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New Life Curch - Photo: Ivan Kryukov
New Life Church property in Almaty
Photo: Ivan Kryukov (cc)

On September 17th, a court in the city of Almaty upheld an earlier decision to seize two buildings owned by the New Life Protestant Church. The facilities were being used for worship, as well as a means of support for those suffering from drug and alcohol dependency.

The seizure follows the arrests and convictions of the church's three pastors. In November of last year, they were sentenced to terms of up to five years for allegedly "causing psychological harm" and having involvement in illegal associations (read more). As part of the court ruling, the properties belonging to the church were also confiscated.

Since the seized church properties were not owned by the accused pastors, and as the church had no legal representation in court when the ruling was made, the church intends to file a complaint. In addition, there are plans to appeal the conviction of the pastors, which will have a bearing on the outcome concerning the church properties.

In a separate incident, the Grace Church in Nur-Sultan went to court to challenge the legalities relating to the confiscation of their property, as the government had seized it to make room for a kindergarten (see this page). However, on September 7th, the judge rejected their lawsuit. The church was given one month to file an appeal. For more on the difficulties facing Kazakh Christians, go to our country report.

Pray that the courts will recognize the positive impact these churches have had on their communities and thus rule equitably. Ask the Lord to grant wisdom to the leaders of both churches as they work their way through the legal mazes before them. May the Lord be their "refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble," also ministering in this manner to their families and congregation members (Psalm 46:1). As they await God's vindication, may they seize every opportunity they are given to share their faith with others.

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Country Information

Population
19,245,793 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Kazakh (Qazaq) (68), Russian (19.3), Uzbek (3.2), Ukrainian (1.5), Uighur (1.5), Tatar (1.1), German (1), Other (4.4)

Religion (%)
Muslim (70.2), Christian (26.2), Buddhist (0.1), Other (0.2), Atheist (2.8), Unspecified (0.5)

Leader
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (2019)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system the theory and practice of the Russian Federation
Civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and b

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Kazakhstan

Pray that authorities will cease their harassment of unregistered church communities. Until then, pray believers will effectively minister the gospel despite opposition.

Pray for endurance for those believers facing these challenges.

Pray for the adage “To be a Kazakh is to be a Muslim” to be broken; pray for freedom from historic spiritual bondages and prejudices.

end

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Kazakhstan News

  • Parliament Debates New Religious Restrictions
    Kazakhstan Senate - Photo: Wikipedia / SenateKZ
    Kazakhstan Senate
    Photo: Wikipedia / SenateKZ (cc)

    On October 6th, amendments to Kazakhstan's religious laws were approved by the Parliament and then passed on to the Senate. The legislation added new restrictions to religious events conducted outside a building of worship owned by a registered re

    ...
  • Religious Worshippers Monitored and Fined
    Oral, Kazakhstan - Photo: Wikipedia / Bereshev
    Oral, Kazakhstan
    Photo: Wikipedia / Bereshev (cc)

    Since the beginning of 2021, at least 20 cases have gone to court in Kazakhstan for holding religious meetings without state permission. The fines brought against them varied from three weeks' to four months' average wages. Amendments are also pres

    ...
  • Appeal Fails to Halt Seizures
    New Life Curch - Photo: Ivan Kryukov
    New Life Church property in Almaty
    Photo: Ivan Kryukov (cc)

    On September 17th, a court in the city of Almaty upheld an earlier decision to seize two buildings owned by the New Life Protestant Church. The facilities were being used for worship, as well as a means of support for those suffering from

    ...
  • Church Buildings Confiscated
    Grace Church member praying - Photo: Grace Church via Forum 18 www.forum18.org
    Church member prays outside Grace Church.
    Photo: Grace Church via Forum 18

    City officials in Kazakhstan's capital of Nur-Sultan have ordered the confiscation of the Grace Presbyterian Church building, as well as the place of worship being constructed on the same site for the Agape Pentecostal Church

    ...

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