Losing wealth, finding God?

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Contrary to media reports, the Pew Research Center’s April polls show that while many people might be praying for their 401(k)’s to turn around, the falling stock market has not sent Americans rushing to church.

Thirty-nine percent of Americans reported attending weekly religious services in a February survey. That number was no different than two years ago, when the economy was decidedly better. So, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has shed about half its value since October 2007, the number of people attending religious services held steady

Charles Hickmott, a spokesman for First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, said he has not seen any year-over-year attendance increases, but the church has updated its Web site to include a section devoted to “Help in Hard Times.”   

“We anticipated families might need practical as well as spiritual guidance,” he said. “Our Web site www.first-pres.org/helpinhardtimes, includes several referral sources such as the Marian House and Ecumenical Social Ministries that can help immediately get people through the rough spots until they can get back on their feet.”

He said the church also hosts support group meetings on Wednesday nights. Topics covered include the challenges that come with losing a job or income, networking, building relationships and keeping a positive attitude.

“Several of the group’s leaders have background in counseling or employment,” Hickmott said. “They have a heart for what people are going through.”