• U.S.

Religion: Missions & Money

2 minute read

U. S. church giving, which went into a tailspin during Depression, showed signs last week of a slight leveling off. To 29 Episcopal missionary bishops in Liberia, Japan, India. Brazil and elsewhere, word was flashed that the Church had made up a $127,000 deficit, that work need not be financially curbed any further than it already is.

The fact that the Protestant Episcopal Church did a great deal of scraping before it raised $127,000 might have seemed odd 10 those who know that Episcopalians possess greater per-capita wealth than any other body of churchgoers in the U. S. Actually the missionary deficit emphasized two facts of which most church workers are well aware. Rich people neither give to pious causes in proportion to their incomes, nor do they feel greatly roused by Christ’s command: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations. . . .

In per-capita church giving, opulent Episcopalians in 1930-34 slumped 64%, dropped from seventh to last place among 20 churches reporting to the United Stewardship Council. During the same period, other sects were doing better financially. According to figures lately released by the Federal Council of Churches, total gifts to 25 Protestant bodies from 1928 to 1935 declined from $532,000,000 to $304,000,000—43%. Hailed in clerical circles as a “slight gain” is the statistic proving that the average Protestant churchgoer’s donation ($12.10) was 3¢ higher in 1935 than the year before.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com