enero 12, 2006

Prayer for Cuban churches: Pentecostal Church of Alamar and Baptist Church of El Recreo in Guantanamo.



Dear Friends,

Thank you for your continued prayers on behalf of the Yamaniguey Baptist Church in Cuba. CSW has learned that the church has not yet been demolished; however the threat is still very real. Local authorities told church leaders that they did not know where the order for demolition had come from, and thus far have not carried it out. This may mean it was a decision made at a higher or more central government level. Please continue to pray for the pastors and members of this church.
We would also like to ask you to pray for the pastors and congregations of two other churches that have suffered similar fates. We are concerned that this signals a new wave of repression of religious freedom in Cuba following the issuing of strict new directives on house churches in 2005. It is possible that more churches in Cuba have met the same fate but because of security concerns related to communication it is impossible to confirm reports of other cases.
Pentecostal Church of Alamar.
En la foto pueden verse los miembros
 de la congregación de la Iglesias recién destruida,en
Alamar, reunidos en el área donde
 estaba su templo.
In December 2005 the Pentecostal Church of Alamar, a suburb of Havana, was destroyed by Cuban authorities as members of the congregation looked on. The church was built a number of months ago in Zone 5 of Alamar, near the home of the pastor, Harold Ibáñez. The construction of the church was completed two months ago.
The church is part of the Worldwide Pentecostal Conference and does not belong to the government sanctioned Cuba Council of Churches (CCC). Photos of the destruction were taken clandestinely and smuggled out of Cuba and clearly show government officials and police overseeing the demolition while local Christians look on.
Church members, along with members of other local congregations in Alamar who have joined with them in solidarity, have continued to meet at the site for worship and prayer.
Baptist Church El Recreo, Guantánamo.
Members of the Baptist Church of El Recreo, which met on a private farm (also called El Recreo); between the cities of Jaragua de Santa María and Nibujón, in the municipality of Baracoa, in Guantánamo Province, were forcibly ejected from their church in August 2005 by the Political Police and the State Department of Housing.
The contents of the church were thrown out into the street and members were told that they faced arrest and imprisonment if they complained or resisted.
The church building, which had been constructed by members of the church, was confiscated and it appears that the authorities are now attempting to convert it into a school, leading the local church leaders to believe that this was actually the true motive behind its confiscation.
Christian leaders have asked for pressure to be placed on the Cuban government to return the church to the congregation and to allow them to continue to use it as a "House of Prayer."
The Baptist Church of El Recreo is part of the Guantánamo Provincial Baptist Convention, which is part of the Eastern Baptist Convention of Churches and is not part of the CCC.
• Please pray for the protection of the leaders and members of all of these churches.
• Praise God for the courage and unity of the Christians of Alamar in standing with members of the Pentecostal Church. Pray for increased inter-denominational unity within the Church in Cuba as they face renewed government opposition.
• Please pray for wisdom and discernment for Church leaders in Cuba as they decide how to respond to government repression.
• Pray for the return of the El Recreo Church to its congregation, protection for the Yamaniguey Baptist Church, and that the Pentecostal Church of Alamar would receive authorization to rebuild their church.
• Pray that the Cuban government would reconsider its new policies on religious freedom and would realize that the house church movement does not pose a political threat.
Thank you,
Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Advocacy Team. January 12, 2006
For more information, please contact Richard Chilvers, Communications Manager at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on 020 8329 0045 or email richard.chilvers@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk .CSW is a human rights organization which specializes in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.
En la foto de la derecha pueden verse los miembros de la congregación de la Iglesias recién destruida,en Alamar, reunidos en el área donde estaba su templo.