The Economic Halo Effect of Rural United Methodist Churches in North Carolina
This study is sponsored by The Duke Endowment and prepared by Partners for Sacred Places and UNC Charlotte Urban Institute: The Economic Halo Effect of Rural United Methodist Churches in North Carolina.
The study is based on extensive interviews with leaders of 87 rural United Methodist Churches (UMC) across North Carolina. Information from these interviews was categorized and assigned a numerical value in six areas — direct spending, education & childcare, magnet effect, individual impact, community serving programs, and outdoor recreation space. The study found:
- Seventy-two percent of those benefiting from programs housed in United Methodist Churches are not members of those congregations.
- UMC congregations make great economic contributions to their towns and counties, with an average annual contribution to the local economy valued at just over $735,000 per congregation.
- Congregations generate value because they spend locally and hire locally; they host events that bring people to the community who spend money there; they sacrificially share space in their buildings, at low cost or no cost; and they provide needed resources and services to the community.
In short: Methodist churches are not just for Methodists alone. This is an important finding, because civic leaders – mayors, foundations, business leaders, arts organizations, community groups – need to see our churches as places that serve everyone.
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