Tithing to mainline Protestant churches as a percentage of income is at its lowest level in at least 41 years, according to a new report, and churches are keeping a greater share of those donations for their own needs.

Parishioners gave about 2.38 percent of their income to their church, according to “The State of Church Giving through 2009,” a new report being released Friday (Oct. 14) by Empty Tomb inc., a Christian research agency in Champaign, Ill.

Just over 2 percent of income went toward congregational finances, such as operating costs and building expenses. Only 0.34 percent of parishioner income went to what Empty Tomb calls “benevolences,” such as charities and seminary training beyond the four walls of the church.

Those are new lows, at least going back to the first report in 1968.

Continue Reading on www.washingtonpost.com