Christians in Algeria request prayer for a congregation in the Kayblie region, which faces ongoing pressure from the authorities. After officials sealed the church building in October 2018, the congregation continued to meet for worship in a tent erected in the church yard. On 28 January 2019, the National Gendarmerie informed the owner of the tent that it must be dismantled.
The Church of Azagher, a village near Akbou, about 180 km south-east of Algiers has about 300 members and is more than five years old. It is a member of l’Église Protestante d’Algérie (EPA), the legally recognised umbrella of Protestant churches in Algeria.
Since November 2017 most EPA-affiliated churches have been visited by so-called “building-safety committees.” These committees have not only inspected buildings’ suitability to host meetings, but have also been asking about licenses required under a 2006 ordinance regulating non-Muslim worship. However, the government has yet to issue any licence for a church building under this ordinance.
Several churches have since received written orders to cease all activities. A number were closed by authorities because they did not have a license.
The congregation in Azaghar was visited by a “committee” in December 2017. In February 2018 the church received a letter citing non-compliance with safety regulations (lack of emergency exits and fire extinguishers). The church fixed those issues. However, the letter also mentioned violations of regulations regarding foreign visitors and noted a violation of the building’s designated commercial usage (poultry production). It was sealed by the authorities on 16 October 2018.
Algerian Christians urge us to pray that:
- church and EPA leaders would know the Lord’s peace, wisdom and guidance in the face of the growing pressure
- the authorities will end their systematic campaign to close churches and limit Christians’ freedom to worship
- churches ordered to close would soon be permitted to re-open, and that no further action will be taken against those churches still under investigation
- the regulations governing non-Muslim worship would be amended and justly implemented, so that Christians will be able to worship freely
- those responsible for the closure orders would know the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus