Monthly Archives: April 2011
April 21, 2011, 10:26 pm
Though religious congregations are slowly recovering from the recession, many groups are still feeling the pain, according to a new study.
The study by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, in Hartford, Conn., combined the results of 26 polls taken to show the effects of the downturn and also analyzed data from more than 11,000 congregations.
It found that more than 40 percent of these congregations reported that their finances had stabilized in 2010.
In addition, about 10 percent reported increases in revenue last year and 22 percent said that they had seen a drop in revenue during the recession but have since recovered.
The bad economy, however, was difficult for religious congregations.
Some 80 percent of congregations said that their finances had been hurt by the downturn in 2008, and 57 percent said that they lost money in 2010.
Since the recession…
April 15, 2011, 3:08 pm
A group that promotes the views of atheists and others who don’t believe in organized religion is upset that an evangelical-led commission to investigate church finances and possible new federal regulation of congregations did not include people outside the evangelical world.
The complaint follows an announcement this week that the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability has formed a panel to determine whether churches and other religious groups should be held to the same financial standards that are required for other nonprofits.
Specifically, the commission is looking into whether religious groups should be required to file informational tax forms with the Internal Revenue Service. The group will also examine whether federal legislation is needed to clarify rules that allow clergy members to accept donations directly from congregation members.
Dan Busby, the council’s…
April 7, 2011, 1:56 pm
My parents’ golden retriever Sophie was snoring by my feet in my parents’ living room in Miami Beach last month, when suddenly she sprang from her slumber at the sound of the doorbell.
The man outside was part of a growing cottage industry of Orthodox Jewish fund raisers whose job it is to travel door-to-door collecting money to benefit Jewish schools, seminaries, and families in the United States and in Israel. As my father opened the door, Sophie rushed to greet this “meshulach” (as they are known in Yiddish). My father would not have been displeased if she had scared him away.
My parents are generous people, especially to Orthodox Jewish causes. But they have philosophical differences with the tactics of the “meshulach” industry. Yet my father walked outside to speak with him and several minutes later made a donation.
What compels my father–and others like him…