HIRR Releases New Report on Pandemic's Impact on Black Churches
January 4, 2024
The latest report from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research shows how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted majority Black, white, and multiracial congregations differently over the past three years.
The study — part of the Exploring the Pandemic Impact on Congregations project — found drops in attendance, finances and clergy well being were especially pronounced for Black churches. While 65% of white congregations say their finances stayed the same or improved since 2018, only 50% of Black churches could say the same. The report also showed a concerning 15% increase in Black clergy considering leaving ministry after weathering the strains of the pandemic.
However, Black churches showed tremendous adaptability and commitment to pandemic response efforts — 99% encouraged vaccinations compared to only 53% of white church leaders. They also opened their buildings as testing and vaccination sites at more than double the rate of white congregations.
The report praises the resilience of Black congregations in utilizing technology and continuing community engagement throughout an extraordinarily difficult period. It calls for increased support, both financial and through partnerships, to alleviate systemic burdens facing these vital faith communities.
The Hartford Institute plans to continue releasing analyses on the pandemic impact on congregations.
Please contact Dr. Brittany Watts, postdoctoral research fellow, at email@example.com for more details on the report and please read this news coverage of the report's findings:
Black Churches Hardest Hit by the Pandemic, New Report Reveals
Pandemic Boosted Resilience, Hurt Financial Health of Black Churches, Says Report