Economic Downturn Threatens Churches' Financial Health

UNDATED (AP) - With the economy in crisis, churches around the
country are cutting expenses at the very moment many members need
help with food, heating and gasoline bills.

Some pastors say their fundraising has remained steady despite the economic downturn, but how long that will last is unclear. Some are postponing building plans and delaying new programs just in case.

Among the congregations faring best are those with a strong tradition of tithing, the biblical mandate to give at least 10 percent of one's income to the church.

However, many churches rely on income from investments and are
already slashing their 2009 budgets.

The United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries has cut next year's budget by $2 million because of a decline in investment income.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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