*** DEBUG END ***

World news in brief

21 December 2018


Holy night: riot police stand watch in front of a nativity scene in Budapest last week, during large anti-government protests. See gallery for more picture stories from around the world

Holy night: riot police stand watch in front of a nativity scene in Budapest last week, during large anti-government protests. See gallery for more pi...


China cracks down on unregistered churches

DOZENS of leaders and members of churches in China have been detained and accused of “inciting subversion”, during a crackdown by the authorities. Both the Early Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan and the Rongguili Church in Guangzhou were shut down this week after raids. Both churches were technically illegal because they were not registered, although they attracted thousands of worshippers each week. Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said that the charges of subversion were politically motivated. “The increasing arrest, detention, and harassment of religious groups in China stand in sharp contrast to the government’s claim that it protects religious freedom for its citizens.”


UN calls for calm ahead of DRC vote

DAYS before a long-delayed presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations has condemned a series of violent incidents in which police and security forces have shot at and killed protesters and opposition activists. “It is essential that the authorities ensure that the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fully protected, and that they take all possible measures to prevent violence,” a spokeswoman for the High Commissioner on Human Rights said. On several occasions, the police and army had used force against those running against the ruling party’s candidate, she said.


Bishops draw attention to plight of West Papua

A COALITION of bishops and Primates from the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have demanded that governments across the Pacific hold Indonesia to account for the “state-sanctioned abuse and violation of human rights” in West Papua, a province of the multi-island nation. West Papua was absorbed into Indonesia in the 1960s. The bishops’ statement accused the Indonesian government of suppressing West Papuans’ right to self-determination. Churches in the region should also stand with their “brothers and sisters” in the province, and draw attention to both ethnic violence and destruction of the environment, the statement said.


UN invited into Rakhine

THE UN’s development programme and its refugee agency have received permission from Myanmar’s government to begin work on community projects in Rakhine, the province from which 750,000 mostly Muslim Rohingya people have fled from government-backed violence and persecution. Small-scale initiatives will focus on improving livelihoods and rebuilding social cohesion between communities, the UN said. In the longer-term, the two UN agencies intend to create the conditions for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to return home, although many are still fearful of renewed oppression by the Burmese authorities.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events


Church Times/RSCM: 

Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE


Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available


Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Church Times/Canterbury Press:

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

Early bird tickets available



Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)