Sunday, December 28, 2008

Churches cutting back as donations dwindle

From this morning's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. (Front page)

Water from the leaking roof of the Door of Hope Community Church in Lawrenceville has damaged plaster on some interior walls, but the cost of repairing the slate and tin roof is beyond the church's means.

"I don't know what we can do, or how we're going to get it fixed. We need a miracle," said the Rev. Steve Ramsier, pastor. The church was built in 1881, destroyed by fire in 1908 and rebuilt in 1918.

In addition to a roof, the church's wish list includes a copier, storage containers, projector, laptop computer and a 144-square-foot tent. But donations are down at Door of Hope, and at churches across the country, a study shows.

Americans are passing on their financial pain to churches and other nonprofits by cutting back substantially on giving during the fourth quarter, according to the study by Barna Group, a California-based company that tracks church trends.

During the past three months, one of every five households, or 20 percent, has decreased its giving to churches, Barna said.

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