Members of the Baptist World Alliance’s executive committee, after hearing a sobering financial report detailing investment losses over the last year, agreed to slash the group’s 2009 budget by $900,000, or nearly 30 percent.
Among U.S. churches of better-than-average size and budget, nearly half are feeling the impact of the deepening recession and are being forced in many cases to cut staff or freeze salaries. Donations are down, said 48 percent of church leaders surveyed at these churches in February. Last August, 41 percent of respondents reported a downward trend in donations at a time when Wall Street financial firms needed rescue and gasoline prices were sky high. But although the unemployment rate is rising, credit is tight as a drum and stock and home values are shriveling, 52 percent of congregational executives reported that donations at their churches have not declined.
Before more than 6,000 congregants in three Sunday services November 30, the pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles apologized for using church credit cards to pay for at least $122,000 in personal expenses and having failed to pay federal taxes for several years, according to the Los Angeles Times. Pastor John J.
During what some call the start of a recession, mainline church officials are assuring pastors and retirees that their pension funds are secure. But the officials are concerned about how the economic woes will affect their operating budgets and ministries.
Reeling from an internal investigation that revealed financial misconduct at its highest levels, the Orthodox Church in America has vowed to work on “building a culture within the church which fosters communication, transparency and personal responsibility.”
A Virginia court has ruled that a Civil War–era law applies to a property dispute between the state’s Episcopal diocese and 11 congregations that have seceded from it. The state law in question, which dates to 1867, relates to the settlement of property disputes when there is a division in a church or religious society.
The United Methodists gather as a legislating body only every four years, but officials say the General Conference is becoming so costly that they are thinking about new ways to function as an increasingly global church.
A prominent U.S. senator is seeking financial information from some of the biggest names among Pentecostal and charismatic TV ministries following “complaints from the public” and news reports of possible money mismanagement.