PASTOR SALAH, ALGERIA: 'PRAY THAT THE LORD WILL BE WITH US'
Seventeen Christians in Tizi Ouzou, Algeria, who were arrested yesterday during a peaceful sit-in after their church was closed by the local authorities, have been released. Some of them were ill-treated and insulted; they were not told if they will face charges. Full Gospel Church, the biggest church in Tizi Ouzou, was closed by force on Tuesday 15 October; Pastor Salah, the church leader, and some of the congregation were beaten by officials. It’s one of three churches that have been closed in just two days.
The closure of Pastor Salah’s church – one of the biggest churches in Algeria, with around 700 members – is seemingly another step by the government to close all Protestant churches in the biggest country in Africa. Most of the churches are part of the EPA (Eglise protestante d'Algérie), the legally recognized umbrella organization of Protestant churches in Algeria.
Pastor Salah sees the trend of church closures as ‘very worrying’ for the future of the church in Algeria. "I am afraid that the authorities will also forbid the house churches. We have already seen that happening in Algeria. Pastors whose churches were closed started having meetings in the houses, and the government forbid that. "I ask the worldwide church to pray that the Lord will be with us during this hardship."
For Pastor Salah and the congregation who were harmed during the church closure; ask for God’s healing and continued protection that God would give wisdom to Open Doors partners working with churches in Algeria to know how to best serve our church family during this time For all congregations in Algeria who are losing their church buildings; pray that God will strengthen them and provide new places for them to meet together and worship.