Churches, Schools Squeezed by Recession

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The nation's tight economy has caused many churches and schools to fall on hard times.
     
Worshippers in many communities are struggling with job loss, home foreclosures, and uncertainty.
    
Consequently, some congregations have had to shut their doors and some schools have been closed.

According to the Association for Christian Schools, international enrollment at Christian schools is down nationally by nearly five percent.
    
Also, about 200 Christian schools closed or merged in the last academic year -- that's 50 more than the year before.

Faith leaders say the next year or so will be crucial in assessing which organizations will escape the downturn in one piece. 

David Roozen, a lead researcher for the Faith Communities Today multi-faith survey, which measures congregational health annually, is rather grim in his outlook. 

"In 2010, I think we're going to see 10 or 15 percent of congregations saying they're in serious financial trouble," Roozen said. "With around 320,000 or 350,000 congregations, that's a lot of them," he said.
 
Religious leaders say that even if the recession ends soon, it is unlikely donor anxiety will lift immediately, leading to prolonged difficulties for congregations, schools and ministries.  

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