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Sacramento region's churches struggle in the recession

Sanctuary from the economic downturn is tough to find, even in houses of worship.

The financial uncertainty has hit religious organizations hard as members struggling with tight budgets have pared back their donations. Churches, struggling to fill the collection plate, now are cutting back themselves.

Several local congregations in the Sacramento region have put plans for new buildings on hold. Some have made special appeals to members to dig deeper in their pockets. Others are asking staff to pay for items needed for their ministries.

At Abundant Life Fellowship in Roseville, Pastor Doug Bird was hoping for a little divine intervention as he reviewed his church's books at the end of the year.

His church typically receives extra contributions from members – called year-end gifts – totaling about $50,000.

This year, that didn't happen.

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