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As protests continue in Hong Kong in a fight for greater democracy, many churches are keeping off the streets and praying instead. Thousands of people in Hong Kong have been protesting for weeks for their ‘five demands’ including the end to the extradition bill, which has been dropped, but would have allowed Hong Kong criminals who committed a crime in China to be extradited there, compromising Hong Kong’s autonomous agreement with China.  The bill has been declared ‘dead’ by Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam but the protests encapsulate a greater theme of Hong Kong people wanting more of a say over their laws.

Having started over three months ago, the pro-democracy demonstrations have turned more dangerous recently, with a teenager being shot and protesters defying a new law not to wear masks.  Karen Chu, a Christian student in Hong Kong said: “When there’s demonstrations going on, the best thing to do is just stay home.”  Karen has not been involved in the protests but said: “At the beginning there were quite a lot of Christians going out and singing the song ‘Sing Hallelujah to the Lord’, but recently there has been a lot more violence and so most of the Christians have not been going out and doing those things.

“Some people have escalated their protest actions, but most Christians have decided things have become too violent and illegal and they don’t want to take part in it.  We still have a lot of prayer meetings and a lot of different churches have called for fasting.”  When asked what Christians can pray for, she replied: “I am fed-up with the demonstrations.  I understand that people are frustrated but I just want to see things go back to normal.  “There is a lot of fear and anger and hatred going on and I guess just pray for peace and pray for more understanding, and pray for the police because their jobs are hard and people hate them.”

Ming Lai Cheung, director of C3 Church Hong Kong said “We’re praying that people will fix their eyes upon Christ.  What we are seeing is that many people are putting their trust in government, in money or in different political systems, but we truly believe that only one person can give people hope and that’s Jesus Christ.  So, we are praying for the city and for the people, we pray for the leaders to have wisdom, we pray for those in authority and we also pray that God will come and help us.”  C3 Church Hong Kong recently announced that all their Sunday services, including all youth groups and connect groups, would be cancelled due to the trains being affected.

She said: “It’s actually quite intense, it’s been going on for more than 100 days.  If you talk to local people here, everyone is getting very emotional and people are losing friendships and relationships within families because people just have very different opinions.  It’s all very heated and over the weekend we always have to look at the schedule of the protests.  People who want to avoid the clashes will actually sometimes just have to stay home because it could be happening in their district.”  One church, Every Nation Church in Hong Kong, decided to broadcast its service online this weekend because they expected it to be difficult for some members to get there.

Another Church asked people to make alternative travel arrangements due to two nearby stations being closed.  Ming Lai Cheung said that the church sympathised with the protests in the beginning when they were more peaceful but the situation has evolved and there is more violence now and it’s impossible to know how long the situation will last and play out, but it is an opportunity for the church to point people to Christ and to true freedom.”  She recommended people pray the verses in 1 Timothy 2:1-6 saying: “We pray for the government and we pray for those in authority, so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives, marked with godliness and dignity.”

Source: Premier News Service