Churches and Public Funds: Risks or Rewards?

Unruh, Heidi Rolland and Jill Witmer Sinha. “Churches and Public Funds: Risks or Rewards?” PRISM 8(3):11-13, May/June 2001.

Although there are real concerns and dangers related to direct government funding of faith-based social services, Heidi Unruh and Jill Witmer Sinha cite two pioneer, predominantly African-American congregations as models of successful church-state collaboration in meeting social needs. Faith Assembly of God serves as an example of a caring and successful non-Charitable Choice, State-funded partnership serving eligible individuals through its neighborhood food program. The Transitional Journey Ministry of Cookman United Methodist Church in North Philadelphia receives federal welfare-to-work funds under Charitable Choice. Unruh and Sinha believe that compassionate and successful programs such as these prove “that it is possible to blend state-funded social services with spiritual and emotional support, without compromising the church’s religious identity or the client’s First Amendment rights.”