Bursa’s Christians Allowed to Continue to Worship in their Church Building.
In an answer to prayer (see post from 24th February 2016), the local government of the Turkish city of Bursa, and the Directorate General of Foundations, announced that Christians would not be prevented from using the only church building in the city.
On 18th February, the Directorate General of Foundations gave verbal notice to the church leaders that they had only five days to leave, eventually extending the deadline by three more days. However, on 23rd February, they removed the order altogether.
Approximately 200 Christians from four different branches of Christianity share the church for their Sunday worship services. They include Latin Catholic, German Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant fellowships.
Under Turkish law, non-Muslim faith communities face significant legal hurdles in registering an officially sanctioned house of worship, and it is common for multiple congregations to share the same space.
Ismail Kulakcioglu, the pastor of the Protestant congregation, noted that the city government’s original decision to close the church was at odds with its self-proclaimed image as a city of religious tolerance. He already has an appointment to meet with the mayor of Bursa to sign a new protocol for future use of the church building.
- Give thanks for answered prayers, and for permission for the churches to continue to meet in this building.
- Pray for good relationships to continue between the Church leaders in Bursa and the local government.
- Pray for the ongoing witness of Christians in Bursa, and throughout Turkey, to draw many to seek to know the truth about Jesus Christ.
- Pray for protection over Turkish Christians, as they face growing opposition from government and communities.
Psalm 65 vs 1 – 2: “Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion; and to you shall vows be performed, O you who answer prayer!“