- The Washington Times - Monday, November 14, 2005

UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J.

For Bob and Theresa Cudequest, devout but busy Roman Catholics, technology truly is a blessing.

Instead of digging through their wallet for cash or hurriedly writing a check — or even missing a payment altogether when they can’t make it to Mass, the Bergen County couple simply have their monthly church offering deducted from their bank account.

“It’s one less thing to think about as we’re running out the door,” said Mrs. Cudequest, 40.

Mr. and Mrs. Cudequist and their four children belong to the Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River. They are part of a growing wave of American parishioners who are making their church offerings electronically.

More and more churches are working with companies so that congregation members can have their offerings deducted directly from their bank accounts or charged to credit cards.

The Newark Archdiocese recently sent out letters to its 230 parishes in northeastern New Jersey, introducing them to the idea of electronic giving.

For the past two years, the Church of the Presentation has been working with ParishPay LLC, a New York-based company that works with about 2,000 U.S. parishes. Another company that provides similar services is Minnesota-based Vanco Services, which contracts with nearly 6,500 congregations nationwide.

Churches like electronic giving because it helps minimize dips in collections during the summer when families go on vacation or when attendance is low because of bad weather.

Dennis Corcoran, director of operations for the Church of the Presentation, said about a third of the church’s 1,100 households who regularly attend services have signed on to give electronically. Spiritually, he said, there is nothing wrong with electronic giving.

There were “no monetary gifts back in the early church,” he said. “You donated a goat or a chicken. It was a huge leap when they went to putting a check in the collection basket.”

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