ALGERIAN CHURCH NETWORK CONTINUES TO GROW
The Church in Algeria has steadily been growing for years. Now a landmark has been reached – four new local churches joined the network of the official Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA).
The EPA’s General Assembly voted in favor of the affiliation with four local congregations, bringing the total number of official churches in Algeria to 43. By joining this network, the churches are able to operate more freely and are recognized by the government as religious institutions.
One of the churches that successfully applied for membership is the Aït Ziki branch. Six years ago, a group of Christians from the community started prayer meetings in their homes. Since then, the number of believers has increased to 140 worshippers.
Another church in the area provided Bible training to the leaders of the newly-founded congregation. One of the members donated a plot for the construction of a place of worship. This work is currently underway.
Also, in the town of Mekla, another church was founded. The 70 believers of the group are meeting regularly in the house of one of the members; however, they expect that they will be able to draw more people with a larger worship site.
Another church that entered the national EPA network of churches is located in Aït Ouacif. Up until 2007, a congregation existed there. The group of believers fell apart after the police forced them to end all activities. This was a direct effect of a national law adopted in 2006 that forbids churches to evangelize Muslims.
Since 2011, the situation has calmed down and the 800-1,000 Christians in the region have been organizing worship services in private houses. They are hoping to rent a larger accommodation soon.
Reports of harassment and persecution against Algerian Christians by radical Islamic movements are ongoing. Despite this, the churches in Algeria continue to grow.
EPA was founded nearly 40 years ago. Over the years, many churches have grown in different places, mainly in the north. Today, there are a total of 30,000 to 35,000 Protestants in Algeria. The Catholic Church has around 5,000 members.
The Protestant Church in Algeria is a Muslim Background Believers Church. Conversions from Islam to Christianity take place on a regular base. Though these may be statistically small numbers, there is a movement that could point to signs of a revival, especially in the Kabylia-region. The number of 150 baptisms in one year in one church is just one report to highlight this positive development.
Algeria is ranked #34 on the Open Doors World Watch List (www.worldwatchlist.us) of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.