Churches struggle with fewer donations - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Churches struggle with fewer donations

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – When times get tough, people often turn to churches, not just for spiritual help, but for financial help, as well. Unfortunately, times are tough for churches too.

Giving is down in many congregations, forcing them to cut their ministries.

The pews are empty today, but come Sunday, Bethel AME Church in Albany will be packed, but the offering plates won't be. "We're estimating, probably, we'll be anywhere from $25,000-$30,000 under in terms of what we do in outreach every year," said Pastor Ernest Davis.

And because members are giving less, the church will be serving less. Not able to meet increased demand. "Unfortunately we had to cut back on the number of times we're able to provide our food bank service, just because of the economy and the cost, but we do see the lines increase when the food bank is open once a month. Lines are growing longer. We're unfortunately not able to serve everybody, but we try to get as many people served as possible," said Davis.

In addition to needing food, between six and 10 people call everyday asking for help paying bills. Pastor Ernest Davis says he simply has to apologize, because he can't help them. "It's a sad thing when you have to say to someone, 'I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do' and when they ask who can and you can't really come up with a list of people who may have the resources to do it because, unfortunately, all churches and charitable organizations are strapped, so it's really a challenge."

But Pastor Davis says it's a challenge that can be met, if people have faith enough to give. "You have to do what God requires and then God will do what he has promised he will do and that's provide."

Providing through the tough times, in order to serve at all times. Bethel AME was founded in 1880. Pastor Davis says the church has been through many tough times in its long history and can make it through them again.

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