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Congregations reeling from decline in donations

from The New York Times

Late this summer, as the country’s economic slump entered its third year, Bishop Robert Girtman met with the board of his church to discuss finances. The weekly collection of tithes and offerings, routinely $4,000 before the recession, had sunk to barely $3,000. Some members, newly jobless and ashamed, turned in tithing envelopes that were empty. Others skipped church a few Sundays a month to avoid the awkwardness of having nothing to give. So the question for Girtman and his board at the Church of the Living God in Port Chester, N.Y., a suburb of New York City, was how to respond. They could run fundraising events. They could hire fewer gospel musicians. Or, as one board member told the pastor, they could just face facts and stop asking for donations for a year, praying that by then the economy might be healthy. more


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