Christians in Algeria ask for prayer for the church of Makouda, as an administrative court rejected a request to cancel the governor’s order to close the church.
The Spring of Life church, is the second largest Protestant church in Algeria with about 700 members. It is affiliated with the EPA (Église Protestante d’Algérie), the legally recognised umbrella of Protestant churches in Algeria, and is pastored by the EPA secretary. It was closed on 15 October 2019, the same day as two other churches, including the largest Protestant church in Algeria, the Tizi Ouzou Full Gospel church.
The court recognised the governor’s authority to close the building under Ordinance 06-03, which stipulates that permission must be obtained before using a building for non-Muslim worship.
Since the Ordinance 06-03 was enacted in 2006, the authorities have failed to respond to any application. Therefore, it has become standard practice to rent premises and inform local authorities that they are being used as places of worship.
Authorities in Algeria started a campaign in November 2017 to close churches under Ordinance 06-03, which leaves thirteen EPA affiliated churches and several non-EPA Protestant churches closed. Some have been ordered to “settle their situation” by applying individually to regional authorities.
The church of Makouda made such an application in June 2018. The application remains unanswered. Instead, in June 2020,the pastor was convicted and fined by another court for unpermitted modifications to the (church) building.
Ten of the closed churches, five in the province of Tizi Ouzou and five in Bejaia, have filed similar cases with the administrative courts. Christians in Algeria are concerned this verdict might be a precedent for similar action by municipal authorities against other churches.
Algerian Christians ask us to pray:
- that the church pastor and EPA leadership will know the peace of Jesus, the wisdom of the Father and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in dealing with this situation
- that the appeals court would reverse the verdict, that no further legal action will be taken against churches, and that Christians will be able to gather in places of worship without hindrance
- that the regulations governing non-Muslim worship will be amended and justly implemented, so that Christians will be able to worship freely
- that those responsible for the closure order will know the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness and new life offered by Jesus.