The Donghu Church in Xining received official approval from authorities in 2003, and has been operating as a government-approved Three-Self Church by meeting the legal requirements. With more than 300 members, it is the oldest and largest church in the district. Yet, despite its official status, the church has still faced opposition from authorities.
In December 2017, the fire department closed the church building, citing that there was a "hidden danger." While that closure was later suspended, the church purchased a new building early the following year. However, as the government did not approve of the new building, the church was forced to gather elsewhere. The congregants then began meeting in the Donghu Hotel. This move was also opposed and, in early December 2019, the fire department sealed the church door.
Despite this most recent closure, more than 200 of the remaining church members continued to meet by climbing through a window into the building. On Christmas Day, however, the power was cut off to the building in the middle of the service, leaving the people in the dark. The church has now received a formal notice of immediate closure, including a statement that the building will be demolished. This opposition demonstrates the ongoing efforts of the Chinese government to shut down the churches, even those having government approval. For more information, go to our China Country Report.
Remember these believers in your prayers as they face this season of difficulty and uncertainty. Pray that they will discover new opportunities to worship together and reach out in their communities with the Gospel message. May the authorities working to oppose the churches realize that they are fighting against the 'eternal God of the universe' and, as a result of this awareness, turn in humility and repentance to Him.