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Indonesia: Church closed over rejection by Muslim residents

Sunni Muslims make up 87% of the Indonesian population, with Protestant Christians comprising 7% and Roman Catholics 3%. There are also around 2000 members of the Indonesia Orthodox Church, with 13 parishes in Java, Bali, Sumatra, Celebes, Timor and Papua. All the Christians of Indonesia are embattled, having to live under precarious circumstances, as exemplified by what happened to the Kanaan Methodist Church in this article: as we have seen in Egypt and elsewhere, officials are reluctant to issue permits for churches, and then close them down for being unlicensed. Please pray that the Lord would soften the hearts of these officials toward their Christian populations, and move them to give the Christians the permits and protection they need. “Church in Jambi closed over rejection by Muslim residents,” by Jon Afrizal, Jakarta Post, September 27, 2018:

Several members of a church congregation in Jambi city burst into tears on Thursday upon seeing their house of worship sealed by Public Order Agency personnel.

“We have been worshiping here for 18 years. Suddenly [the church] is closed. We are shocked,” Sinaga, one of the leaders of the Kanaan Methodist church on Jl. Lingkar Barat Tiga in Kota Baru district, told reporters.

Sinaga said the church leaders had applied for a permit from the city administration for years but had never been granted one.

He said up until now there had been no conflict with followers of other religions around the location of the church, and congregation members were often involved in communal activities.

Jambi National Unity and Politics Office head Liphan Pasaribu said the sealing had been conducted because of local residents’ rejection of churches without permits….

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