Church Demolished, Christians Forced Into “Truce” With Animists

(Compass) Quechua-speaking villagers in Bolivia are living under an uneasy truce two months after an irate mob destroyed the sole evangelical church in their remote Andean community. On March 9, town officials in Chucarasi signed an accord with members of the local Church of God that obliges the evangelicals to “respect” traditional animist customs in return for the right to continue holding worship services in the community. However, the congregation is not allowed to rebuild its demolished chapel. A special commission composed of police, military and judiciary officials, along with representatives of the ecumenical association Churches United, hammered out the agreement during day-long negotiations with Chucarasi townspeople. Due to community pressure, three of the evangelicals declared their intention to return to animist practice, church planter Gregorio Coned told Compass. But the majority of the 36-member congregation remains firm in their faith. “We declared in the meeting that, although we might die for it, we are going to follow Christ,” Conde said.

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