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SPAIN: Evangelical church banned from worship services in its building

SPAIN: Evangelical church in Spain banned from worship services in its building

CNE (09.01.2023) – https://bit.ly/3iyb6ie – An Evangelical congregation in Spain is forbidden to hold worship services in its church building. According to the municipality, the building does not conform to set requirements for places of worship. Now, the congregation has to meet at a different location.

Members of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Faith, Love and Hope in San Sebastián have been meeting in their worship building for six years. Now, the church does not meet the strict requirements of the municipality anymore, Protestante Digital. There is no unified legislation in Spain on rules for church buildings. Therefore, requirements may vary between municipalities. One is stricter than the other.

Cheaper

In San Sebastián, the rules are quite tight. Places of worship have to adhere to the same rules as bars or nightlife venues, Protestante Digital reports. That means that church buildings must have a soundproof design, for example. These adjustments are often expensive and hard to afford for small Evangelical communities that often look for cheaper premises in cities.

The building where the Baptist Church had been meeting has now been closed for worship services. Javier Fernández, one of the church leaders, says that the members of the congregations had already done many renovations to adapt the former mechanical workshop into a church.

All had been well until the Covid pandemic, Protestante Digital writes. After four years of meeting, the police came to the building to examine the premise. At that moment, the church was found to comply with the Corona rules, such as keeping enough distance between members and the mask obligation.

However, after that, the City Council wrote that the venue did not meet the municipality’s requirements, Fernández tells the newspaper. To make the necessary changes, the congregation would have to spend between 30,000 and 50,000 euros on a new entrance, adjustment of the height of the ceiling and a new ventilation system, among other things.

The three or four dozen attendees can never bring up this money. Pleas to the City Council for an alternative were declined. The requirements and the deadline to adjust to them remained the same.

Burden

In addition, the church had to buy the building because the owner wanted to sell it. As they had no good alternative in the city, the church leadership felt obliged to take it over, even though the financial burden is heavy. Combined with the renovations, the congregation must find 200,000 euros to pay for all the expenses. It launched a fundraiser to do so.

Photo: Congregation in San Sebastián. Photo YouTube, Protestante Digital





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UKRAINE: Evangelical pastor arrested by Russians in Mariupol and jailed near Donetsk

Evangelical pastor arrested by Russians in Mariupol

Release International (21.03.2022)- https://bit.ly/3JKf2Vv – Please pray for the pastor of an Evangelical church in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, who has been arrested by Russian forces.

 Alexander Glushko, the pastor of the Mariupol Evangelical Church ‘Light of the World’ was arrested at his home a few days ago. A search was made of his house and a diploma from the Theological Seminary of Ukraine was found. A Release International partner says this is one of the reasons for his arrest.

 ‘According to our information, he has already been taken to the territory previously occupied by Russian troops and placed in a prison in the city of Dokuchaevsk, not far from Donetsk,’ reported our partner.

His family has no further information as to his whereabouts and his wife has no right or opportunity to see her husband.

Another pastor of a church near Mariupol has told our partner that he was blacklisted for arrest but he managed to escape. However, the church building, where the pastor’s family also lived, has been confiscated.

Our partner continued: ‘I believe that many other pastors of evangelical churches in Ukraine, known for their patriotic position, are also included in such a “black list”. This is also fully in line with reports that were published before the invasion of the Russian army that the “physical liquidation of some religious figures in Ukraine” who openly support their government is expected.

Shortly after the conflict in Ukraine began, “Release International” reported on the way Protestant churches in the pro-Russian controlled regions of Ukraine have been subject to restrictions on their freedom in recent years.

Our partner added that many Christians have already fled Mariupol – not only because of the current fighting but because of fears of possible persecution for the Evangelical faith.

Further reading about FORB in Ukraine on HRWF website





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RUSSIA: Russia acts against Evangelical movement with international ties

Russia acts against Evangelical movement with international ties

Omon troops break up conference of Protestant Churches in Ramenskoe and arrest up to 200 participants

Novaya Gazeta (03.12.2021) – In Ramenskoe near Moscow police arrived at a conference of pastors of “New Generation”* protestant churches and arrested up to 200 persons. This was reported by Pastor Albert Ratkin in a video on YouTube.

 

The conference began on 1 December. It involved registered and unregistered religious organizations. According to Ratkin it assembled around 200 persons.

 

He described how in the evening of 2 December, OMON troops with automatic weapons stormed the conference and arrested all of the participants.

 

“They laid them face down, like criminals. They beat some. . . They lay on the cold floor for 40 minutes,” Ratkin quoted one of the detainees. He said the security forces collected personal data from the detainees and fingerprinted them. They also demanded that they acknowledge that “election of new leadership was conducted” at the conference.

 

The pastor reported that the believers “were trying to call Latvia and Ukraine.”

 

In August, the office of prosecutor general declared that four religious organizations, which are linked with those countries, were “undesirable in Russia.” They included the New Generation International Christian Movement, the New Generation Evangelical Christian Church, the Spiritual Board of Evangelical Christians of the New Generation Ukrainian Christian Church, and the Religious Academic Institution of the New Generation International Bible College.

 

The reason for declaring them to be undesirable was the conduct of activity that “represents a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order and to the security of the Russian Federation.”

 

After midnight Ratkin reported that the detainees began being released. Indictments were composed for them, but it is not known what article they were based on.

 

*The “New Generation” church organizations are registered in Latvia and Ukraine, but have been declared undesirable in the R.F. (tr. by PDS, posted 3 December 2021)

 

HRWF Comment: Novaya Gazeta got the 2021 Peace Nobel Prize

RELATED ARTICLE

Security troops storm “New Generation” pastors’ congress in Moscow suburb (REN TV)

 

Photo:Siloviki went down to the congress of the undesirable movement “New Generation” – Ren TV

Further reading about FORB in Russia on HRWF website


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