Spring Forward, Skip God?

ByABC News
February 9, 2009, 9:03 AM

March. 10, 2007 — -- Clocks spring forward Saturday night and we lose an hour of our weekend. Many of us will take that hour from God.

Churches say the first Sunday of Daylight Saving Time is one of the worst for attendance.

"When we lose the hour, attendance drops off" by about 15 percent, said Bill Agee, a pastor at Hope Community Church in Springfield, Mo.

And his church is not unique. Churches across the country report empty seats and late arrivals.

In an effort to fill the pews, many churches are taking action.

In California, the First Christian Church of Santa Maria is shifting its service times along with the clock. Sunday services will begina half hour later starting this weekend, and the change will be permanent.

Candace Clark, administrator for the First Unitarian Church in Portland, Ore., sends an e-mail to the entire congregation reminding them of the time change, "so that they can make plans in their own life and still be involved in the life of the church in a timely manner."

Agee also sends an e-mail to his Missouri congregation, backed up by a note in the church bulletin and a message on the Web site.

But despite their efforts, Agee said, "there's always the ones that seem to completely forget. We'll see people showing up with no clue that there was a time change."

Families with small children are the most likely to skip church or show up late, though they might not be missing much. The day after the switch tends to be a low energy sermon.

"We're all tired," said Agee.

But Agee is willing to cut his congregation some slack for one sleepy Sunday. He looks forward to that Sunday in the fall when forgetful parishioners show up an hour early.

"We have coffee and donuts ready for them," he said.