The Sudanese government has returned ownership of 19 properties to the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC), two years after it confiscated them – praise God!
The land-ownership documents were handed back on Monday 24 September. In August a Sudanese court ruled against the government and ordered that administration of properties be returned to the church body and that the case against five SCOC church leaders be dropped.
The surprise verdict followed a long-standing dispute between the government and SCOC over ownership of the denomination’s properties, after the Ministry of Religious Affairs set up a rival land and buildings committee and charged it with the administration of SCOC’s property.
Thank you for your prayers for our church family in Sudan and for this case – we have seen some of our prayers answered this week.
15 August 2018: Sudan: Shock as court rules in favour of church leaders
31 July 2018: Sudan: Defiant pastors will not 'pray according to government decisions'
Persecution in Sudan
Sudan is fourth on the 2018 Open Doors World Watch List of the 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution. A recent report from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) highlighted that ‘that there is no religious freedom’ in Sudan and that the Sudanese government is guilty of ‘discreet and systematic acts of persecution’.
For Sudanese Christians this means a constant struggle to get permission to build churches or even to prove that they own the churches which have already been built. It means seeing your property seized and demolished, the land sold off to investors. It means being arrested and detained, often without charge. And even for those brave pastors who successfully challenge these actions in the courts, pastors told USCIRF that ‘even when they have success in civil court cases, there is no change, and the decisions are ignored’.
Let’s pray that this recent court decision is the start of a change for our church family in Sudan, and that the opposition faced by churches and their leaders will soon come to an end. Pray also that this result will bring encouragement to our Sudanese brothers and sisters, and for strength and boldness for them as they continue to stand for Christ.
Your support is changing lives
Through partnerships with the local church, Open Doors equips church leaders in Sudan for different aspects of ministry, supports community development, and provides practical assistance to persecuted Christians. This includes literature distribution projects, theological and discipleship training and trauma care training, training to help believers to stand firm through persecution, and community development projects.
Watch this short video to see the incredible impact of your support and prayers for our church family in Sudan:
£20 can provide food aid to a hungry family in Africa for two weeks, to help them survive.