April 18, 2011

Church giving in the U.S. is beginning to rebound from challenges posed by the recession, according to a new survey involving mostly Protestant churches.

In the third annual State of the Plate survey, 43 per cent of the responding churches said donations were up in 2010, 39 per cent said they were down and 18 per cent said they remained the same as the year before.

Only two per cent of the responding congregations described themselves as Catholic or Orthodox.

But a Catholic expert in giving said the survey results might or might not reflect Catholic giving patterns.

"Despite the economy, people support causes to which they feel the most attachment and engagement," said James Kelley, president of the International Catholic Stewardship Council.

Kelley said "offertory collections should not be down" as long as churches are welcoming and community-building places that educate parishioners properly about the need to return their time, talent and treasure to God.