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CUBA: Religious Leaders Under Pressure to Sign Agreement Regarding Church Demolition

CUBA: Religious Leaders Under Pressure to Sign Agreement Regarding Church Demolition

Cuban authorities in the city of Santiago de Cuba are pressuring religious leaders to sign an agreement regarding the demolition of their church. The Assemblies of God church, led by Pastor Faustino (Fausto) Palomo Cabrera, located in the Abel Santamaria neighbourhood of Santiago de Cuba, was demolished by authorities on 30 October.

The demolition began at approximately 7.30am when Cuban State Security, accompanied by heavy machinery including bulldozers, attempted to clear the area. According to Cuban independent journalist Ricardo Fernández Izaguirre, the church belongs to the legally recognized Assemblies of God denomination. Footage of the demolition has emerged on Facebook.

During the demolition, Pastor Alain Toledano, a prominent leader of an unregistered denomination, the Apostolic Movement, was physically apprehended by the police whilst filming the attack. He was taken to the Motorizada Police Station, where he was held alongside two other members of his church, Adrián Arza and Félix Daniel González, incommunicado for nine hours.

CSW sources report that Pastor Palomo Cabrera, and the Assemblies of God Regional Superintendent José Martínez were taken away by members of the Department of Physical Planning and other government officials at approximately 9am in the morning of 2 November. It is believed that the authorities are applying pressure on Pastor Palomo Cabrera and Superintendent Martínez to sign a document saying that the demolition of the church was legal. Local sources also report that the authorities are attempting to charge Pastor Palomo Cabrera for the use of the machinery used in the demolition.

Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide

  • Pray the church building being demolished will ignite unity amongst the members and not crush their commitment to Christ in any way.
  • Pray that many who saw the footage of this dreadful event will rise up and pray for the Cuban State Security.
  • Pray the Lord will continue to build his church whilst facing restrictions.

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CHINA: Church Demolished, Christians Hospitalised

CHINA: Church Demolished, Christians Hospitalised

In the morning of 12 June, around 200 officials from various government departments arrived at the Sunzhuang Church with cranes and heavy-duty machinery.

Personnel from the Zhengzhou High-Tech District Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau forced their way into the church and took control of the Christians gathered there. They did not show any legal documents.

Some of the church’s property, including chairs, were tossed outside. At least one Christian woman resisted, and she lost consciousness and had to be taken to the hospital after being pushed to the ground. Another Christian was hospitalised after officials beat her. One male church attendee was taken into custody.

The church was then demolished.

Sunzhuang Church joined China’s network of government-run churches in the early 1990s. In June 2013, the Sunzhuang Village Committee issued a demolition notice to Sunzhuang Church, stating Christians failed to completely follow the procedures for building a church. In response, the church presented authorities with a certificate showing they had obtained prior government approval. At that time, the government sent out a group of people to demolish the church and cut off its electricity and water supply. However, Christians protected the church, and the officials were unable to proceed.

Source: China Aid

  • Ask the Lord to help the church members to overcome the shock and disappointment over this development. Pray those who were injured or detained will be restored.
  • Pray the Lord will enable the church leaders to minister to their members and continue to bring teaching, guidance and fellowship.
  • Pray the believers will continue to be strong in faith and not lose heart over the increased opposition. Ask God to bring good from the church’s suffering.

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EGYPT: Approval of Churches Amidst Turmoil

EGYPT: Approval of Churches Amidst Turmoil

In April, it was reported that 74 applications had been approved, legalising unlicensed churches across Egypt. After the government committee met again on 19 May, a further 70 churches have been legalised, bringing the total to 1,638 since the committee was formed in January 2017. This leaves 2,000 further applications remaining for consideration.

Despite the positive action demonstrated by the government, local authorities in some areas continue to create problems. On 20 May, local authorities in Koum Al-Farag demolished a church building in response to sectarian protests. The one-story building had served as a place of worship for 15 years.

A few years ago, local Muslims constructed a mosque next door in an attempt to prevent the church building from being approved under the ongoing legalisation process. When the church building was recently expanded to accommodate a growing congregation, tensions broke out between Christians and Muslims in the area. To prevent further escalation, local authorities demolished both the church building and the mosque. Fourteen Christians were arrested when they attempted to stop the destruction.

Sources: Egypt Independent, Christian Post, Christian Solidarity Worldwide

  • Thank God for the progress demonstrated by the Egyptian government in its endeavours to grant official approval despite the backlog of applications. Pray that the process will continue favourably.
  • Pray for the people of Koum Al-Farag, as well as others who are facing sectarian tensions in their communities. Ask the Lord to bring His peace through the believers.
  • Pray that He will give wisdom to the authorities as they work to resolve the issues underlying the tensions.

Post your prayer in the comments below.