Economy Forces Church to Close Daycare Service

Monday, February 16th 2009, 10:05 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A majority of metro churches said they've experienced better economic times, but they're still breaking even.

But the Putnam City United Methodist Church hasn't been so lucky and is shutting down its daycare. Board members told the staff it's a financial decision.

"I'm not too sure, we've done pretty good in the past collecting, financial and paying receivable, so it's just all very disturbing right now," CDC Director Stephanie Rollins said.

Parents have offered to help, but it may be too late. Churches, like many families, are cutting back.

A report released last week by the GivingUSA Foundation shows "a slowing economy definitely affects donations to non-profit organizations."

It also discovered "giving fell an average of 1.3 percent" during the last five recessions.

Jim Cowan is co-chairman of the St. Eugene Capital Campaign Committee. His group is attempting to raise $7.5 million for a new church building and he admits it's been challenging.

"Very concerned about, economically, about what was going on," Cowan said. "Especially a lot of our parishioners with retirement funds and stock market investments that have decreased over the past few months."

The current economic state has been testing times for even the most faithful, but Cowan said many are cutting back so they can continue giving to the Church.

"Our whole community has come together from kids at the school bringing in nickels and dimes and quarters to different organizations at the parish saying every little bit helps," Cowan said.

The financial situations really do vary from church to church. For example, the Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond said its breaking even with donations, while The Gathering Church on NW Expressway is exceeding donation expectations.

A number of churches said the fall season will be the real test. That's when many of them will ask members to make their financial pledges for the next year or begin collecting money for large campaigns.