The pastor of Bursa Protestant Church in Bursa in north-west Turkey has requested prayer following the issue of an official order for the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox congregations to vacate the church building they share for Sunday meetings.
On 18th February, an official from the Directorate-General of Foundations informed those using the historical church building that they would have to vacate the premises before Tuesday 23rd March. In a later telephone conversation the congregations were given until Friday 26th March to leave.
The building, known locally as “The French Church”, was built in the 1880s as part of a larger complex and is the only recognised place of Christian worship in Bursa, a city of nearly two million inhabitants.
After the building was restored in 2004, the Bursa Municipality agreed to allow the building to be used by the Christian community as a place of worship. It is regularly used by a total of about 200 people from four different congregations: German Catholic, Latin Catholic, Orthodox and Turkish Protestant.
Last year, the Christian community submitted a routine application to renew their permit to use the building for religious purposes. The application was received positively at first, but later an element within the city council opposed the renewal of the licence.
Christians in Bursa are thankful that the national press and local citizens have expressed their support for the church and, this week, church officials will be engaging in discussions with both the city council, who can grant use of the building for religious purposes, and the Directorate-General of Foundations, which owns the property.
They request prayer for:
- The discussions with officials to be positive and the Christian community permitted to continue to use the building
- Those in the municipality who are causing difficulties, that they will have a change of heart.
- Stronger ties between the different congregations through this time, and that this will have a positive impact on the city.
- The media to continue to report positively and support the use of the building by the Christian community.
1 Timothy 2 vs 1 – 2: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity“