A Christian human rights group is calling Christians to pray for two churches in Cuba that are being persecuted by authorities.
U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that the Pentecostal Church of Alamar and the Baptist Church of El Recreo in Guantanamo have experienced attacks and threats from the government.
The Pentecostal Church of Alamar, located in the suburb of Havana, was demolished by Cuban authorities last month after having completed construction two months earlier, reported CSW. The church was part of the Worldwide Pentecostal Conference and does not belong to the government sanctioned Cuba Council of Churches (CCC).
Despite the destruction of the church building, however, church members along with members of other local congregations in Alamar have continued to meet at the site of the church to worship and pray.
Meanwhile, members of the Baptist Church of El Recreo, whose church had previously been raided in August 2005, had their member-constructed church building recently confiscated. Sources have informed CSW that the authorities seem to be attempting to convert the building into a school, leading the local church leaders to believe that this was actually the true motive behind its confiscation.
During the August 2005 raid, the Political Police and the State Department of Housing and thrown church contents into the street and threatened members with arrest and imprisonment if they complained or resisted.
The Baptist church is a part of the Guantanamo Provincial Baptist Convention, which is part of the Eastern Baptist Convention of Churches and is not part of the CCC. Church members met on a private farm (also called El Recreo) between the cities of Jaragua de Santa Maria and Nibujon, in the municipality of Baracoa, in Guantanamo Province.
Christian leaders asked that pressure be placed on the Cuban government to return the church to the congregation and allow them to continue to use it as a House of Prayer, CSW reported.
The U.K.-based human rights organization, meanwhile, has asked the community to:
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, and pray for increased inter-denominational unity within the Church in Cuba as they face renewed government opposition;
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; and
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.