We have reports that another 60 members (in addition to the 100+) of the underground Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, were arrested in the recent raid of the Protestant congregation and the intensifying and widespread crackdown on the church in China.
This time, the arrests took place at a riverside park where congregation members met for worship when they were banned from their church building. Reportedly, they were arrested and taken away during the gathering. Several other Christians who met at a separate location in the field of a nearby university were also taken by police.
A church member not wanting to be identified told BBC News that the lock on the church was broken, some of the churchgoers’ homes were ransacked, and a number of believers were “under house arrest or are followed all the time.” The church building is being guarded by police and plain-clothes officers, not allowing anyone to enter, the church member added.
Police have reportedly been attempting to force churchgoers to pledge to leave the church.
Throughout the widely publicized raid, deep statements of faith and conviction have emerged from both arrested Pastor Wang Yi (he wrote an open letter urging Christians to stand against persecution from the Chinese regime) and members who continue to post on social media. A recent prayer on Early Rain’s Facebook page reads:
“Lord, today we worship you in police cars. We worship you in police stations. We worship you in detention centers. We worship you in prisons. And we worship you in homes. We have no other goal except to worship you alone. We ride in buses heading to police stations as though riding down the road to Zion. For you tell us, Lord, that you are seeking worshipers who worship you in spirit and in truth.
“May you be pleased with our worship. We have nothing to offer you but our hearts. We offer them up sincerely to you now.
“Wherever I am, whatever I meet, I will follow your will forever.”