The Jakarta Post
After days of public outrage and uncertainty over the sudden closure of three churches in the provincial capital of Jambi due to permit issues, members of the churches' management met with city administration officials to discuss potential relocation.
"We have met with the city administration of Jambi to try to solve the problem. It offered us two options -- either we relocate the churches or we merge them into a single church," said Ojahan Tampubolon, a pastor at the Methodist Church, on Tuesday.
He added that he would reconvene in a week with the pastors of the other two churches -- God's Congregation Church and the Indonesian Huria Christian Church -- to settle on one of the options on offer.
However, each of the administration's options comes with its own caveat.
Ojahan said, on one hand, the churches' management had yet to find a suitable relocation spot. Furthermore, building a church from scratch would require a huge budget and loads of time, he added.
On the other hand, merging multiple churches into one would cause unwanted conflict because churches have their own specific organizational structures, according to Ojahan.
The administration suggested that the churches should be relocated to an area called Simpang Rimbo, which is situated several kilometers from their original location.
The closure of the churches due to permit issues has raised the ire of the public.
The head of the Jambi-based division of the National and Political Unity Office (Kesbangpol), Liphan Pasaribu, said the closure was temporary until the administration and other related parties came up with a solution.
"The churches would be closed down temporarily as we try to solve issues related to building permits," Liphan said on Friday as quoted by tribunnews.com.
According to him, 70 churches in Jambi have yet to receive building permits. (rfa)