In May 2019, local authorities informed the Xunsiding Church in Xiamen, China, that they intended to officially close it down. Church members were threatened with the loss of their jobs unless they complied and, on May 19th, dozens of officers, including those of SWAT teams, raided the church service. In the following days, officers remained on site to ensure no one re-entered the facility (see this report for further details).
Such action did not stop the church members, who continued to meet in homes and various rental facilities, even though police repeatedly discovered the locations. On April 17th of this year, police raided one of their services in the Pacific Rim Hotel while they were meeting. More than 100 Christians were detained in a single room and each participant was questioned, identified and photographed before they were finally released.
Another church in China that has experienced repeated harassment is the Early Rain Covenant Church. An extensive crackdown began in December 2018, after which Pastor Wang Yi was sentenced to nine years in prison (review this page). Despite its official closure, the church has continued to minister to believers in any way it can. Because of their faith in Christ, members have faced ongoing provocation. Employers have been pressured to fire them, and some members have even been evicted from their homes. Utilities have also been disconnected in various residences.
Many families have chosen to educate their children outside of the public schools to avoid Communist indoctrination. On April 21st, police raided a tutoring program, detaining 12 adolescents and four adults. Police ignored requests from parents for information on their minor children. All 16 were finally allowed to leave the police station at around 9 o'clock that evening.
Three Christian men living in the neighbourhood were also detained but not permitted release during the time of compiling this report. No reason had been given for their detention.
Continue to prayerfully lift up believers throughout China who are facing ongoing persecution because of their faith in Christ. Ask God to grant wisdom to the overseeing members of these two mentioned churches as they determine the best way to fulfill their mission in caring for the needs of believers, as well as reaching out with the Gospel message to the communities around them. Please also remember to pray for Pastor Wang Yi who remains in prison, asking our Heavenly Father to give him continued strength, hope and opportunities to boldly share his faith.