Voice of the Martyrs workers in Indonesia have confirmed the recent closure of three churches. Government and local resident intervention are to blame for the closures, all within the last month, which has affected three different congregations across parts of the Muslim nation.
GBI Church in Tanjung Pinang was in the middle of the construction of their new church home when their building permit was suddenly revoked by the local government. The local mayor had even attended the church’s groundbreaking, and construction had already begun when officials revoked the permit and removed signage without explanation.
Church leaders were left confused and are now considering legal action.
“We keep depending on God in this situation and will discuss with Legal Aid Institute to consider our next steps for tackling the situation,” said GBI’s senior pastor.
Two house churches have also been forced to close after intervention from nearby residents. Many house churches throughout the country operate without disturbance but can be reported and subsequently forced to close if they don’t have permits.
One of the churches in Cileungsi had been running for ten years with close to 70 members. Last week, a group of people tried to prevent churchgoers from entering the building. The Christians resisted them, entered and were told that it would be the last time. The opposing group demanded the church close and be converted back to a house. It is believed the protest was led by a local security guard who is also in government.
Similarly, after the Pillar Asih Protestant Church in Bekasi was discovered in a home by a local resident, a group of protestors gathered to demonstrate against the church. When police arrived a short time later, they forced church leaders to sign a document demanding the cessation of all church activities.
Source: VOM Contacts Indonesia
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