THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - It's often a place of refuge in times of crisis. But with our nation's current economic hardships, many churches are also in crisis.
"The economy has affected us," says Dorothy Holton, Daycare Director at Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Church.
Dorothy Holton and Deacon Charlie Ward Sr. Of Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Church in Thomasville say attendance is up, but giving is down.
"A few more people are coming and a lot of people have called wanting help with water and light bills and things like that. But we as a church can't help them because the finances are not coming in," says Holton.
Not only is giving down at the church on Sunday morning, attendance at the daycare is also down. Bottom line is, parents can't afford it.
"We don't get as many kids. Our enrollment last year was full. This year we're down," says Holton.
But for other churches like the First Baptist Church of Thomasville and Glad Tidings Assembly, end-the-year numbers for giving are up significantly from last year.
"Our people here are real faithful. They have been so faithful to give," says Dessie Brown of Glad Tidings Assembly.
Dessie was a preacher's wife for 50 years. She says even though the church is not a business it does need money to survive.
"Every church would really be prosperous if everyone would do what the Bible says and give their 10%," says Brown.
But she knows when the going gets tough it's hard for people to find the extra money to tithe.
But she encourages others to have a little faith.
"If you give to him, he is going to give back to you," she says.
Even hurting churches aren't giving up hope. "I think it will get better, I know it will because we depend on the Lord and I know he'll make a way for all of us," says Dorothy Holton.
And they have advice for anyone struggling both financially and spiritually.
"Keep the faith, and everything will be OK," says Charlie Ward.
Even though some churches told us their giving is up and some said it's down. They all said the number of people asking for financial help with household bills has drastically increased.