Calif. pastor takes in $2.4M after donations plea

Rev. Rick Warren speaks during The Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church during the 2009 King Holiday Observance in Atlanta, Georgia, January 19, 2009.

January 3, 2010 6:02:56 PM PST
Evangelical pastor Rick Warren says his plea for donations to fill a $900,000 deficit at his California megachurch brought in at least $2.4 million.

At a Sunday service, Warren said that's just the money that was received at Saddleback Church by New Year's Eve, with many mailed-in donations still to be counted.

He said the collection shows that Saddleback "is the most generous church in the world."

In an online appeal last Wednesday, Warren said the recession had left 10 percent of the congregation unemployed, so expenses to care for those in need had risen sharply while church income stagnated.

Warren delivered the invocation at the inauguration of President Barack Obama and is the author of numerous books, including the best-selling "The Purpose Driven Life." He founded Saddleback Church in 1980 in Lake Forest, about 65 miles southeast of Los Angeles.