Indonesians build largest Anabaptist church
Government forces a church to closeBy Eastern Mennonite Mission staff
SEMARANG, Indonesia — Indonesian Mennonites have almost finished building the world’s largest Anabaptist church.
The JKI Mennonite conference is constructing what it calls a “holy stadium,” which can seat 12,000 people.
Petrus Agung, lead pastor of the congregation that will use the building, said all required permission documents were obtained from 12 governmental department heads and from the city’s mayor, a Muslim cleric, in just four days.
People felt led by God to give generously to the project. One offering brought in more than $2 million, and the building is being completed without debt.
The church started in 1997 with 25 people. Today it has more than 8,000 in attendance, most of whom are young people.
For a Mennonite congregation elsewhere in Indonesia, the news is not so good. The government and a local Muslim leader have forced it to close.
Adi Walujo, a representative of the GITJ Mennonite conference, requested prayer for the church.
The congregation was told to “go somewhere else to worship your God,” Walujo said, speaking at the May 20-21 annual meeting in Jakarta of the International Missions Association, a group of Anabaptist mission agencies.
GITJ is the largest and oldest Indonesian Mennonite conference, born out of Dutch Mennonite mission efforts about 150 years ago.
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