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Jakarta Post

Hundreds attend Easter services across State Palace as churches remain sealed

  • thejakartapost.com

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, March 27, 2016   /  06:04 pm
Hundreds attend Easter services across State Palace as churches remain sealed Hundreds of congregation members of the sealed Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) Yasmin in Bogor and the Filadelfia Batak Church (HKBP Filadelfia) in Bekasi hold Easter services across the State Palace on Sunday. Singer Glenn Fredly performed in a show of solidarity with parishioners. (Kompas.com/Akhdi Martin Pratama)

Hundreds of parishioners of the Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) Yasmin and the Filadelfia Batak Church (HKBP Filadelfia) held Easter services in front the State Palace on Sunday amid a prolonged dispute over their houses of worship.

"We held services here because our churches are still sealed," GKI Yasmin spokesman Bona Singgalingging said on Sunday as quoted by kompas.com.

Noted singer Glenn Fredly joined parishioners in a show of solidarity. They also handed out Easter eggs to passersby.

The parishioners showed up at the site around 1 p.m. with sunglasses and umbrellas in hand, kompas.com reported. They also brought keyboards to accompany a choir led by priests.

This was not the first time services were held in front of the palace. The congregations of both churches held Christmas services at the same spot, for which they provided an empty seat for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

GKI Yasmin in Bogor and HKBP Filadelfia in Bekasi, both under the West Java administration, have held biweekly joint services outside the palace since 2012 to appeal to the President to intervene in the dispute.  Their churches were sealed by their local administrations amid pressure from hard-line groups.

The Supreme Court had ruled in favor of GKI Yasmin and ordered the Bogor municipality to unseal the church in 2010. However, the Bogor municipality has until now failed to comply with the ruling.

HKBP Filadelfia faced a similar problem in 2010 when the Bekasi administration sealed the land where the church was to be built. The Bandung and Jakarta state administrative courts (PTUN), as well as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of HKBP Filadelfia in 2011 but the church has yet to be unsealed. (rin)

 

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