The church of St George is being renovated, with all necessary building permits in place. However, on August 26 there was a confrontation between local Muslims and Christian residents. In subsequent days a mob of Muslims blocked all roads into the village, demanding that work on the church building be stopped.
On September 2 a meeting was held involving the church leaders, local Muslim leaders and representatives of the security forces. The church leaders agreed to forgo the construction of the spire and external cross on the building in order to maintain communal harmony.
However, the following week there were further threats against the church as mobs of Muslims demanded that the domes be removed from the church building's roof structure. A further meeting failed to agree a way forward.
Muslims have stated that the whole church building will be dismantled following noon prayers on Friday, September 16, unless the domes are taken down. Community leaders are pleased that the security forces are present and endeavouring to maintain law and order. However, they are concerned that they will have insufficient resources to handle the large crowds of Muslims expected to be present in the area on Friday.
- Pray that the situation in Merinab will be defused and the church building work continue as planned.
- Pray that Christians in Merinab will know the presence and peace of Jesus, and the daily guiding wisdom of the Spirit.
- Pray there will be effective government action to address sectarian pressures against church building projects.
- Ask the Lord that all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him.