In Tripoli, held up in the church compound, living under a self-imposed curfew are 2 Anglican clergy connected with ICS serving in the most difficult of situations. Both have now moved in to live in the church and have to stay indoors when night falls. Yet in the midst of such hardship God is blessing the ministry, they have seen 16 West Africans baptised recently.
Intense fighting between rival armed groups and militias has rocked the city of Tripoli in Libya over recent weeks. There has been indiscriminate shelling of urban areas, and according to the Ministry of Health, the fighting has killed 214 and injured 981 in Tripoli and Benghazi. The government in Libya has attempted to issue ceasefire orders, but with no force loyal to the state strong enough to take on the militias on its own and enforce the decisions, the decrees have not had any effect.
Please pray for safety and security for the leaders and congregations of Christ the King Church in Tripoli. The Revd. Ayo, one of the priests, wrote today ‘I was robbed of my phone yesterday evening, but glory be to the Lord for His presence which prevailed over them, because their intention was to take me away’. Revd. Vasihar and Malini continue to serve at the church, as they feel it is important that they are there for the many Indian church members who are still staying in Tripoli and elsewhere. Revd Samuel and Hony were in Egypt when the violence started, and have been asked to remain in Egypt for now. Many Egyptians have left the country, and at the moment there are no Egyptians coming to the church for the Arabic-speaking services.’
Tripoli is a city of just over 2 million people. Perhaps one reason we are unaware of what is happening is that there is just so much happening elsewhere. Eclipsed from the news by tragedies in Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine.
Christianity is a minority religion in Libya. Since Roman times it has always been present in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. ‘As Anglicans we operate openly and with the full knowledge of the host country. Others have been targeted for being Christian. It is not clear what these extremists really want,’ said Roman Catholic Bishop Giovanni Martinelli. ‘They would appear to be shedding the blood of innocent victims to get more visibility. Orthodox Coptic Christians have been their target for some time.’ Islamist groups have blamed Copts as the reason that Egyptians began protesting against the Muslim Brotherhood-led government that was eventually removed from power in July 2013 in Egypt.
The Revd. Richard Bromley
ICS Mission Director
ICS is an international Church of England mission agency to English-speakers who find themselves living, studying, working or holidaying away from home in countries where English is not the main language. We do this by planting and growing international churches and by outreach to tourists through our Seasonal Chaplaincies. ICS’s ministry is to people who speak English – of which there are…Read more