Everybody's Got One
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Saturday, May 18, 2002


Another issue is church finances: Last Sunday was my weekend to count the collection plates (I've been doing it for years and I haven't had to go to a committee meeting yet - my kind of stewardship opportunity) and we're down significantly. Down about 7% for the fiscal year, and between 15 and 20% over the last two months. Even the Easter bump was smaller than usual – although attendance for the whole Triduum was higher than ever.

It isn't just my parish. The bulletins I've picked up traveling show other churches are down, too – at least those who report budgeted amounts (usually based on previous-year figures) are. Even those in the middle of building campaigns.

I have a suspicion that this is a semi-organized boycott, of the sort Amy Welborn moderated a nice discussion on a few weeks back, but I'm not sure where it's coming from. The envelope and pledged amounts are much the same, the weekly loose cash is pretty consistent – the place where it shows up most strikingly is in loose checks, from people who aren't registered, or who aren't committed (or organized) enough to use the envelopes that are mailed out to every member. The numbers of checks haven't fallen, but the average amounts sure have. Curious – as if The Scandal were having its greatest effect on people nearer the margins of the church than the center. That wouldn't be an entirely unpredictable effect. (Or maybe the people nearer the center are more committed to supporting their parish – or know that the Archdiocese takes a third off the top no matter what comes in, making this an inefficient means of protest.) It's a puzzlement – and I'm starting to wonder if I should be concerned about long-term finances.

posted by Kelly | 8:18 PM link