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News / Thoughts

Sudan: Churches closed (update)

March 14, 2016

Sudanese authorities have closed the meeting places of churches for refugee communities in the capital, Khartoum. These closures follow a Ministry of Internal Affairs order, issued at the beginning of February, which forced the congregations to register by 15 February.

“On Friday, refugee churches that used to meet at the Presbyterian Church compounds in Jerief and Suq Arabi areas learned that their meeting places have been closed-off and sealed with new locks,” a source – who remains anonymous for security reasons – told us. “The Presbyterian Church in Gerief was also closed for services to Sudanese Christians. At least six churches were unable to conduct their main services on either Friday or Sunday.”

Concerns for churches

For the refugee churches in Khartoum that have submitted their applications, they now have to provide additional information that includes:

  • The name and address of the senior pastor
  • Legal documents (passport/residence permit) for church leaders
  • Contact details of all church leaders (telephone, email, post boxes)
  • Name and address details of church governing bodies/elders
  • Total number of members and their names
  • Exact place of meeting

Pastors have expressed concern over this move, saying that they fear the government will gain information about their operations, and yet still deny them registration – a method used by the government in neighbouring Eritrea, where persecution against Christians is extremely high.

Churches affected by this move include those ministering to refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and the Philippines, among others.

Persecution increases

The Sudanese government has been exerting increasing pressure against Christians in Sudan. Currently, two Christian pastors who were arrested in December 2015 are being held incommunicado, with no formal charges or access to legal support. There is mounting concern for the wellbeing of the two.

Please join us in praying for this very worrying development.

Pray now

  • For the Lord’s miraculous intervention in this situation and that the Church will find a way to continue ministering to believers, despite the efforts by the government to thwart their work
  • That the Lord would grant courage to all church leaders and Christians affected by the church closures
  • That these circumstances would work to unite the Church in Sudan instead of drive them apart.
  • That the Lord would give believers the wisdom to respond to these difficulties in a way that glorifies his Name and brings his people into a closer relationship with him.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.