11/21/2020 China (International Christian Concern) – A joint prayer network in Beijing has been disbanded by the local government. Many pastors within the network were summoned and asked to shut down their churches.
The “Beijing Ministerial Joint Prayer Network” (hereinafter referred to as, BMJPN) was founded in 2004 by Pastor Jin Mingri from one of the largest house churches in Beijing – Shouwang Church. He has gathered dozens of pastors to regularly pray for Church revival and missions. While it started in Beijing, now there are pastors from different provinces who are actively involved in BMJPN.
Recently the authorities have summoned many pastors who are part of the BMJPN to local religious affairs bureau to receive interrogation. They informed the pastors that BMJPN has not registered with the government, so its activities are considered “illegal religious activities.” They should be banned from preaching online and they were asked to dismiss their churches.
A pastor told Gospel Herald (Hong Kong) that he will not dismiss the BMJPN. He is also prepared to see churches forcibly shut down by the authorities. Many churches have been gathering in smaller groups these days, both due to the pandemic and the increased crackdown.
During the pandemic, China has further tightened its grip on house churches: it first used the excuse of COVID-19 to stop in-person gathering, now not only does it pressure the church to stay closed, it also starts to clamp down on online service and gathering, such as the prayer meetings held by BMJPN.