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donations up and down in '05
New York, April 12, 2007 – Individual congregants of 65 Christian denominations that reported financial information for publication gave an average of $713 to their church in calendar year 2005.
That figure was reported in the 75th Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches published last month by the National Council of Churches USA (NCC).
The per capita amount represents "an increase of just $18.93 per person from the previous year," reports the Yearbook.
The Yearbook article notes that the increase (2.7 percent) does not exceed the official inflation figure, and that "some individuals will be contributing to parishes with a declining number of members ... the combined effect...will significantly increase the financial loss associated with membership decline and rising prices."
Benevolence giving – financial contributions to church programs such as relief efforts and feeding or housing the homeless – remained flat at 15 percent.
"This level of giving for benevolence will be the source of sober reflection," says the 2007 Yearbook. The below-inflation increase in overall giving coupled with a "stagnant posture in benevolence" has the practical consequence of "less support for church-sponsored day care, fewer soup-kitchen meals, less emergency help to persons with medical problems, or reduced transportation to the elderly" in local communities.
More than $34 billion in total church giving was reported to the Yearbook by the 65 denominations.
The 2007 Yearbook is available for purchase at www.electronicchurch.org for a cost of $50 which entitles the purchaser online access to two electronic updates planned during the year.
The Rev. Dr. Eileen W. Lindner, NCC's deputy general secretary for research and planning, is editor of the Yearbook. The NCC is the ecumenical voice of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional peace churches. These 35 communions have 45 million faithful members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.
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