Prayer is requested for a ministry caring for the needy in Sderot, near Gaza, and its associated Messianic congregation as they face two court cases started by the municipality and opposition from ultra-orthodox Jews.
City of Life Ministries (CLM) rent a large space in the industrial area of Sderot for humanitarian work and congregational meetings. In June 2020 CCTV picked up an ultra-orthodox Jew who had illegally entered the building and was using his phone to record videos. CLM reported the incident to the police and made an official complaint. However, at a July 2020 court hearing, the judge treated the intruder leniently, only forbidding him from approaching within 300m from the building for a one-month period.
Yad L’Achim – a Jewish organisation opposed to evangelistic activity – staged a protest outside CLM in August 2020. A chief rabbi also visited the property owners to try to persuade them (unsuccessfully) to cancel the rental agreement. On 12 August 2020 CLM received a letter from the Engineering Department of the municipality summoning pastor Michael Beener for questioning following an “investigation” (no one from the Engineering Department had actually formally approached CLM to inspect the premises). According to Michael, the questions focussed more on CLM’s funding than the building or the humanitarian activities and congregational meetings.
Even though CLM hired an architect and surveyor to check and approve the building’s suitability for the ministry’s purposes, Sderot Municipality has brought two legal cases (against Michael and against CLM) claiming that as a public place of worship they do not meet zoning requirements. The first hearing was scheduled for 23 June but delayed until 29 September to allow the lawyer representing Michael and CLM time to prepare.
Michael and the ministry team request prayer that:
- The municipality will not use the occasion to temporarily close the building and hinder the ministry in Sderot
- The lawyer will be able to prepare well for the court
- God will provide the resources to cover the fees incurred by the architect and surveyor
- The court will uphold the law in Israel and recognise that CLM is being unfairly treated on account of its ministry and Prayer House for the Messianic Congregation
- God will touch the hearts of those who oppose CLM’s ministry and bring them to the knowledge of salvation