Currents News Staff
During the coronavirus pandemic countless churches and other religious institutions have stepped up to serve others.
They run food pantries, raise relief funds or just offer hope to those who need it.
But, in some cases the churches themselves need help. The U.S. unemployment rate is about 15 percent. Many of those jobseekers would normally donate to a house of worship.
With those funds gone, some churches can’t pay their bills.
Coronavirus moved the congregation out and the services are now virtual – severely impacting the donation basket.
The Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church in south Los Angeles is just one of the many houses of worship impacted around the world.
“It takes financials to cover those expenses that are necessary. All of the utilities, the mortgages,” said James Arthur Rumph of Grant A.M.E. Church.
In Vatican City, the Holy Father is delivering his messages to a vacant square.
In Tennessee, the pews are parking lots for the socially distanced faithful – creative in the era of coronavirus, but not enough to cover the bills.
The latest available data shows 40 percent of congregations had no savings.
Reverend Robert Lee leads the Uni-Four church in Newton, North Carolina. Like other pastors and priests, Lee has delivered last rites to coronavirus patients.
“I’ve been having to juggle not only guiding the congregation through this pandemic, but my own crisis of faith in this. Where is God, what is God doing?” said Lee.
He’s now taken a pay cut.
“This is a make or break moment for communities of faith and not only churches but synagogues mosques or temples everywhere. We’re all struggling at this. Many churches that I know of, did not have online giving platforms until just recently,” said Lee.