Christian funerals are being forbidden in some areas of China, as authorities begin enforcing new regulations to ensure the conducting of so-called "civilized" ceremonies. In the state of Zhejiang, funerals are only allowed to take place in government-approved church buildings. While clergy may be permitted to visit families of the deceased in homes, they are forbidden from conducting any religious ceremonies or services of prayer. If mourners do gather in a home, there can be no more than ten family members reading Scripture or quietly singing hymns.
Similar policies have been adopted elsewhere. In a village of Hunan province, officials threatened to arrest a man unless he conducted a secular funeral for his father. "My father had been a believer for several decades," the grown son explained. "He is persecuted even after death." For more information and reports, indicating an increase of religious restrictions in China, visit our country report.
Remember those who are not only mourning the loss of dear loved ones but now must also contend with these added burdens in the midst of their grief. May the Lord of all comfort minister to each and every one of these grieving believers in meaningful ways, giving them "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding," and divine strength in their time of weakness (2 Corinthians 1:3-4; 12:9; Philippians 4:7). Pray that China's church leaders will have discernment as they determine the best ways to help those under their care.