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Pastor's plea for $900,000 in donations garners $2.4 million

January 4, 2010 |  9:15 am

Warren More money could be pouring into Saddleback Church in Lake Forest after its well-known pastor, Rick Warren, issued an end-of-the-year plea for donations to bridge a financial shortfall.

“We have not gotten a final tally yet,” said church spokeswoman Kristin Cole in a phone interview from Texas. “We expect more could come in once the mail comes in today.”

Warren, the Orange County-based evangelical pastor who gave the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration, had announced a $900,000 deficit in the mega-church’s budget a few days after Christmas. By last weekend, $2.4 million had come in from members who already were hard hit by bad economic times. An estimated 10% of church’s members are unemployed.

“There was not one massive gift,” Cole said. “Mostly they were smaller gifts of $100 here and $75 there.”

Warren had denied the budget shortfall has anything to do with management problems. Instead he blames it on bad timing. Because Christmas fell on a Friday, by the weekend a lot of people were out of town or too tired to attend service and give offerings in person.

-- Ching-Ching Ni

Photo: December 2008 photo of the Rev. Rick Warren. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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