Send a Christmas message to youth from churches that have been forced to close…

By Dan Etheridge

The Algerian government has been closing churches and investigating the activities of congregations over the last few months (like the one in the video above). The closures have specifically targeted a group of protestant churches – eight have been closed this year. Could you send a message to young Algerian Christians facing the prospect of Christmas with no church to celebrate in?

We’re looking to send a bunch of digital messages over the Christmas period to let our family in Algeria know that they aren’t alone and that we are standing with them in prayer – a kind of digital Christmas card! Could you write a short note, something that could fit into a text or WhatsApp message that we could send to them? Maybe an encouraging Bible verse, prayer, song lyrics or some other encouraging words. Use the form on this page to submit your message, then we’ll get it translated and sent on in time for Christmas.

Real-time WhatsApp message timeline…

Some of the most recent churches were closed in October – and we heard directly from young Christians who were there when the police raided their services and forced them to leave their church. They kept us up to date via WhatsApp.

Why are churches closing?

There are various reasons. Most churches aren’t registered with the government – they need a license, and no licenses have been given in 13 years. The government says the churches and their pastors are spreading ‘destructive ideas’. It’s more likely that the churches are full of converts from Islam, and those people are seen as traitors. Those who convert can be hated, even by their own family, for going against Islam. There are even laws that mean you can get into trouble for ‘shaking the faith of a Muslim’, so Christians have to be careful when talking about their faith. Churches can exist, but they have to stick to the rules – those rules prohibit Bible studies, foreign preachers and Sunday schools, so you can see why many don’t stick to them!

The Author
Dan works part time with Open Doors, mainly sorting out the comms stuff for youth and students. In his other life he's a freelance writer and graphic designer who likes collecting records and sitting on beaches looking at waves.

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