October 24, 20109 (used with permission of Voice of the Martyrs Canada) SUDAN: Church Property Ownership Results in Criminal Charges Sources: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, World Watch Monitor
Eight church leaders are facing criminal charges over a law that puts all church properties under the control of the government. These eight leaders of the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) -- including its president, Ayouba Telyan -- were arrested in August 2017 after refusing to turn over control of their church's property to a government-appointed committee. Charges included criminal trespassing and illegal possession of property. For more information on the original ruling, go to this report.
Being a predominantly Nubian denomination, the SCOC has frequently faced religious and ethnic discrimination. Despite the unjust treatment, the charges were initially dismissed in August 2018. In his ruling, the judge said that this issue was an administrative dispute and not criminal in nature. However, government officials appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. In the high court's decision on October 7th, it was decided that there were grounds for a criminal case and the trial was to proceed.
This court ruling comes one month after the appointment of Sudan's new transitional government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Government ministers have demonstrated positive signs that freedom of religion may be allowed. For more information on the country of Sudan, and other reports on the persecution of Sudanese Christians, go to our country report.
Remember these church leaders in your prayers as they now must contend with the charges. Pray that there will be a favourable political move towards religious freedom in Sudan. May church leaders throughout the country, and their congregation members, operate with wisdom and discretion as they reach out to those around them with the message of the Gospel.
INDIA: Police Shut Down Outdoor Worship Services Source: Morning Star News
Police broke up a worship gathering of approximately 6,000 Christians on October 15th after Hindu militants accused the pastor of insulting other religions, possession of arms, and forcible conversions. According to Pastor Santosh Jaiswal, the congregation scattered when police arrived with demands that the service cease.
The officers investigating the allegations were unable to find any evidence against the pastor but ordered that Pastor Santosh stop the worship services. According to police, an eyewitness had seen people claiming to be healed and others lifting their hands in prayer, interpreting what was happening as black magic.
Along with charges against Pastor Santosh, his wife Kajal, sister, and other church members are facing similar allegations -- even though the open-air venue is located on land owned by the pastor's sister, and the village leadership has never been opposed to the gatherings. Church members have since encouraged him to go into hiding for his protection. To learn more on the various challenges encountered by Christians in India, go to this page.
Please lift up Pastor Santosh, his wife, and the other believers facing charges and other forms of persecution. May God work mightily in the lives of the church members, governing authorities, and even those opposed to Christianity. Pray for unhindered outreach opportunities and continued good relations with village leadership.
ALGERIA: Another Church to be Closed Source: Middle East Concern
Algerian Christians request ongoing prayer as the government campaign to close churches continues. On October 17th, leaders of the church in Freha were summoned by police and informed that their building will be sealed.
In response to the escalating closures, Christians gathered on October 17th outside the Governorate building in Tizi Ouzou to express their concerns. In response, police violently arrested 97 people, injuring some of them. The believers were detained for four hours before being released.
With this latest closure, a total of 11 churches from the Protestant Church of Algeria have been sealed -- eight of these official closures having occurred since May 2019. For more details on the persecution of Christians in Algeria, go to the country report.
Continue to uphold the members of these sealed churches in your prayers, asking God to help them find ways in which they can gather peacefully for worship, encouragement and ministry. Despite the oppression they have been experiencing, may He make it possible for them to share His life-transforming truths and reach out in their communities with the compassion of Christ. Pray that the officers involved in the raids and other governing officials will witness God's 'amazing grace' being demonstrated through the lives of His faithful followers.