Sudanese authorities have closed off meeting places of Christian congregations caring for refugee communities in the capital Khartoum. The closure of the churches follows a Ministry of Internal Affairs order issued at the beginning of February to churches serving refugee communities to register by Feb. 15.
“On Friday, March 4, refugee churches that used to meet at the Presbyterian Church compounds in Jerief and Suq Arabi areas have learned that their meeting places have been closed off and sealed with new locks. The Presbyterian Church in Gerief was also closed for services to Sudanese Christians,” a source told us. “At least six churches were unable to conduct their main services on either Friday or Sunday.”
Those refugee congregations in Khartoum that submitted their application by the deadline were told to provide extra information that included:
- The name and address details of the senior pastor.
- Legal documents (Passport/residence permit) for church leaders to stay in Sudan
- Contact details of all church leaders (telephone, email, post boxes)
- Name and address details of church governing bodies/elders, total number of members and their names
- Exact place of meeting
Churches affected by this move include those ministering to refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and the Philippines among others. Pastors earlier expressed concern over this move and said they feared the government would gain a lot of information about their operations yet fail to grant registration the way it happened in neighboring Eritrea.
The government of Sudan has been exerting increasing pressure against Christians in Sudan. Currently they are holding two Christian pastors they arrested in Dec. 2015 incommunicado with no formal charges brought against them. There is mounting concern for the well-being of the two.
Father God, sovereign over the nations, and yet bending Your ear to hear the cry of Your people, we come before You today on behalf of Your church in Khartoum. Satan would use these current circumstances to thwart Your work and oppress those who serve You there, and so we pray for Your intervention in small and miraculous ways, and ask that You equip Your church to be able to continue ministering to believers despite the opposition. Grant courage to church leaders and to other Christians affected by these closures, lifting their eyes from their current suffering to see Christ’s power and sufficiency at work in them. We pray that You will work against division among the Christian community; using their struggle to unite them. Raise them up, Father, to glorify Your name. Grow Your church in number and power, proclaiming to all the world that You have done it. In the name of Jesus, who equips and strengthens His church, Amen.