Thursday, October 30, 2008
The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday, October 29, that churches are reporting a fall in donations, and the many churches are feeling the pinch of these challenging fiscal times. See excerpt of story below:
On a recent Sunday, the Rev. Richard Mahan scrapped a sermon on forgiveness. He felt compelled instead to address the economic turmoil battering the nation.
"Everybody's facing hard times," he told worshippers at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Charleston. "If you're not, you're going to."Include churches in that dismal forecast.
With the economy in crisis, congregations around the country are cutting expenses at the very moment many members need help with food, heating bills and gasoline.
Some members of the clergy say their fundraising has remained steady despite the economic downturn, but how long that will last is unclear. Some are postponing building plans and delaying new programs just in case.Among the congregations faring best are those with a strong tradition of tithing — the biblical mandate to give at least 10 percent of one's income to the church.. . .
A recent report by the Christian research group Empty Tomb Inc. studied six recessions since 1968 and found that donations by church members declined in three and increased in three. Another study, by Giving USA Foundation, found that religion-related charitable giving fell slightly in six of 11 recession years since 1968.