visiting www.peopelneedjesus or by calling the church office at 309-944-2793.

“The church is offering the class to help you get back on your feet, build some financial security, and learn God’s plan for your money,” he said.

“Years ago when I was a struggling single dad, I took a well-known finance class. About two sessions into it, I thought to myself, I don’t need help with debt or where to invest; I need help learning the basis of budgeting and spending. I spent the next several years, trying to find a program for people that were just trying to learn the fundamentals.”

A college friend of Kuriger’s works for an organization in Champaign-Urbana called Salt & Light and Kuriger explained the group not only has a grocery store and thrift shop, but they also offer a wide variety of programs to fight poverty.

“During a conversation, she told me about the Faith & Fitness class and I felt it exactly met the criteria I was looking for,” he said “I brought the program to my church to see if they could offer it and they agreed it could help fill a need.”

To become certified and lead the class, in addition to a multi-week online course, Kuriger also attended a two-day seminar with other people from across the country….”It was invigorating to be with other people that also had a passion to help,” he said.

When the Kuriger couple started the class, they were newlyweds, trying to figure out how to mesh their finances and deal with money issues each brought to the marriage.

“The first time we led the course, we weren’t only teachers, we were students,” Heather Kuriger said. “We did the lessons and worked right along side the others, applying what we learn to our own lives. We still go all the lessons with the participants; I think we learn just as much as they do,”

Doug Kuriger added, “Finances are a difficult subject, even more so when you’re struggling, so I’m completely honest with them (those in the class) from the start. I tell them my struggles and places I have made bad decisions or stumbled. I hope it lets them know that they aren’t alone in this and that we understand. One of the first things I tell each class is that this is a safe place. Nothing leaves this room. I have a sign I put up each time that reads: ‘No Shame. No Blame. No Guilt.’ I think it’s important that everyone feels comfortable sharing their successes ad their troubles.”

The couple said it makes them feel good when they hear past participants’ success stories and Heather Kuriger said, “I love it when someone tells us they paid off a debt, were able to take care of a car repair, or achieved a savings goal.”