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China: Churches shuttered, turned into cultural centers promoting socialist values

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As part of China’s ongoing crackdown on Christianity, Communist authorities have converted a number of state-approved Three-Self churches into cultural centers promoting President Xi Jinping’s socialist values.

Persecution watchdog China Aid reports that recently, Flowing Stream Church in Funing County’s Yangzai township, Jiangsu province was forcibly occupied by officials with China’s Communist Party and converted to “Yangzai Township Flowing Stream Village Cultural Service Center.”

The church had previously been disbanded by the local United Front Department and was accused of “occupying village’s cultural base.”

A local villager told China Aid that now, the building is used to promote President Xi’s core socialist values and spread “positive energy” instead of the Gospel.

Another church in the vicinity, Beizhouzhuang Church, was converted to “Beizhouzhuang Cultural Compound” after the members “voluntarily donated the venue for the village according to the government.” The church was also first disbanded last October for not having the right registration, according to China Aid.

In recent years, numerous reports have emerged of Chinese authorities replacing crosses with the CCP flag and images of Jesus Christ with President Xi, and converting churches into buildings for political activities.

These activities are part of a larger strategy on the part of the CCP to shut down any kind of organizing outside of the party, according to persecution watchdog Open Doors USA.

The organization, which ranks China 23rd on its list of 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, notes that all churches are perceived as a threat if they become too large, too political, or invite foreign guests.

In April, a believer in the Yangbu town said local authorities demolished the cross of a Three-Self church, with plans to convert the 300-square-meter church into a facility for the elderly.

It was also reported that amid the coronavirus outbreak, poor Christian villagers in several provinces were ordered to renounce their faith and replace displays of Jesus with portraits of Chairman Mao and President Xi or risk losing their welfare benefits.

David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA who was in China on a fact-finding trip days before COVID-19 emerged from Wuhan province, “witnessed firsthand how the Chinese government is using mass surveillance and data modeling to monitor and punish citizens who choose to attend church or share religious material.”

“The forced closure of thousands of churches and the removal of crosses from buildings are now-commonplace tactics by the Chinese government in order to limit, if not extinguish, Christian practice,” Curry wrote in an op-ed. “China’s totalitarian ambition to build a god-as-government state is motivating the steady eradication of religious practice, at any cost.”

China, an officially atheist country, has also been accused of engaging in human rights crimes against other religious minority groups, including Uighur Muslims, Falun Gong practitioners, and Tibetan Buddhists.

Last year, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback said during a trip to Hong Kong that the CCP “is at war with faith.”

“It’s a war they will not win,” Brownback declared, according to reports. “The Chinese Communist Party must hear the cry of its people for religious freedom.”
Sources: Christian Post

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One Christian Killed, Four Kidnapped in Nigeria

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Nigeria– A bus driver was killed and four female members of an Anglican Church abducted while driving along Kaduna-Kachia road on Tuesday, April 6th, reports the Barnabus Fund.

“Bandits blockaded the road and opened fire on the church bus and another truck. In addition to the Christian bus driver, named as Alfred Makinde, three others were killed in the gunfire,” stated the news source.

The kidnappers contacted the church demanding a N100 million (about $245,000) ransom.

“My conversation with the Anglican church is there were 15 members in the bus but the others ran into the bush and others were shot and sustained injuries, but the bandits took four persons; one old woman and three young ladies” said Reverend Joseph Hayab, the Kaduna Christian Association of Nigeria chairman.

The attack comes just twelve days after eight Christians were abducted while driving on the same Kaduna-Kachia road, about 20 miles outside of Kaduna city. Christians are particularly targeted in this area of Nigeria, often referred to as the middle belt, where the Muslim majority north meets Nigeria’s mostly Christian south, creating an environment of ethnic tension which often results in severe Christian persecution. Christian communities are targeted, and thousands of believers have been kidnapped, tortured and killed with nowhere to turn for safety. While the government denies religious motive behind these attacks, the frequent burning of churches and targeting of believers shows that a hatred of Christianity plays a key role in the violence throughout the Middle Belt.

Please pray for the safe return of all who have been kidnapped. Please join us in praying for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria, for the Lord to strengthen the Nigerian church and heal His persecuted children of their trauma. Please also pray for the world to recognize the scale of the suffering that believers are having to endure in Nigeria, as well as for the souls of those who persecute the church, that all will repent and find salvation in Christ.
Sources:persecution

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പാസ്റ്റർ ജോൺ വർഗീസിൻ്റെ (രാജൻ പ്ലാന്തോട്ടത്തിൽ) സഹധർമ്മിണി ഏലിക്കുട്ടി വർഗീസ് (ലില്ലി -71) അമേരിക്കയിൽ നിര്യാതയായി

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ഒക്കലഹോമ: ഐ.പി.സി. ഹെബ്രോൻ മുൻ ശുശ്രുഷകനും സിനിയർ പാസ്റ്ററുമായ Rev. Dr. ജോൺ വർഗീസിന്റ (രാജൻ. പ്ലാന്തോട്ടത്തിൽ, ആഞ്ഞിലിത്താനം ) ഭാര്യ എലിക്കുട്ടി വർഗീസ് (ലില്ലി – 71) ഏപ്രിൽ 10-ന് പ്രഭാതത്തിൽ താൻ പ്രിയം വെച്ച കർത്തൃ സന്നിധിയിൽ ചേർക്കപ്പെട്ടു. മെമ്മോറിയൽ സർവ്വീസ് ഏപ്രിൽ 16 നു വെള്ളിയാഴ്ച വൈകിട്ട് 6- മണിക്കും സംസ്കാര ശ്രുശ്രുഷ ഏപ്രിൽ 17- നു രാവിലെ 10 മണിക്കും നടത്തപ്പെടുന്നതായിരിക്കും . രണ്ടു ശുശ്രുഷകളും ഒക്കലഹോമ ഐ.പി.സി. ഹെബ്രോൻ സഭാ ഹാളിൽ വെച്ച് നടത്തപ്പെടുന്നതായിരിക്കും.

മകൾ : ഫെബി മാത്യു.
മരുമകൻ: ജോൺസൻ മാത്യു (ബോബി ).

കൊച്ചുമക്കൾ: ജോയാന, രൂത്ത് & ക്രിസ്റ്റഫർ

Viewing:- Wednesday 4 – 7.30pm (prayer meeting 6.30 pm – 7.30pm)

Memorial service:- Friday 6.30 pm. @IPCH

Home Going Service:- Saturday 10 am. @ IPCH

Follow CDC guidelines.
Come and go as you wish.

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