Church re-registration law in Belarus raises concerns

By March 27, 2024

Belarus (MNN) — Churches in Belarus are under pressure today, but not for the first time. 

In early January, Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko signed into effect a new law that the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) swiftly called out as “a setback to religious freedom in Belarus.” 

The law essentially requires all churches to reregister with the government to be an approved religious organization. Read more of USCIRF’s reported concerns here.

SGA works with churches in Belarus, equipping them to proclaim Christ as King. (Photo courtesy of SGA)

“As we have seen in various places across the former Soviet countries, this can be used to shut churches down, if for whatever reason they apply for reregistration and they don’t get it,” Joel Griffith with Slavic Gospel Association says.

“When the Soviet Union first broke apart and the Communist rule came to an end, it was such a unique time in history. You had an awful lot of freedom that broke out, not just across Russia, but Belarus, Kazakhstan, (and) the other Central Asian countries.”

After a number of years went by, Griffiths says they began to see “retrenching” happening in various countries. Church restrictions slowly began to crop up again. 

“I would say even in the last five to 10 years in various places that pressure on the churches (has) really ratcheted up,” he says.

Thus far, SGA’s church partners in Belarus have been able to minister without too much interference, although Griffith says they have to be careful. 

Even so, these pastors are not fazed by this latest piece of legislation — they have gone through much worse challenges before. But they are prayerful, and you can join them in this.

“The prayer (of) the churches in Belarus is that they will be able to go through this re-registration process and be able to continue to function,” Griffith says.

“We certainly need to continue to lift them up in prayer as they navigate this and seek God’s wisdom.”

Learn more about SGA’s ministry in Belarus to help inform your prayers. 




Header photo of church in Belarus is a representative stock photo courtesy of Daniil Yakochovik/Unsplash.

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