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Persecuted Christians at risk of attack at Easter
13 April 2017
Following the Palm Sunday atrocities in Egypt, Church leaders around the world are busy preparing for a busy weekend of Easter services. Sadly, in many of the countries on the Open Doors World Watch List people are taking a risk simply by going to church on Easter Sunday.
Christian festivals, particularly Christmas and Easter, are times when extremists target Christians with devastating results. Last Sunday 44 Christians were killed while attending church in Egypt, the year before 69 people were killed and 280 injured as they strolled in Lahore's Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park. Just before Easter 2015 the Christian University in Garissa, Kenya, was attacked leaving 148 dead, and at the same time in 2014 a Christian school in Syria was bombed killing 30 children.
Amidst this backdrop of Easter bloodshed is a message of hope - Christians around the world will not be deterred by these attacks and will continue to worship. In fact in many of the places that are the most dangerous for Christians pastors are seeing their congregations swell.
A Christian lady widowed by extremists in Kenya said: "We will be praying for more and more people to be touched by the Easter message and give their lives to Christ. And we will pray that the killings of pastors and other believers will stop and that it will be safe again in this area, and we will be able to travel without fear."
Pastor Edward, a church leader in Damascus Syria has seen many leave his congregation to live abroad nevertheless, his church is still full as others have joined his flock. He said: "This is the time for the church to help; time to support the refugees. Who else can give hope and spread peace than the Lord?"
A Nigerian pastor who has himself been a victim of persecution said: "Persecution will never separate us from the love of Jesus. Nothing will stop us."
- For protection for our persecuted church family this Easter
- For courage and boldness for believers to continue to shine the light of Christ in their communities
- For comfort for those who mourn and healing for those who have been injured in recent attacks.