BELARUS: Harassment and Sentences for New Life Church

29 August 2023

Source: Forum18, New Life Church, VOM Canada

For several years, the New Life Church in Minsk has faced opposition from the government, including the complete destruction of their place of worship on 20 June. That act of destruction, however, did not stop ongoing harassment from government officials.

Each summer, the church organises camps for children. Unfortunately, on 10 July, a bus carrying 50 children overturned on a poorly maintained road. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries or any complaints. Even the state-controlled media published a report blaming the poor road conditions for the accident. However, the next day, the district tax office demanded financial reports from the church, along with any records between the church and the bus company. It is believed that the accident is now being used as an excuse to further harass the church.

On 25 July, the church’s website was blocked by the government without warning. It was discovered that the prosecutor has banned the website for six months, alleging that the church was publishing “extremist” information, along with inciting threats to national security. A hearing regarding this case was scheduled for 25 August.

The government’s opposition continued on 14 August when Pastor Vyacheslav Goncharenko’s house was searched by officers from the Organised Crime and Corruption Department. The pastor, along with his son-in-law, Ilya Budai, who serves as the church’s youth pastor, was arrested. The next day, Pastor Ilya was sentenced to five days’ detention for allegedly waving his arms and swearing at the police – an accusation strongly denied by a witness. The sentencing for Pastor Vyacheslav’s detention was ten days. The authorities gave no explanation for the senior pastor’s arrest, but it is believed that his detention may have been extended in order to keep him from attending the 25 August hearing regarding the alleged publishing of “extremist materials”.

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    Pray for them

    Pray for God's wisdom, endurance and provision on behalf of the church's leadership as they attempt to deal with the multiple recent incidents of harassment.

    May these believers serve as testimonies of His love and grace as they respond in a Christ-like manner to those who stand against them.

    Pray that ongoing ministry opportunities will be presented to the members of the New Life Church so they can share the hope of eternal salvation that's available through Jesus Christ.

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    One response to “BELARUS: Harassment and Sentences for New Life Church”

    1. k and F says:

      Lord we lift up your church in Belarus today. May you work in their situation and help them in their time of persecution. Lord may they continue to be a shining light to those who don’t know you. May they be able to share your Glorious Gospel, despite the fierce opposition, so others may receive salvation. Equip your church Lord in Belarus with every good gift they need from you to prosper. In your mighty name we pray.

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