Turning to religion in tough times

November 10, 2008 8:51:15 PM PST
Many churches say it's hard to determine exact numbers, however they are seeing more members of their congregations looking to their faith for both help and answers in these tumultuous economic times.If you pass by the Palisades Community Bible Church in Revere, Upper Bucks County you'll see this sign outside: "Jesus is an investment that never loses interest."

It seems many in the congregation are taking that advice.

"We have a lot more people who are losing their jobs and are going through the difficult times and they're coming to church because they need the support, they need the community, and they need their faith strengthened," said Pastor Corbin Seltzer.

Many religous leaders say they have noticed a change since the economy began its downward spiral. Pastor Garth Gittens of the Calvary Baptist Church in West Philadelphia says although his congregation has grown since 2004, he's noticed a significantly larger spike in attendance over the past year. He believes hard times have a lot to do with it.

"The church has something to offer that you don't find anywhere else," said Pastor Gittens. "Intangible things like peace, comfort, solace, encouragement. Things that money cannot pay for."

Father Zachary Navit says church membership at Francis De Sales has remained pretty stable, however he has seen more and more of the congregation including their financial needs and worries in their daily prayers. He also said the church and the entire diocese is expecting this year's holiday outreach program to be much larger than in the past.

"This year we've seen not only the needs that we know of but we've seen more people coming forward to ask for assistance," said Father Navit.

The churches we spoke to said suprisingly, they have not seen a significant drop in donations. Somehow people are still giving which is important because more people are in need.

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