As the persecution of Christians continues to rise around the world, Release International is encouraging churches to go All Out For God and stand with persecuted believers.
Release International serves the persecuted church in some 30 nations. Each year, in honour of Christians whose churches have been demolished or who are denied the opportunity to worship, Release International invites churches to go All Out For God.
‘Our aim is to encourage Christians to hold part of their Sunday service in the open air.’ says Release International CEO Paul Robinson. ‘We want to demonstrate our unity with persecuted believers denied a place of worship, who are unable to enjoy the freedoms we have in the UK.’
Release International’s 2022 Persecution Trends report highlighted growing violence and discrimination against Christians in Nigeria, the Sahel, Afghanistan, India and North Korea.
In India religious nationalism is on the rise. Attacks against Christians are increasing and more states are imposing anti-conversion laws – Karnataka is the latest.
In Afghanistan Christians are afraid of being reported by family members or neighbours, and fear violent treatment by the Taliban, who regained control in 2021. A Release International partner received reports of ‘homes being searched and individuals receiving threats’.
In Nigeria, Christians face attacks by Islamist extremists, bandits and Fulani militants. These include kidnappings for ransom. Churches, church leaders and Christian communities remain the primary targets.
On May 12, college student Deborah Samuel was stoned to death and her body burned after an unsubstantiated accusation of blasphemy.
Religious violence is likely to increase in Nigeria and India over the coming year, as both countries prepare for elections.
‘For 2022, we’re asking churches to set aside five minutes to stand in silence and remember their persecuted family,’ says Release International CEO Paul Robinson.
‘We want to honour those who have died for their faith and pray for those who have been bereaved. We want to remember those forced to flee their homes, and believers who are behind bars simply because of their love for Christ. And we want to lift up others who are undergoing unremitting oppression and pray for them.
‘Our five minutes of silence represents our determination to stand up for those who have no voice. We know that this act of solidarity and prayer means a huge amount to those suffering for their faith. Let’s help show them they are not forgotten.’
Release International is asking participants on social media to use the hash tag #AllOut4God to make others aware and share their prayers on the day.
More details are available here
UK-based Release International is active in around 30 countries. It works through partners to prayerfully, pastorally, and practically support the families of Christian martyrs, prisoners of faith and their families, as well as Christians suffering oppression and violence, and Christians forced to flee.