The coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted charitable giving and forced the cancellation of key church conferences – speeding up the possible collapse of various houses of worship.
The Washington Examiner reported the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and the United Methodist Church (UMC) are two of the most visibly suffering. Even before the pandemic, both had factions looking to split over disputes, particularly over gay marriages.
The coronavirus put those plans on hold, however.
But the UMC reported in April that revenues fell 26% compared to the same time frame in 2019. And the Examiner said the church reported it may not be able to raise enough funds to pay salaries of church staffers and ministers.
“We are mindful that people are losing jobs,” church communications director Sharon Dean said. “But in places where people are still working and want to support their local church, we created a campaign to communicate the need and the thankfulness we have for people who continue to give.”
The SBC, which has 14 million members, saw its membership drop nearly 300,000 in 2019. And the Examiner noted church leaders have no expectations that 2020 will be any better.
“The Southern Baptist Convention is not immune to the increasing secularization among Americans that is seen in more of our children and our neighbors not having interest in coming to Jesus,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research who complied the church’s data..
Both churches were forced to cancel their conferences because of the coronavirus. Southern Baptist's 2020 annual meeting was the first to be canceled in 75 years, according, according to the Tennessean. It had been set for June 9-10 in Orlando, Florida.
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