U.S. donations rise

Published June 1, 2002

New York

(ENS) – U.S. church members contributed nearly $30 billion to 65 Protestant denominations in 2000, according to a report by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States.

The 2002 edition of the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches examines membership and financial data from Christian denominations. Most of the churches provided data for fiscal 2000.

The $30 billion collected that year represents a $2.5 billion increase, a gain of 9 per cent from 1999 when a similar group of 62 denominations reported gifts. The latest report says that the difference in the number of churches reporting financial data accounts for some of the increase, but it gives most credit for the rise to the strength of the U.S. economy in 2000.

Each U.S. church member gave an average of $599 in 2000, up from $549 in 1999. Of the 2000 total, each person gave an average of $110, up from $85 to help the needy, either locally or overseas.

The report says that more than 152 million Americans were members of 176 Christian denominations in 2000, up slightly from 1999 but still below the peak of more than 159 million in 1996.

Rev. Eileen W. Lindner, the yearbook’s editor, says in the preface that data collected by other groups show an increase in church attendance since last Sept. 11. While the rise may be transitory, she says, “it will be some time before the full impact of these tragic events upon religious faith and practice can be measured.”


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