It’s not news to anyone in a church or religious congregation of any kind. The economic situation has put churches in a bind. And, as a church that has been in a building process for (what is it now?) six years, we’re having issues here at Girdwood Chapel. But, we’re clearly not alone. The New York Times has an article entitled, “Congregations Reeling From Decline in Donations.” What I find most interesting is that the article is quick to say that it’s not only a bad economy that’s driving this…but people are just giving less to religious organizations. And we’re left with asking, “What happened to stewardship?”
Here’s a section from the article. Read the whole thing at the New York Times site.
From storefront chapels to Sun Belt megachurches to suburban synagogues, across denominational lines, religious institutions are reeling from a decline in donations.
The National Cathedral in Washington, the most prominent Episcopal church in the United States, has made four rounds of staff layoffs since 2008. The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., an archetypal evangelical megachurch, has laid off staff members, sold property, and been sued by creditors. In the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the 55-member Primera Iglesia Getsemani, its monthly intake falling to $400 from $900, is surviving by running a weekly flea market on its sidewalk.
While the recession has sharpened the drop in giving, it is not entirely responsible for it. Rather, it has accentuated and accelerated a trend away from giving to religious organizations that scholars have been tracking for the past decade. The impending wave of retirements by baby boomers, who start hitting age 65 next year, threatens another blow to congregational income.