In response to the above, readers gave a variety of responses. Fifteen percent said they gave $5 or less every week, and another 15 percent said they gave between $11 and $20 each week. Twenty-one percent reported giving between $21 and $30. The largest share of respondents (25 percent) said they gave more than $50 a week to their parish.
In addition to asking readers how much they gave, we asked how important it was to them to contribute to their parish financially. In the minority, a number of respondents said they chose not to donate because of their dissatisfaction with their parish. One person said they refuse to give money to their parish until the pastor “stops politicizing his sermons, i.e. hating on immigrants and talking about pro-Trump policies.” Others, who commented anonymously, said they did not donate because they did not agree with how their parish was being run.
Many more respondents told America it was very important to give money to their parish. Irene Woodard of Camp Hill, Pa., described tithing as an expression of her faith: “I need to contribute, to put my money where my faith is. The church is the best institution in the world, and I want it to succeed in its mission.”
Others described donating as an investment in the ministries their parishes offer. “As people who worship in the church and use other parish facilities for different activities, and as people who rely on the parish staff for counsel, cooperation and ministry, my wife and I feel it is crucial to support our parish,” said Nicholas Mele of Bellingham, Wash.
Marilyn Boyd of Pembroke, N.Y., said that she donated in order to preserve the life of her parish. “My parish is seeing its graying with very few younger families and children joining, or coming back,” wrote Ms. Boyd. “If people like me don’t donate, will the church survive this downturn of parishioners? Will it be ready when they come back?”