Sunday, April 12, 2009

Protestant church in Banmethuot destroyed

Government authorities destroyed a historical protestant church building in Banmethuot March 11, just hours after assuring Evangelical Church of Vietnam (South) (ECVN) officials that they would not do so. The church building had been in disuse for many years, as it was confiscated by officials after the change of regimes in 1975. However, ECVN leaders had been pressing the government to return the church to them. According to Compass, it “was the last remaining church building of the Ede ethnic minority, who make up most of Dak Lak’s 135,000 believers.”

In a meeting convened March 20, the church’s governing board of 22 members condemned the action:

“Numerous times the Executive Council of our church has petitioned the government concerning our many confiscated properties… Most regrettably, not only have the petitions not been satisfactorily dealt with, but on the night of March 11, 2009, officials of Dak Lak province demolished the last remaining Ede church at Gate One in Banmethuot City.

“The Executive Council of the ECVN(S) is extremely upset and in deep sympathy with the 135,000 believers in Dak Lak province. We hereby urgently notify all churches in our fellowship. We are deeply saddened by these events.”

A similar event took place last December when another protestant church, Vietnam Good News Church, an unregistered group, was destroyed in Dak Lak province, in this case the official justification was that it was built with illegally cut lumber.

Source: Compass direct news, April 10.


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