Black Churches Debate Whether to Tithe or Not In Economic Downturn

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To tithe or not to tithe, that is the question.

Tithing, or giving 10 percent of your income to support the ministries of your church, is vulnerable during the slow economic recovery. As the national unemployment rate trends downward, currently at 8.5 percent, the opposite is true for African-Americans. Since October 2011, black unemployment has increased from 15 percent to 15.8 percent in December, according to Bureau for Labor Statistics.
The jobs crisis has impacted giving. The non-profit, Faith Communities Today, says 80 percent of congregations in a recent survey said they took a financial hit during the recession.
Dr. Thomas Johnson, Sr., Senior Pastor of Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem says many of his members were impacted by cuts on Wall Street, public education and public transportation. “We see a difference in our tallies on Sunday when we count our tithes and offerings that there has been some decline,” he says.
Some of the funds from tithing and offerings are used for building maintenance and infrastructure. But despite the dip in giving he says members expect the type of ministries they are accustomed to. “People still expect the same level of passion, and energy and resources and opportunities in worship.” Dr. Johnson says.
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SOURCE: The Grio
Shartia Brantley