Here is an excerpt from today’s Johnstown, Pa., newspaper on the economic downturn’s effect on local churches. To read the entire article, click here.
State of Our Faith | Tithing is a constant
By TOM LAVIS
A poor economy doesn’t always mean less cash for the church collection plate.
With the economy in crisis, there have been reports from around the country about congregations cutting expenses at the very moment many members need help with food, heating bills and gasoline.
However, area clergy are saying that their fundraising and collections have remained steady despite the economic downturn, but how long that will last is unclear.
The Rev. Ronald Carnevali Sr., pastor of Johnstown Grace Brethren Church in the Kernville section of Johnstown, said the sinking economy has had no negative effect on the church’s budget except for the astronomical gas expenses to operate its van when fuel was $4 a gallon.
The church has seen an increase in collections during this difficult economic period, he said.
“There’s no way to explain it except for God’s grace,” he said.
The church has 56 members and sees attendance of nearly 80 people each Sunday.
“Our members have a positive attitude because of the prosperity and revitalization we have seen in our neighborhood,” Carnevali said.
The church is trying to revive the good times it once enjoyed. In the 1950s, Grace Brethren’s rolls boasted 700 members.
The ministry has met the rare requests by members for financial help.
“We have had some ask for help with rent, and we’ve had no difficulty in assisting them,” he said. “Or if someone from the community needs food, we can help, but we do not give cash because we don’t want to contribute to drug or alcohol addictions.”