The Baptist Church in Gaza city has stopped having services because of the ongoing situation with Israel. A local Open Doors worker explains: “the Baptist Church and the library of the church are right across the street from a police station. That police station has been attacked several times, so it is a potentially dangerous area.”
Hanna Maher, the pastor of the Baptist Church, cannot visit all members of the church because of security fears, so church members are staying in touch via telephone, when the lines are working, and organising meetings in homes.
Christians are a minority in Gaza, just 2,000 people out of a population of 1.8 million. An Open Doors fieldworker was recently able to speak to a Christian sister in Gaza. “Our trust in God is unshaken, He is our refuge,” she said. Although her area of town is not bombed frequently, her access to electricity and running water has been affected as a result of the bombings.
The fieldworker added: “I hear that Christians inside Gaza are praying. For peace for themselves, but also peace for the rest of the Middle East, including Israel.”
Christian schools and churches are providing refuge for those in Gaza who have fled their homes or had them destroyed in the ongoing violence. Both the Catholic and Greek orthodox churches have opened their premises to support families, and Holy Family School, run by the Latin Catholic Church, is hosting 800 refugees.
“I am very thankful to the one who opened the gate for me,” Anwar Al-Kitanani told the Telegraph. He and his eight children have been staying in the Holy Family School since they fled their home in Shejaiya, the eastern suburb of Gaza City which has received the heaviest bombardment.
“Over 160,000 people have no houses these days,” one Gaza believer told us. “If one house in an apartment building is damaged because of an attack, then often the whole apartment building is closed for fear of collapsing.”
At the end of February vandals attacked the Catholic church, writing ‘In revenge for the Muslims of Central Africa’ and ‘We’ll get you soon, O worshippers of the cross’ on the walls. It was unknown whether the attack was organised by a radical Islamist group or just a few individuals. Such tensions often go unnoticed by the media in the midst of widespread conflict in the region.
Source: Open Doors; Telegraph
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