Indonesia: Pentecostal congregation allowed to build a church as local official calls for religious tolerance

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A Pentecostal church in Yogyakarta, Indonesia has again been granted permission to build a worship center after a previous construction permit (IMB) was revoked by local authorities in 2019, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. Renewing permission to build a church, the local regent also called for tolerance of other religions in the community.

The Immanuel Sedayu pentecostal church in Yogyakarta’s Bantul had faced hostility from local residents and, in July 2019, the regent of Bantu, H. Suharsono, officially revoked a building permit that had previously been granted. However, the church entered into protracted negotiations with the regent and his staff and, on February 11, Suharsono granted permission for the building of a worship center and was present for the groundbreaking.

“Congratulations on our work together. This morning we have witnessed together the struggle of the Immanuel Pentecostal Church with good fruit,” Suharsono said in a statement during the groundbreaking of the church. Thank you for the help from all parties who have supported the implementation of the plan to build the Emanuel Sedayu Pentecostal Church.“

Notably, Suharsono went on to ask local residents to tolerate other religions: “Don’t disturb other religions for any reason. Let’s pray together that all Bantul residents stay healthy for a long life,” he said.

In a statement, Reverend Tigor Yunus Sitorus of the church expressed gratitude for the regent and his staff: “We are grateful because this morning what was our struggle has come to an end thanks to the support of all parties. We have received input from various parties for the issuance of the GPDI Pentecostal Emanuel Sedayu IMB with the hope that our congregation can unite in supporting the building of this church,” he said.