Sunday, January 25, 2009

Recession takes bite out of church collection plates - Asbury Park Press, 1/25/09:
There is bad news and worse news for churches in America as the nation flounders in the grip of a worldwide recession.

The bad news is that Protestants, by and large, don't drop a whole lot into the collection plate.

Now for the worse news.

"We did this research before the recession," said Snell, assistant director of The Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame.

For Catholics, the idea of mandatory donations, or a "stewardship campaign" would be rejected by the communicants, according to the Rev. Douglas A. Freer , pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Union Beach.

"If I tried that here, there would be a mutiny," he said. Freer was an Episcopal priest before joining the Catholic Church. He knows how funding works in each religion.

But because Catholics churches are generally large, he said each church has sheer numbers on its side.

'We've had people in our congregation who have been laid off from Wall Street," said the Rev. Daniel F. Swift, the pastor. "We've not seen a decline in giving. We're holding our own."

"The economy doesn't affect us, but lack of faith can," said the pastor of the King of Kings Community Church in Stafford, which he started in his living room 17 years ago. [...] He's been known to offer a "90-day money back guarantee" to members in his congregation.

"If, in three months," he said, "God doesn't change your life or meet your needs, we'll return your offerings."
Gotta love that. CM&A with some AG.

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