26Jul20 Christian News Bulletin

According to Eternity News, the Barna research group reports that 32 per cent of “practising Christians” in the United states have stopped attending church online during the COVID-induced lockdown. They note that a small number of these people may be attending church physically but add “we can, for the most part, confidently interpret this group as those who have dropped out of church for the time being.”

Turkish President Erdoğan has invited Pope Francis to the former Byzantine-era church, Hagia Sophia, after the government was given the go-ahead to convert it into a functioning mosque. News of Erdoğan’s decision to invite a number of special guests to the Hagia reopening comes as officials warn that the historic Christian mosaics and iconography that adorn the walls will be covered up by curtains during times of Islamic prayer. Premier Christian News reports that the move to convert the building to a mosque was condemned by the heads of the Greek Orthodox Church along with many senior clergy across the globe.

Open Doors UK and Ireland told Premier Christian News that it has been “inundated” with reports of Christians worldwide who are being asked to renounce their faith in exchange for emergency Covid-19 aid. Christians from countries including Bangladesh, India, Sudan and Malaysia, say they are facing an ultimatum. A pastor in Western Sudan is quoted as saying, “When Christian converts do ask for help from their Muslim community, they are told they have to give up Christianity if they want to be helped. It is a tragedy.”