As in-person worship services are canceled or downsized amid the coronavirus outbreak, some churches across the U.S. are bracing for a painful drop in weekly contributions and possible cutbacks in programs and staff.
One church leader, Bishop Paul Egensteiner of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Metropolitan New York Synod, said some of the 190 churches in his region were unlikely to survive because of a two-pronged financial hit. Their offerings are dwindling, and they are losing income from tenants such as preschools which can no longer afford to rent church venues.
“As much as I’d like to help them, everybody’s reserves are taking a hit because of the stock market,” Egensteiner said,
At Friendship Baptist Church in Baltimore, a mostly African American congregation of about 1,100, the Rev. Alvin Gwynn Sr. bucked the cancellation trend by holding services last Sunday. But attendance was down by about 50%, and Gwynn said the day’s offering netted about $5,000 compared to a normal intake of about $15,000.
“It cuts into our ministry,” he said. “If this keeps up, we can’t fund all our outreach to help other people.”
NAE President Walter Kim tells @AP: “Some changes are going to be required. The church is a very creative institution. In the end it will find ways of fulfilling its mission.” #covid19church #coronavirus https://t.co/qlbbzBBljG
— NAE (@NAEvangelicals) March 23, 2020