Managing Church Financial Stability in the Wake of COVID-19 vis-à-vis Impact on Church's Mission: A Case Study of Parishes in Masaka Diocese, Uganda
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This study investigated the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on church financial stability and its impact on church apostolate using a case study of catholic parishes in Masaka Diocese. The study employed three objectives: i) to understand the impact of COVID-19 on catholic parish apostolate and its eventual impact on the contribution from Christians as a major source of finances; ii) to examine the existing alternative sources of finance and their role in supporting a catholic parish apostolate, and iii) to determine the role of financial management skills towards achieving financial stability in the wake of COVID-19. In-depth interviews were used with the aid of a semi-structured interview guide which targeted key parish leaders, i.e., parish priest and laity leaders in 26 parishes. Lockdown adversely affected the collection of financial contributions from Christians, which is a major source of finances for many catholic parishes. The study also found out that many parishes have projects as alternative sources of finances, however, there is lack of focus which leads to low project returns. For parishes that are focused on a few projects which they can do well, they reported the importance of projects during the lockdown because they acted as a substitute for contributions. Almost all parish leaders knew what to do, but the existing personal ideologies prohibited some of these church leaders to practice some financial management skills. Practical implication: All catholic parish churches, need to confront the reality of achieving financial stability if they are to achieve success in their apostolate. If they are unable to obtain the financial resources they need for their apostolate, their ability to fulfill that apostolate is likely to be compromised.