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Photo: CSW
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Anti-persecution charity launches urgent Cuba petition

by Hannah Tooley

The Cuban government is threatening to to confiscate Maranatha Baptist Church's land. Christians are being encouraged to sign the petition, which will be sent to the Cuban embassy but also to the church, to assure them of their global support and prayers.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has called the institution: "a vibrant church facing an uncertain future."

The church has around 1,000 members and has been on the land since 1992, however the land has been owned by the Eastern Baptist Convention of Cuba since 1947.

Kiri Kankhwende is from CSW, and told Premier the government has recently been harassing the church and wants control over the building and services in a move that she has called "intolerable."

She told Premier: "That church has never had trouble with the government before, it's never even had a fine.

"It's just a vibrant growing community that wants to be good Cuban citizens, active in their community and to be able to worship freely."

She added that people can help in a number of ways: "Please stand in solidarity with Maranatha Baptist Church, please pray that the government will not confiscate their land, please also pray that the church will continue growing, and continue its ministry, and lastly we'd urge people to sign our petition which will also tell the Cuban government not to seize the land."

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Kiri Kankhwende here:

The pastor, Pastor Amado Ramirez Oliveros, issued a letter to supporters, thanking people for their help with this cause.

It reads: "Cordial greetings to our brothers and sisters and friends who have stood alongside us in these days.

"I am writing to tell you that we are still in the same situation, in the sense that there has been no statement from the authorities.

"We trust in our God and we hope that the government officials in charge of our case are using these days of silence in order to find a viable alternative that will not in any way involve confiscation."

"The church is growing, the world is conquered, God reigns and His is the earth and its abundance, the world and those in whom He lives."

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