Many Church Members Taking A Pass On Giving

October 16, 2008 at 12:13 am Leave a comment

offering-plate.jpgAs credit dries up, and 401-K sinks these days, charities and churches are worried. They fear donors will pull back, as NPR’s Carrie Kahn discovered at one service today in Los Angeles.

CARRIE KAHN: Two tall well-dressed man carrying gold colored containers head to the front of the New Journey Ministries Church and wait for Pastor John Richardson, Sr. to come to the end of the Sunday service.

Pastor JOHN RICHARDSON, Sr. (New Journey Ministries Church, Los Angeles): Dear Lord, we thank you for this opportunity to share. We thank you for the work that has gone forth, that this is just a temporary place for us.

KAHN: Nearly everyone comes forward and drops checks and dollars into the collection pails. Outside the South L.A. Church, Pastor Richardson says it’s hard to ask for money in these tough times.

Pastor RICHARDSON: Because the reality is, things are tight and rough. We have people in our congregation now who’ve got laid off, who’ve lost their jobs. They’ve had two incomes. Now, they only have one income. I mean, it’s just a lot of things that are happening.

KAHN: Significant drops in tithing are occurring in congregations across the country. But Kurt Frederickson of the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California says it’s too soon to know how hard religious institutions will be hit.

Dr. KURT FREDERICKSON (Director, Doctor of Ministry Program, Fuller Theological Seminary): People are just so fearful of their lives, you know, that they kind of circle the wagons and wait to see how this thing is all going to turn out.

KAHN: A drop in charitable giving now would hit non-profit organizations right at the beginning of the heaviest giving season, November and December. But Doug Bauer with the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers says most donors are trying to keep their committed giving levels for the near future. And Bauer adds that in the 50 years since charitable donations have been tax deductible, there has not been a dramatic dip in giving in the U.S. 1

Mr. DOUG BAUER (Senior Vice President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers): Which is very interesting, but I think it goes to the generosity of the American public. In hard times and in good times, Americans tend to give, and they tend to give to the things that they really care about.

KAHN: Bauer says donors will have to make hard choices, and he suspects religious charities will fare better than other organizations. In New Journey Ministry Sunday bible class, Andrea White says it’s getting hard to keep up with her tithing, but she isn’t going to stop.

Ms. ANDREA WHITE: Many times it is coming to my mind that, you know, shoot, this is like a lot of money, you know but you pay your tithes, then you won’t have to feel guilty about anything. You know what I’m saying?

KAHN: White says she’s confident God will help her through these economic hard times. Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Los Angeles.

Source: NPR


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