“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
Dear Friends in Christ,
The World Evangelical Alliance is a global ministry working with local churches around the world to join in common concern to live and proclaim the Good News of Jesus in their communities. God is glorified and the nations of the earth are forever transformed.
The purpose of the WEA Religious Liberty Prayer Release is to keep you informed and mobilized in prayer and intercession for the needs of justice and religious liberty in the Church around the globe, so that we can stand together for the work of the Kingdom and the healing of the Nations. The Prayer Release is comprised on the basis of different credible resources.
Mob storms church and threatens pastors with death in Sri Lanka
On 6th March, a large mob led by Buddhist monks forcibly entered the Mercy Gate Chapel in the Galle District in Sri Lanka and demanded that the pastor shut down the church. The mob also threatened the pastor with death if he failed to comply with their demands. Two members of the mob then attacked a congregant who was present during the incident. The congregant was injured in the attack and later hospitalised with injuries.
According to reports, around 20 police officers including the officer-in-charge (OIC) of the area police station were at the scene during the incident. The mob, however, remained on the church premises despite the OIC stating that the church could not be closed down without a legal order. Also, a group of monks and the OIC then proceed to inspect the church. Subsequently, the monks declared to the mob that the church was illegitimate following which, they dispersed from the scene.
Since 2010, Christian groups have reported over 1000 incidents of religious liberty violations against churches in Sri Lanka. According to a recent research publication, during 2020 and 2021, negative State involvement was reported in 70 percent of incidents of Christian religious liberty violations.
Pray for the safety of the pastor and congregation of the Mercy Gate Chapel
Pray for God’s wisdom for church leaders and the legal team handling the incident
Pray for greater religious freedoms in Sri Lanka
Christians arrested over protest for church construction approval in Egypt
Security forces in Egypt arrested at least 9 residents and remanded a person for 15 days on charges of organising an illegal gathering and committing a terrorist act, following a demonstration in January 2022 by dozens of Coptic Christians, demanding the authorities approve the construction of a church in the village of Ezbet Farag Allah in Minya.
According to rights groups, the 2016 law regulating the construction and renovation of churches codifies discrimination against the Christian community as it stipulates difficult conditions that need to be met for churches to receive approval for their buildings. These include requirements such as the need to install electronic gates, a fire alarm system and emergency exits, which prove to be challenging for smaller churches in rural areas. It is reported that between May 2018 and January 2022, 5540 churches and religious buildings submitted requests for approval. However, only 2162 churches and affiliated structures or 40 percent of the requests received approval during this same period.
Pray that the authorities would revoke policies that discriminate against Christians
Pray for greater freedoms for Christians to build churches and operate buildings in the country
Pray for greater religious freedoms in Egypt
Pastor abducted and beaten in India
On 25th February, Hindu extremists accused a pastor of forcible conversions, assaulted him and then tied him to a post at a roadside in South Delhi. As seen in a video posted on the incident on social media, a large mob gathered around him, taunted the pastor and assaulted him repeatedly. It is reported that the Hindu extremists initially beat up the pastor around four miles away and then abducted him and brought him to the Fatehpur Beri Chowk crossroad in South Delhi.
According to reports, the police initially refused to register a First Information Report (FIR) and only proceeded to do so after the media reported the incident. However, the pastor has since been denied a copy of the FIR or an update on the investigations.
Pray for the safety of the pastor
Pray that the police would act swiftly to bring those responsible to justice
Pray for God’s protection and guidance for pastors and Christian workers who are under the threat of harassment by extremists