Tuesday, March 03, 2009

And So It Begins

The Christian Reformed Church has announced a series of moves designed to save money in these hard times:  pay cuts, pension reductions, and moving its 2010 synod from Edmonton to Grand Rapids.

As we have pointed out before, the myth that the Depression was somehow "a good time for churches" is not borne out by the facts, at least not according to the evidence of Lutheranism in New York.  Mission starts went from 60-zero in two years; pastors were unemployed; massive pay cuts were an annual event; churches lost their buildings when they couldn't pay the mortgage.

Well, guess what?  Colleges are scrambling to deal with their crashing endowments; arts organizations are closing, consolidating and cutting back; the entire world of Jewish philanthropy has been destroyed by Bernie Madoff.  Churches are the next logical domino.

The CRC is a small Calvinist denomination with Dutch roots, counting 1,049 congregations and 268,052 members.  This makes it about one-ninth the size of the Episcopal Church and one-seventeenth the size of the ELCA.  (Don't confuse it with the Reformed Church in America, which is similar in size but much longer-established.)  The CRC's modest size may make it especially vulnerable.  Or this may be the beginning of the fiscal apocalypse.

Guess which one the Egg thinks?

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