04/09/2012 Indonesia (Jakarta Globe) – After years of holding Sunday services on the roadside in front of its sealed church, amid intimidation by hard-line Islamic groups, the congregation of the Yasmin GKI church in Bogor celebrated Easter mass at the home of one of its members.
“We are constantly having to change our location because our existence appears to be unwanted, and we have to hide so that we are not intimidated by intolerant groups,” Yasmin spokesman Bona Sigalingging said.
On Sunday, the congregation held its Easter service at a home in the Bogor Country residential complex.
Bona said the congregation agreed to hold its religious service in secret, moving from one location to another, for the safety of the congregation.
“Before that, we had hoped for help from the police, but after the many attacks on members of the congregation, we see that the police are also involved in this,” Bona said.
He said the congregation used to coordinate with the police on where it would hold its services, but services were constantly interrupted by groups of Muslim hard-liners.
The congregation felt that it had no choice.
“Therefore, we are secretive in where we hold our worship service,” Bona said. “This is all for the sake of the safety of the members of our congregation.”
Gomar Gultom, the secretary general of the Indonesian Council of Churches (PGI), attended the service to show his support for the Yasmin church. He said that holding the service in secret and in a house was an example how tolerance was weakly enforced in Indonesia.