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Churches battle inflation as demand for certain services increase

Independence church monitoring heat and making changes to keep doors open
Posted at 7:42 AM, Jan 02, 2023

INDEPENDENCE, Mo — Inflation is driving up costs for Kansas City area churches, leading them to make changes to stay open.

William Yaeger, a practicing minister at St. Mark's United Methodist, wears multiple hats due to inflation’s toll.

“The reason I'm shoveling is we can't afford to have someone do that,” Yaeger said.

The church is cutting back on janitorial staff to get by and monitoring its heat use this winter after the summer months left them with a $1,600 dollar energy bill.

"We're like a small house and we have the same issues about trying to pay our utility bills,” Yaeger said.

Attendance at St. Mark's has also taken a hit which in return impacts funding for the church.

Yaeger says the majority of their current attendees are on a fixed income.

"We're not selling anything here,” Yaeger said. “We depend on the Christian charity of our neighbors and the people who come here.”

In Kansas City, Missouri, Calvary Temple Baptist Church says its costs are also up and attendance is climbing back up, but it’s not where it once was.

“Bills are climbing and people have less finances to give,” Rev. Eric Williams with Calvary Temple Baptist said.

This latest challenge comes as both churches are seeing an increase in demand for services. St. Mark’s food pantry shelves are currently empty and donations are also slow, but despite the challenges they’re facing, both churches are committed to fighting through this latest challenge to help people in need.

“We we see ourselves in the blessing business, and the more issues there are to deal with, the more work we have to do, and we take it kind of personally when folks are hurting,” Williams said.

St. Mark's is working on putting together fundraisers to help bring additional funds to their church.