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On Friday night, unknown aggressors set fire to an independent church in the state of Tamil Nadu, southern India.

The fire brought down the entire roof, affected the building structure, furniture, speaker boxes, and amplifier, causing damages estimated around $4,000.

While the reason for the attack is not yet apparent, members of the church suspect radical Hindu nationalists, who have been egregious in that region in the last few years.

According to local sources, on the morning of 13 June, Pastor Ramesh saw the flames and thick smoke coming from the church. By that time, the roof, made of coconut leaves and bamboo, was completely burnt.

“I was shocked for a moment looking at the church engulfed with flames and smoke. I was broken, and it was so painful, there was absolutely no way to save anything from inside the church. The church structure, instruments, and furniture inside the church are ten years of hard labour,” Pastor Ramesh said.

For the last ten years, Pastor Ramesh has led the Real Peach church in Vaylur, Changalpattu district. There are currently 100 members. He believes that this incident was an act of Christian persecution. He has been threatened to stop practising Christianity.

“After I recovered from the shock,” Ramesh said, “I filed a formal complaint with the police, and the police promised that they will carry on the investigation.”

In 2017, in the same district, a pastor was murdered only 8km from where Pastor Ramesh leads the church in Vaylur. “This place has been a difficult place for Christians,” Ramesh said, “and there are numerous instances where the Christians have been facing increased intimidations.”

The state of Tamil Nadu is known for its sizable Christian population despite being ranked two in the national tally of the most hostile states for Christians to live.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Pray for Pastor Ramesh and the church members as they come to terms with the loss. Pray their willingness to continue to worship will be a witness for the Gospel.
  • Commit to the Lord the investigation and pray for the protection of the Christians in the community.
  • Pray for the perpetrators and all those in the area who oppose the Lord and His people.

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