Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Last Church pressured to close

The last church in the district of Ciparay sub-district of Bandung, the provincial capital of West Java, Indonesia, is being pressured to close by officials. The Batu Zaman Baptist Church has been unable to get a permit for worship services. They have been trying to acquire the permit since the church was established in 1998, but been unsuccessful.

The Muslim institutions object to the church, but the community had supported them until May of 2006. An appeal petition was sent out by a local official in May, who objected to the services, and lots of the residents of the community signed the petition. A request by the church for a temporary worship place was turned down in June 2006 after intense negotiations took place between them and the local officials.

However, a recently revised law makes provision for local governments to provide a temporary place should a worship house fail to gain consent from the surrounding community. The revised law requires every applicant to: (1) Congregate at least 90 people; (2) Gain approval from 60 neighbors of different faiths, local authorities and the interfaith harmony forum.

"That is why we want to give the best shot for this case. It is the last church standing," said Simon Timorason, the head of the Indonesian Christian Communication Forum, West Java chapter (FKKI Jabar). Timorason is assisting the church in securing the worship building permit.

The revised law was enacted on March 21, but there has been more disharmony since. And, 12 churches have been closed. West Java, Indonesia is a hot spot for believers, but "they face daily persecution for their faith", says Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller. "Join me in prayer for the Christians there."

Linked at Conservative Cat
Pursuing Holiness
Stuck on Stupid

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