Rising pressure on churches in ‘tolerant’ area of Indonesia sparks concern.

Two churches in a traditionally tolerant area of Indonesia have faced fierce local opposition to their building plans. Release sources say that Immanuel Pentecostal Christian Church in Bantul, Jogyakarta, and a Baptist church in Semarang have both been targeted. Extremists reportedly raided a service at the Baptist church and intimidated its pastor. Local Christians are concerned because generally they have enjoyed religious freedom in this area of Central Java, near the capital Jakarta, our contacts say. Please pray for these two congregations under pressure in Central Java. Both churches have taken their cases to court. The Baptist church had already begun building work, after approval from the local mayor. Release associate ministries report that last month the New Testament Christian Church in Central Java was forcibly closed after protests by Islamic clerics and their supporters. Meanwhile, a Christian family of four in Indonesia have had to flee to a different area after relatives became angry and violent – because they had changed their religious status on their ID cards to ‘Christian’ after being baptised. The family are reportedly in a safe house and being supported by local Christians.

Pray that God will give His wisdom to leaders of Central Java churches facing opposition, including Pentecostal leader Pastor Tigor Yunus Sitorus.Please pray for peace and steadfast faith for the Christian family who have fled their home. Pray especially for their traumatised children. Ask God to provide work and an income for them.Pray that officials and moderate Muslims in Indonesia will stand with Christians against intolerance and persecution, in the interests of religious freedom.

(Source: Release contacts)

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