The United Methodist Church saw a steep decline in giving during the month of April, largely because churches were forced by state and local governments to shut down in response to the new coronavirus.
At the end of May, the UMC General Council on Finance and Administration held an online meeting to discuss the drop in giving after large numbers of UMC congregations were closed.
Collections for the month of April were down 26% compared to the same time last year, as well as being 45% lower than 2017, according to the GCFA report.
“This indicates the impact that the coronavirus has had so far on general church collections,” Rick King, GCFA’s chief financial officer, told the board, according to the United Methodist News Service.
“In March, we saw a little bit of decline compared to prior years. It was really felt in the Western Jurisdiction, where the epidemic started in the U.S. on the west coast,” he added.
Another factor given for the drop in giving was the denomination’s ongoing debate over LGBT issues, specifically whether the UMC should continue to adhere to the belief that homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
In February 2019, a special session of General Conference reaffirmed the present traditional stance, prompting many liberals within the denomination to withhold giving.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski