Brutal winter weighs on church funding

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This harsh winter is taking a toll on churches throughout Central Indiana. Many churches have been forced to cancel services multiple times this year because of winter storms. 

Even when services aren't canceled, attendance is low when temperatures drop below zero and snow and ice make roads dangerous. 

Linda Marcom has gone to church at Cornerstone Baptist for the past eight years. She says this is one of the worst winters she's ever seen. 

"I don't think I've missed as much church I have this year so far," said Marcom. 

Cornerstone's Pastor Don Mitchell agrees. Mitchell said in the past 50 years he has never seen weather impact church attendance as much as it has this year.  

"Normally, from the middle of January to the middle of May it's high attendance months. But we've not increased in attendance like we normally would in the winter time," said Mitchell. 

The low attendance means fewer people are in church to give tithe and offerings. Now, after months of snowy weather, many churches across Central Indiana are now running low on funds. 

Cornerstone is bringing in about $2000 less every week than it usually does this time of year. This will cause problems in the summer months, when members are taking vacations and aren't in church. 

"We usually increase in offerings during this time, so we build up a cushion for the summer. It may hurt us a little bit this summer," said Mitchell.

Cornerstone isn't alone. Several Indiana churches have put out requests for funding on social media, or sent out emails to members reminding them to give to the church.

"The extreme weather has caused a lot of closings and delays, and we missed a Sunday altogether earlier this month at RCL. In addition to that, other Sundays have been bad enough to keep a lot of our folks home, and I do always want you to err on the side of caution! However, our general fund giving is way down this month due to all of this," said  Pastor John Cernero of Radiant Christian Life church in an email. 

Mitchell said Cornerstone will likely have to make budget cuts this summer to make up for the decreased funding, but he isn't worried about money problems. 

"We just know that the Lord will take care of things. It's all in his hands. He gave us the weather. And since he gave us the weather he'll take care of the physical needs we have also," said Mitchell.