China (MNN) — A few months ago, ChinaAid Association learned that the Chinese government had targeted six house churches to be shut down. A week ago, that directive was made evident.
On October 29, 2009, the long-respected Shouwang House Church was denied renewal of its rental contract for office space in Huagie Plaza. It was discovered that the managers had been pressured by both the Public Security Bureau and the Religious Affairs Bureau of Beijing City not to renew the lease.
Since the church no longer had a place to worship, they held their service outside in the snow, joyfully singing to the Lord despite the poor circumstances. Between 800 and 1000 believers showed up for the service. Government officials attempted to stop this meeting, as well, by closing the park in which the service would be held, but the service continued.
This is not the first time the Shouwang House Church has experienced persecution. The church was originally evicted from its location in April and forced to worship outside all summer. Although it may have been not so bad to hold services in the summer weather, the increasingly cold weather is not inviting.
The more troubling issues lie in the fact that the Chinese government is actively shutting down house churches. Christian persecution continues to grow in China; thankfully, so does the church.
Pray that the members of the Shouwang Church would remain strong and would find another place to worship. Pray that the public officials will allow these believers to worship freely and that their hearts would be softened to the Gospel.