Sharon fellowship Church had been worshipping in Avaneeswaram, a small village located on Kunnicode-Pathanapuram road in Kollam district, Kerala. The Church had been congregating at a rented place for the past 20 years. Pastor I. Yohanan had besn pastoring this Church for the past 2 years.
Separately, an independent Church under Pastor Purushothaman was also gathering in the same area in a rented place, and had started construction process of their own Church. Learning about their plans, local religious fundamentalists submitted a petition to the Collector, compelling him to issue orders to stop the construction of the Church.
A Vijayan Pillai is the main source of consternation. Earlier, he had stopped the Independent Church from worshipping. Now, he has done the same to Sharon Fellowship Church, who ultimately vacated from the house church where they had gathered for the last 20 long years. The House Owner who is a Hindu, had no objection the Church gathering on his property, but Vijayan Pillai along with a few other fanatics are spreading the communal venom and creating unnecessary tensions and senseless conflicts, which is affecting the whole community.
Sharon Fellowship Church have now shifted to a new location in the same area. They had their 1st service on 11th March. The meeting started at 10.30 am and during the reading of the Psalms, Vijayan Pillai trespassed illegally into the House Church and demanded that the worship service be stopped. Shouting abuses, he accused that Pastor Yohanan of converting poor people. The House Owner intervened immediately, coming to the defense of the Pastor. All the congregated believers – around 20 of them, implored with Vijayan Pillai, asking him to stop bothering the Church and to leave the premises. Shouting out threats that he would not allow them to worship the following Sunday, Vijayan Pillai finally left.
Talking to Persecution Relief Pr I. Yohanan said: “I can’t fear man and sit at home without worshiping my Lord who saved me from sin and death; I will continue to do what He has called me for”
He has requested for earnest prayers for the believers who are residents of the area and are intimidated by the threats. Pastor claims that he has never faced such animosity in all his 20 years of ministry.
Pastor Sam Koshy, the Section Head of Sharon Fellowship, expressed concern about the whole situation. He was sad at the aggressive manner the religious fanatics behaved with Christians, who were peaceful and only involved in spreading the light, love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
Church, please pray for all servants of God, to be strong and courageous – to be able to recognize the mighty power of God in every form of discouragement, every setback, every inconvenience, every difficulty, every calamity, every hardship, as they march towards building God’s kingdom.
“No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you” – Deut. 11: 25
2018 Persecution Relief News
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