Pastor Rick Warren’s evangelical megachurch congregants in California are under the gun since their spiritual leader posted an “urgent letter” on his blog asking for $900,000 in donations before the New Year. Warren told the Saddleback Church members online that the church needs the money to make up for a massive holiday-giving deficit, though he claimed they were on budget all year before this past weekend. “It’s basically having to do more with less,” a church spokesman told the Associated Press. “The seasonal Christmas offering was down significantly and, commensurately, the need for services the church is expected to provide is up.” On a non-holiday Sunday, the church’s offering is approximately $600,000, which is collected from over 80,000 members from five different locations, according to Reader’s Digest. Saddleback congregants have raised considerable funds quickly before, according to their Web site, including $1.7 million for Katrina victims in 2005 and $1.6 million for those affected by the 2004 Pacific Islands tsunami.
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