Christians in Burma’s former capital of Rangoon find themselves in a precarious state as local authorities on Monday banned the holding of regular church services and threatened to seal off churches if congregations failed to comply.

mizzima: The Kyauktada Township Peace and Development Council on Monday summoned a meeting of local church pastors from leading downtown Rangoon churches and informed them to stop the conduct of worship services in residential apartments.

“They [the authorities] warned us that our churches would be sealed off if we continue worshipping,” said a pastor of a church in Pabedan Township who attended the meeting.

The pastor, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, told Mizzima that nearly 50 church leaders and pastors who attended the meeting were made to sign more than five papers of pledges concerning the cessation of church services.

“The papers also said that we could be punished [and could be jailed] if we fail to obey the order and the church would be sealed off,” the pastor said.

When contacted by Mizzima, an official at the Kyauktada Township Peace and Development Council office confirmed a meeting was held on Monday but declined to further elaborate on the substance of the ensuing dialogue.

However, according to the pastor, authorities sent an invitation to representatives from over 100 churches, mostly located in the downtown Rangoon area, and informed them of the new order. continue http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/1514-rangoons-christians-banned-from-worshiping.html

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