Evangelical Giving Trends • Sanctuary Church • Pastor Faces Lawsuit: News Roundup
This week’s headlines that affect churches and church leaders.
Evangelical Giving Trends • Sanctuary Church • Pastor Faces Lawsuit: News Roundup
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Research Shows Evangelical Giving Trends. “While the multi-million dollar tally of Giving Tuesday donations will take time to compile, we already know which kinds of charities are most favored by American evangelicals. Giving continues to rise for many categories of ministry, according to new research released today by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). An analysis of the finances of more than 1,800 of its accredited members found a 2.2 percent rise in cash contributions from 2015 to 2016 (the latest year available). This group also saw a 3.6 percent rise in non-cash giving, which includes income such as government grants or real estate. That adds up to $16.2 billion of giving—$12.6 billion in cash and $3.6 billion in non-cash—to evangelical ministries in 2016. ‘We are encouraged to see donations to our member organizations continuing to increase each year,’ stated Dan Busby, ECFA president and CEO. ‘Members of ECFA are doing wonderful work to serve people in need in myriad ways, and donations made to these ministries are being used to make the world a better place’” (“Here’s Where Evangelicals Are Giving the Most and Least,” Christianity Today).

Dan Busby serves as an editorial advisor for Church Law & Tax. Read his tips on measuring your church’s cash reserves.

Immigrant Seeks Sanctuary at Chicago Church, Files Civil Rights Lawsuit. “Francisca Lino [had] until Thanksgiving Day to turn herself into Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials or be considered a fugitive. Lino, 50, a mother of six, resisted a court order to leave the country in August and instead took sanctuary at Adalberto United Methodist Church—the same parish on Chicago’s West Side that protected immigration activist Elvira Arellano. She had 90 days to surrender. In a final effort to avoid deportation, Lino’s attorneys filed a federal civil rights lawsuit [on November 17] alleging that the U.S. government violated her Fifth Amendment rights and expeditiously deported her in 1999 without due process. That arrest made Lino ineligible for legal immigration status, causing her to suffer ‘the loss of liberty, stress, anxiety and physical displacement,’ according to the lawsuit. Her immigration attorney Chris Bergin is planning to use the lawsuit to argue for a stay motion to keep Lino in the country while her federal lawsuit is pending. It’s like calling a timeout, he said” (“Immigrant who sought sanctuary at Chicago church files civil rights lawsuit,” The Chicago Tribune).

Find out more about how immigration law affects churches with this downloadable resource.

Kentucky Congregation Files Lawsuit Against Pastor, Pastor’s Wife. “Members of a Lexington congregation have filed a lawsuit to block the lead pastor and his wife from spending church money or making any real estate transfers. Cameron McDonald is accused by two Southern Acres Christian Church members of concentrating power and financial authority among himself, his wife and one other staffer in a series of moves that dissolved a larger governing board, altered the organization’s operating rules and eliminated churchwide approval votes on changes, according to court records. Most of the other church staff members have been fired by the pastor or have quit, according to a third member. The lawsuit provides an unusual public view of controversy over the inner workings of a church. It was filed [November 20] by James Keogh and Chad Martin who were concerned about the direction, financial management and viability of the church, according to court documents” (“Lexington church members take pastor, wife to court over spending, salaries,” The Lexington Herald-Leader).

Learn how your church can avoid lawsuits in this downloadable resource.

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Emily Lund is assistant editor for Church Law & Tax.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

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