Open Doors spokesperson Ron Boyd-MacMillan has urged Christians to join them in prayer this weekend for persecuted Christians around the world - warning that life has become much harder for many of them this year.
Ron will be speaking at Standing Strong Online 2020, Open Doors UK & Ireland's annual event for its supporters and others interested. It takes place this Saturday 3rd October (see below for more details).
"2020 hasn't just been the year of Covid-19," said Ron, who is Head of Strategic Research for Open Doors, the charity for persecuted Christians.
"It is the year that much of the world has become a more authoritarian and less tolerant place.
"The Covid-19 emergency has allowed populist and authoritarian heads of state to tighten their grip on power and crush dissenting voices.
"Tragically it is minorities around the world like Christians that are paying the price for this. They need our prayers more than ever."
Ron is one of several Open Doors workers and partners from around the world that will be speaking at Standing Strong this weekend. He will be talking about the situation currently faced by Christians in China.
"The vast church of China – over 100 million people – is having to negotiate a new world in which they are pressured to include pro-Communist party ideology in their messages," he says.
"And they are experiencing such intrusive surveillance it has rendered the term 'underground church' a complete anachronism. Yet they also say, 'If more government officials are listening in, it just increases our audience for the Gospel.'
"It's not just China though. As many secret churches come up to the surface to assist in helping the vulnerable from Covid-19, many governments are cracking down often out of a surprise that there are so many Christians in their society they did not know existed.
"The great growth of the church has been exposed, and this is drawing more trouble for them."
Also taking part will be speakers from the church in Nigeria and Syria. They will be explaining how the church has been responding to the challenge of Covid-19.
As well as worship led by Tim Hughes there will the chance to join thousands of other Christians in prayer for the persecuted church.
"I have met and talked to scores of persecuted Christians from across the globe," says Henrietta Blyth, the CEO of Open Doors UK & Ireland.
"Time and again they thank me for everyone in the UK who is praying for them. It's a huge source of comfort to them, so I urge people to join us online this Saturday."
About Open Doors
Open Doors UK & Ireland is a Christian charity that supports persecuted Christian across the world. They work with local partners to distribute Bibles and other Christian resources, as well as providing support and vocational training to affected communities.
There are currently over 300 million Christians that face the threat or direct reality of persecution for their faith. Open Doors works to raise awareness of their plight and advocate for change.
Standing Strong Online 2020 and how to take part
Standing Strong is an annual event for supporters of the Christian charity Open Doors UK & Ireland. The event is also open to anyone interested in knowing more about the plight of the persecuted church around the world.
When: Saturday 3rd October 2020 19.45-21.30
Admission: Book a free ticket to join the event from your home.
Speakers: Pastor George (Church leader, Syria), Elias (Open Doors partner worker, Syria), Tirham (Trauma counsellor, Nigeria), Suliman (Muslim convert, Nigeria), Ron Boyd-MacMillian (UK, speaking about the church in China)
Worship: Tim Hughes
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