As of the end of May, almost 100 house churches in the central Chinese province of Henan have been shut down. Along with those closures, authorities have taken action against the official Three-Self Patriot Movement churches, demanding that all crosses be removed from their buildings.
According to a member of an official church, after orders were received to remove the crosses, they chose to remove them on their own, rather than face demolition by government crews. "No one dares defy the orders," he stated.
For house churches not yet closed, officials have ordered that any religious decorations be covered or removed. If this is not done, the symbolic emblems will be removed forcibly. Churches have also been forbidden to allow the singing of hymns. Guards are posted at some locations to keep members out, and authorities are not allowing more than five people to meet together at a time without permission.
Since changes were made to the "Regulations for Religious Affairs" in February 2018, the government has tightened its grip on religion. For more reports on the challenges Christians are experiencing in China, go to our China Country Report.
As church members face pressure from governing authorities, pray that they will look to their divine Master for guidance and strength. Also ask the Lord to grant Henan's church leaders wisdom and the ability to stand firm in their faith, despite calls to compromise. May the unwavering faith of these Christians demonstrate the grace of God to all those around them.