Pastor Salah Chalah, who serves as the national leader of the Protestant Church of Algeria, also pastors the largest church in the country. Each week about 800 Christians gather for worship at the Protestant Church of the Full Gospel of Tizi-Ouzou.
On October 15th, Pastor Salah and those of his leadership team received an order that the church building was to be sealed. Authorities state that the church has been practising worship without authorization. According to Pastor Saleh, no such authorization is legally required. Regardless, this church is the only Protestant church in the country officially recognized as a place of worship.
When police arrived to seal the building, members had gathered in worship and praise. "That is our way of opposing your actions," Pastor Saleh respectfully told them. To view video footage of the raid, recorded by church members, go to this page.
The second largest church in the country, located in Makouda, was also closed on the same day, as well as a church consisting of about 100 members in Tafat. Other churches have been informed that they too will be closed soon.
On October 9th, a demonstration was held to draw attention to the numerous church closures in recent months. The order to close these three mentioned churches happened to be issued on the same day, raising suspicions that this action may have been in direct response to the sit-in.
Please remember Pastor Saleh, as well as the other church leaders and members of the sealed churches in prayer, asking the Lord to grant them wisdom and guidance while contemplating the appropriate action to take in light of the authorities' actions. Pray that the government's campaign against the churches of Algeria will cease and that Christians will be free to worship. May these believers demonstrate God's love and grace to the police and others in authority as they interact with them in hopes of resolving the situation.