Church Shuts Down For a Month to Save Money

Many Americans are giving up something in this dire economy. But Sharon Dawson of Southeast Portland will go without something unusual: her church.

To save money, First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland has decided to close for the month of July. The Rev. Marilyn Sewell, senior pastor, said the 142-year-old church faces a projected $185,000 deficit for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

The closure, during a traditionally quiet month in the church calendar, will save a predicted $100,000 in staff pay and help the church avoid laying off employees. Employees also will take an additional two weeks of unpaid leave. Even so, the church will have to make additional cuts, said the Rev. Thomas Disrud, Sewell’s associate.

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