closing the Indonesia Pentecost Church (Gpdi) in Sumedang, Indonesia, for using
an illegal building permit, authorities arrested the church’s pastor for
forcing others to attend church. The church was built more than 24 years ago,
and it has experienced threats only within the last few months.
church building is a permanent building, and it has been there for more than 24
years,” said Theophilus Belo, director
of Jakarta Christian Communication Forum (FKKJ). “During that time, everything
was going well. But on July this year, this congregation got a problem. Their
church has been closed by local administration.”
Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, a local administrative group threatened to close the
church. The church had previously received a letter urging them to stop
Christian activities, and the district head of Jatinangor in Sumedang, Nandang
Suparman, said the church building had no legal building permit.
today we have not yet received their building permit documentation application,”
Suparman said. “We have checked if they are already submitting it from a
district administrative level. On May this year, if I’m not mistaken, we sent
them a letter to urge them to start applying for their building permit. We are
already giving them a chance to start applying, but they don’t do it.”
urged the church to move its services into a church building belonging to the
Institute of Public Administration (IPND). “I’ll talk with the leaders of IPND
that this congregation is permitted to use their institute’s church building,”
Indonesian Christian organization Kabar Gereja reports that the IPND cannot
accommodate the congregations of any more closed churches. At least 14 churches
have been relocated to the IPND’s church building.
was put on trial on Oct. 3 at Sumedang Government Court, and he faces up to three
months in prison for forcing others to attend church. The church’s closure adds
to the long list of churches that have been closed by Indonesian authorities.
Other church leaders have also been arrested after their churches closed,
according to Kabar Gereja. According to the FKKJ, at least 30 churches have
been closed or burned in Indonesia in 2011.
contacts, Kabar Gereja
Posted: October 12, 2011