Has the current recession affected church giving? Have contributions fallen off with increased unemployment? If so, how much?

CHRISTIANITY TODAY asked its domestic correspondents for reports on fluctuations in local church treasuries.

The results of the nationwide poll showed no general pattern. The closest thing to a trend seemed to be notes of caution about future spending. Church boards were becoming a little more cautious about committing themselves to costly building programs. Individual members were not as willing to pledge amounts of money over an extended period.

Thirty Southern Baptist pastors were confronted with this question at a conference in Kansas City: “Is the recession apparent in your church offerings?”

Seven reported that their offerings were higher for the first three months of 1958 than they were for the first three months of 1957. Five of the seven said their offerings probably would have shown a larger increase if it were not for the recession. Five others reported their offerings about the same and expressed the belief they would be larger if it were not for the recession. Two reported their offerings were less, another decidedly less. The other ministers said the recession had not affected their offerings.

Of 12 churches polled in Los Angeles, all reported a drop in income this year ranging from 10 to 30 per cent.

Said the Rev. Clarence Forsberg, pastor of First Methodist Church of Eugene, Oregon:

“A number of our churches in the Northwest are receiving from $1,000 to $5,000 below a year ago.”

Some ministers observed that the pinch has been felt less in churches where there is emphasis on stewardship.

One church in Cincinnati reported that unusually bad weather coupled with a wave of influenza had a more ...

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