Java island

In Surabaya, Indonesia: according to sources, Indonesian local authorities broke up a wedding ceremony on Sunday, June 30, and forbade the church from hosting more worship services there.

At the GPdI site in Indonesia, the village head, Eko Budi Santoso, called off a wedding in Mergosari, Tarik District, Sidoarjo Regency, Java Island. Because a building permit was absent, the meeting banned the congregation. Local media reported that those area residents opposed their church.

Reports indicate that the community in the predominantly Muslim nation had no problem with the church using a building that didn’t resemble a traditional church.

According to the news source, Eko and five state officials refused to allow the congregation to complete the wedding and worship. They took Pastor Yoab Setiawan to a roadside stall and explained that they were doing so in response to complaints from the public about the prayer house’s existence and lack of a permit.

The LBH-released video shows Pastor Setiawan warning officials about the possibility of outlawing prostitution in front of the village head office.

Lidya Laviyanti, the pastor’s wife, said, “Sir, we’re not causing any trouble.”

Village head Eko, motioning to the head of the community association and the head of the neighborhood association, says all activities must have permission from the “neighborhood.”

Pastor Setiawan and his wife ask him what activities, and Eko responds, “All activities. Period,” and ends the discussion.

According to International Christian Concern (ICC), Luki Krispriyanto, the Christian Community Guidance Regional Office leader, signed a local government report certificate registering the House of Prayer on December 7, 2023. Eko acknowledged that he was unaware of the certificate.

Celah reports that during a meeting in Mergosari village, the acting regent of Sidoarjo, Subandi, backed the ban at the site but permitted congregation members to worship at home.

Officials at the meeting concluded that the church must get a building permit, which they said they would expedite. They gave a deadline of one month to complete the license.

As Celah mentioned on Tuesday, July 2, Subandi said you can worship at home while waiting for approval. “It doesn’t mean that you may not worship.”

Asserting that residents welcomed the construction of a place of worship and upheld tolerance among religious communities, Subandi suggested the parties build good communication among themselves.

According to, 53-year-old Mulyati, a local, claimed that the congregation’s worship activities did not bother them. Even when hundreds of people attended, the residents welcomed them. Another resident, 25-year-old Agus Febro, said that residents, especially young people, never felt unrest because of the prayer house’s Sunday activities.

Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy chairman of the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, a human rights organization, said the case was “a clear sign of state subordination to the will of intolerant groups.”

“To gain support from the masses, local political constellations and electoral interests push public officials to align with and appease intolerant groups,” Bonar explained to Morning Star News. Despite its apparent violation of the Constitution, they deliberately chose to overlook it.

Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List ranks Indonesia 42nd as the most challenging place to be a Christian.

According to the WWL report, Indonesian society has taken on a more conservative Islamic character, putting churches engaged in evangelistic outreach at risk of attack by Islamic extremist groups.

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By Global Media Express

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