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Triangle churches adjust to struggling economy

Posted February 8, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Tough economic times are taking a toll on Triangle churches.

“We're stretching every dollar (and) making it count, but we're not suffering,” said Rev. Ben Williams, with St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Raleigh.

Churches cope with struggling economy Churches cope with struggling economy

Pastors said that while church offerings are about the same as usual, other assets are being financially pinched.

At St. Mark's, 4801 Six Forks Road, the endowment money for church programs was invested in the stock market and has taken a big hit in recent months.

“It (the money) helps fund ministry (and) youth and children in the church. But we've had generous folks who've said, 'We’re not going to let that suffer,'" Williams said.

A few miles away at Hillyer Memorial Christian Church, 718 Hillsborough St., it is a similar story.

“We've had a number of people in our congregation who've lost jobs. Many retirees have seen their retirement benefits dwindle. So I think there's an air of uncertainty as we go into the coming year,” said Pastor David Mallory.

But uncertainty, the pastors said, only makes their faith stronger.

“God will never deny us, even though the times may be difficult, and the valley may be deep, and the day may be dark. But God will never deny us,” Mallory said.

“We're just a people that say, 'God's been good. God's not failed us yet, so here we go,'” Williams said.

Williams said the tough economy has affected so many people that the church has begun a midweek prayer service, ”Tuesdays for Troubled Times."

53 Comments

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 10, 2009

    veyor, have you ever studied the THOUSANDS of gods worshipped on this planet? If you did, it would become clear that they are all man-made: man came from “a rib”, “the dirt”, “outer space”, etc.

    The requirements for churches not paying taxes should be:

    1- They are honest to the public about their finances

    2- They keep out of politics (e.g. Prop 8 in California was financed by multi-millions of tax free $$ from many churches and overturned an existing law) – Churches have not paid the “entry fee” in society to be able to talk politics

    3- They stop expecting special rights and then deny the same to others. It’s that whole “do unto others” thing that seems impossible for them to follow (e.g. religion in the military, forced public prayer, religious oaths for office, “god” on our currency, “god” in our national motto and Pledge, etc.)

    4- They hold their members accountable to the same laws that everyone is (e.g. child abuse, imbezzlement, etc.)

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 10, 2009

    Rational Thinking, how can you hold that moniker when you have a completely irrational belief that a supernatural being exists that violates all laws of physics and merely answers a question with a question? “Who created god?”

    If non-believers (we’re ~15% of the U.S., btw) merely suggest reversing the years of your religious special rights, you call it “bashing” and “hating”. We only want an equal (e.g. non-preferential) treatment.

    I mean, what do you think if we ask the gov’t to actually follow the 1st Amendment & reverse the 3 1950’s decisions that put “in god we trust” on our currency, replaced “E pluribus unum” (from many, one) with “in god we trust” & added “under god” to our Pledge? The same for Murray v. Curlett, when Madalyn Murray got forced Bible recitation removed from public schools. She was attacked, verbally & physically. There are 350,000 churches in the U.S. at your disposal. Why does a god need gov’t endorsement?

  • haggis basher Feb 10, 2009

    "You were ascribing motives to people who are in churches."
    The kids go because their Parents take them. Many (Most?) Men go because their Wifes give them a lot of pain if they don't and the Wifes go so they can meet and socialise with the other Women. Sure there a few that find deep spiritual meaning in the rituals etc and its nice to feel that you belong to something and someones cares but none of that has anything to do the beliefs involved. For many, exactly the same purpose is filled by going to Baseball or football games, going to Nascar etc.
    Most folks have probably never even thought why they believe there is a God. Their Mom says there was and the man in the big shiny church say there was and everone "knows" that being a Godless Atheist is a bad thing and I'll burn in hell if I actually start thinking.

  • haggis basher Feb 10, 2009

    "I'll go with the belief in Heaven, and I think we'll all find out in the end!"
    Thats the ironic part. You won't find out, you'll be dead. One bright side of this is you won't realise what a fool they made out of you.....

  • tobis19341 Feb 9, 2009

    maybe all these "so-called" churches that are on every corner should consolidate then share the expenses. seriously, who really goes to church in some one's house just because there's a sign out front of it.

  • NC Reader Feb 9, 2009

    "What you don't understand is that eternity isn't in the Pot! If someone writes an IOU for a million dollars and placed it in in the pot and you knew him to be pennyless would you treat it as if it were a million dollars? Thats all the promise of eternity is, a worthless IOU made by someone who knows they will never have to pay up and knows you can't come back and complain. You live, you die, thats it."

    Well, this just goes to show that some non-religious people are just as deadset in knowing that they have the right answer as some religious people are. I'll go with the belief in Heaven, and I think we'll all find out in the end! (Note: I didn't ascribe motives, just read haggisbasher's plain language. ;) )

  • NC Reader Feb 9, 2009

    Re: ascribing motives to others: "I think thats what you just did. You perhaps (and I only have your word for it) have pure reasons for what you do (and avoiding hell is NOT a pure reson) but you have no way of knowing why the others do it."

    You were ascribing motives to people who are in churches. If you were involved in a church and part of its ministry, which I assume is not the case, then you would be in a position to know those motives. Unless one assumes that everyone else is lying, one has to assume that most people's motives are what they say they are. Not to do so would be to live in a world with no sense of stability, where no one, even one's spouse, could be trusted. You may have noticed that I have not ascribed any motives to you. I don't know you and don't claim to know your motives for what you say. However, if I were your friend, I would have some understanding of your motives. I hope that you can understand the difference.

  • haggis basher Feb 9, 2009

    "you must be holding the perfect hand if you're willing to bet eternity on it."
    What you don't understand is that eternity isn't in the Pot!
    If someone writes an IOU for a million dollars and placed it in in the pot and you knew him to be pennyless would you treat it as if it were a million dollars? Thats all the promise of eternity is, a worthless IOU made by someone who knows they will never have to pay up and knows you can't come back and complain. You live, you die, thats it. Make the best of what little time you have. Treat others as you would have them treat you and thats about it.

  • veyor Feb 9, 2009

    "I resent having to finance them" - you can say something good about anything - you must be holding the perfect hand if you're willing to bet eternity on it.

  • haggis basher Feb 9, 2009

    "There are loads of private funds being used to promote the research."
    yes but any university or Company that also accepted Federal Dollars had to seperate entirely the work between the cell lines. Do a bit more research, the Ban wasted millions of dollars and years of time and was completely irrational and pointless.
    "Likewise pressure to allow prayers in public schools"
    You can pray quietly to yourself, that fine, but when most of a class want to have a public prayer and one or two don't then it can be very tough on those kids (again research, there have been some awful cases) and even if the kids pretend to pray is that any better? How would you feel about having to say a Muslim or Hindi Prayer and pretend you really believed it?
    "Or do you at least respect other people's right to feel differently?" You can "feel" any way you like. Its the doing that hurts others.

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