The congregation is in Azaghar, a village near Akbou, about 180km south-east of Algiers. It has about 300 members and has been active for more than five years. It is a member of the EPA (Église Protestante d’Algérie), the legally recognised umbrella of protestant churches in Algeria.
Government officials ordered the church to close in February after inspecting the site and demanding the church be renovated to provide another emergency exit and fire extinguishers. The church complied with these demands and even closed for three weeks to allow for the renovation. Even after this, the police went to the building owner and notified him that they were going to close the building on orders from the Bejaia provincial officials.
This is not the first church to be closed in Algeria this year. Although some previously closed churches have been allowed to re-open, many still remain shut.
In the midst of rising church closures in Algeria, new churches and any other non-Muslim places of worship are required to register with the state. This has become a difficult process as the government has kept many churches from officially registering.
Sources: Middle East Concern, International Christian Concern
- Pray the church leaders and EPA leaders would know the Lord’s peace, wisdom and guidance in the face of the growing pressure.
- Pray the authorities will end their systematic campaign to close churches and limit Christians’ freedom to worship.
- Pray that churches ordered to close would soon be permitted to re-open and that no further action will be taken against those churches still under investigation.