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Dec 21, 2009 4:39 AM by Matt Stafford

Church offerings usually high during holidays, how about this year?

A lot more people head to church around the holidays. That means more hands to "pass the hat." However, one local church, like many others, says the economy is taking a toll on donations.

There aren't many empty seats on the Sunday before Christmas.

"It's our biggest attendance," says Harlan Else, a pastor with Fellowship of the Rockies in Colorado Springs.

Like with many churches, Christmas time is busy for Fellowship of the Rockies, but this year has had its challenges.

"This economy has been tough on some of our people," Else explains.

So the church has tried to work together for the whole congregation.

"We have this benevolence fund throughout the year," says Else. To help those who are down, they rely on those who are up, but that reliance is crucial right now. "The largest amount of offering for that benevolence fund is on Christmas Eve."

That creates a concern about the number of people who have things going well enough to help.

"Christmas is the time when we celebrate God's greatest gift to us, so it's an opportunity for us to give a gift back," Else says. "We don't see a whole lot of people going back to work and we still have people losing their jobs in our church."

The fewer people who can give, the longer the church plans on feeling the effects.

"All churches just need money to operate," Else explains. "I know that this has been a tough year for giving just for the operation of a church."

They just hope the offerings can outlast the tough economy.

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