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03 October 2011

Alliance director takes part in persecuted church vigil

Alliance director takes part in persecuted church vigil

Following news that a pastor in Iran was to be executed imminently, a 'lock-in' event led by Open Doors, this weekend highlighting persecuted Christians in the Church was more relevant than ever.

On Friday night, Alliance executive director of churches in mission Krish Kandiah along with other leaders, spent the night in a cell to raise awareness as part of Open Door's Blackout campaign.

Together with the US government and other Christians globally, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the foreign secretary William Hague had called for the release of Pastor Nadarkhani in Iran last week.

Tweeting from the cell, Krish wrote of the stories of the persecuted Church that the group was hearing about. Times of prayer were held over different situations around the world including those in the Middle East.

Said Jonny Goodchild from Open Doors: "We were locked in a metal cage from 8pm 'til 8am and we were able to talk live with a church leader in Egypt about how the ongoing revolution is affecting the church. We were also taken on a journey around the Middle East, hearing heartbreaking and inspirational testimonies. 

"There were opportunities to respond in prayer for the persecuted church, and we also took communion in the style of a Muslim Background Believer, and wrote some letters to persecuted Christians."

Chief executive of Open Doors Eddie Lyle led the group in reflections with the Alliance's Krish Kandiah tweeting: "Listening to stories of the persecuted Church with @Eddie_Lyle…It's cold on the floor - Lord bless those who live with this everyday for your name" #lockin http://yfrog.com/nxiiglj

Andy Frost from Share Jesus International also tweeted of the lock in: "We follow the victorious king and the sacrificial servant - powerful stories from persecuted Church inside cell. #lockin

The group also heard of how the churches despite being persecuted and not able to preach to people outside invite people in. One church in the country has been helping to feed 5,000 families for the last few months.

There were stark reminders of what Christians imprisoned experience with Krish also tweeting:
"Christians in prison with walls caked in excrement - would wash the cells of others prisoners before doing their own" #lockin

The group was also able to reflect on what the persecuted Church could teach us in the West with Krish reflecting: "The New Testament was written by persecuted Christians for persecuted Christians… We need the persecuted church as much as they need us."

Added Jonny Goodchild: "It was a profund and insightful night, hearing stories from our suffering family around the world. A stark reminder that the worldwide church is one body and we all have a part to play."

  • The lock-in was to support a 'blackout' event involving young people and youth groups will be held for 48 hours on 6 November.
  • For video resources and more information www.blackout.opendoorsuk.org For more on how to get involved in the young people's media blackout see here