Eastern Jerusalem Church Forced to Close After Years of Islamist Harassment
JNS.org – An Evangelical Christian church in eastern Jerusalem was forced to close following years of harassment and intimidation by Islamists, a Palestinian pastor said.
The Calvary Baptist Church—which is affiliated with the Evangelical Christian Holy Land Missions organization—was forced to move out of its building in July after Islamists threatened its landlord. The congregation is currently looking for a new building.
The church, which was located in the predominantly Muslim eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, is trying to raise $3.5 million to purchase a new building.
“We can’t get a loan because we don’t own anything in Israel,” Holy Land Missions’ Pastor Steven Khoury told Morning Star News. “By faith we are asking the Lord to help us raise $3.5 million. We’ve been able to raise about $700,000 so far.”
According to Khoury, the persecution of Calvary Baptist congregants started shortly after the church opened in 2007. Among the attacks were a congregant being threatened with a knife, a Molotov cocktail being tossed at the building, and vehicles and even children being harassed at church functions.
“These were all spread out over a two- or three-year period, to let us know that we were not welcome there,” Khoury said.
Holy Land Missions has been forced to close churches elsewhere, including in Beit Hanina in 2006.