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At the heart of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, a church held its 100th open-air morning service next to a main road.

Bogor City, is said to be one of the world’s most densely populated areas. In April 2010, Bogor’s Taman Yasmin Indonesia Christian Church (GKI Yasmin) was sealed and padlocked by order of the mayor of Bogor and the city government.

The mayor claimed that the previous sub-village head had falsified community signatures and that the church brought trouble with local Muslim neighbours. Later he said that the church should not be built on a street with an Islamic name.

In December 2010, the Indonesian Supreme Court affirmed the church’s constitutional right to freedom of worship; however the mayor refused to reopen the church.

GKI Yasmin’s congregation resorted to conducting services on the path in front of their former church for more than two years. During services outside the church, they constantly faced harassment from groups of protesters – including from Islamist extremist groups. In 2012, they started to conduct Sunday services in front of the State Palace, to further their case with the government.

The Bogor City Government reportedly allocated land for the replacement church some seven kilometres from its previous location, and a budget of up to 4.5 billion rupiahs ($305,000) for a new church. The West Java regional government said it could provide up to 10 billion. But it is by no means certain that, even should the church agree to relocate, they would be allowed to build a new church

Indonesian President Jokowi, has introduced some improvements for the country’s minority faiths, but a case like this one still shows how much room there is for progress. A recent report says he has the power to enforce the highest court’s order on Bogor, but so far he has taken no action.

Source: World Watch Monitor

Prayer Points

• Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of the church leaders and members of the congregation, who continue to meet together.
• Pray the Lord will use the public worship services as an effective witness for His Gospel.
• Ask the Lord to bring about a solution; pray the church in Indonesia will continue to grow in number and faithfulness despite the opposition they face.

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