As cities and counties continue to eye possible taxes and fees for churches and religious organizations, interesting new research from The University of Pennsylvania's Ram Cnaan examines the economic value of a congregation to its surrounding community.
Using information from congregations in Philadelphia, Cnaan says churches, on average, provided $476,663.24 of services in 2009 to their surrounding communities.
He's now about to release information from a pilot study of 12 historic churches in Philadelphia, with one estimated to provide $6.1 million of services to the community (nearly 10 times its annual budget). Here's a graphic from the April issue of Christianity Today, our sister publication, detailing how Cnaan's research led to that conclusion.
Something else to note: Cnaan describes himself as "nonreligious," according to Christianity Today.
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