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The Oneida Indian Nation's campaign against the Washington pro football club's team name picked up new supporters this week when more than two dozen clergy in the Washington region committed to taking the fight to their pulpits.
Collection plates are growing even lighter as Protestant church member giving reached new lows in 2011, and tithing probably will not recover from the recession, according to a new report by Empty Tomb, a Christian research group.
Half a century ago, the denominations under the mainline umbrella dominated the American faith landscape. Now, after decades of declining numbers, only about one in five U.S. adults identifies with a mainline denomination.
Many congregations are mired in debt, saddled with large mortgages as they lose longtime elderly members and scramble to woo young families that will place checks in collection plates. To stand out in a crowded field — and attract more members — churches are hiring consultants trained in ecclesial concerns.