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No casualties were reported at the Church of Christ Cathedral, near Jakarta. The fire began at 7 a.m. and was successfully extinguished at 11:30 a.m. The cause of the fire is unknown; an official investigation is ongoing.
Riza and Stephanie Casidy, executive pastors of Christ Cathedral, updated the 8,000-member congregation on Instagram LIVE.
Christ Cathedral Indonesia outside Jakarta, where an Easter bombing plot by Islamic terrorists was thwarted, was engulfed in flames Monday morning.
“My hand was just shaking. We pour our heart into this church,” Riza shared, fighting back tears, adding, “God is telling us to think of and take care of others, and when we do so, He will be the one to take care of us.”
The church is raising funds for COVID-19 relief as the nation reports its highest single-day rise since the virus was first detected in early March, Jakarta Globe reports. Southeast Asia’s largest country now has more than 9,000 confirmed cases and at least 765 deaths.
“I don’t want to let something like this stop us from staying true to our vision and our mission,” Stephanie said.
Inside the 8,000-member Christ Cathedral that burned down Monday.
“We’ve always been a church that cares about people outside our church walls. We don’t have a building anymore,” she added. “There’s still people out there who need our help, so we still have to do this.”
Reactions poured in from around the world.
Sean Feucht, Bethel Music worship leader and pastor out of California, preaching at Christ Cathedral in 2019.
Sean Feucht, a Bethel Music worship leader and pastor, recalled the last time he preached in the building, almost exactly one year ago, when a pastor was reportedly imprisoned.
“We have partnered for so many epic gatherings, events and rallies throughout the years,” Feucht wrote. “The Church of the East knows and has walked through persecution and the testing of their faith like we can only imagine.”
He added, “We have so much to learn and receive from them…especially in this season!”
Christ Cathedral, which was founded in 2008, is a part of the Indonesia Bethel Church (GBI) denomination, a group of Christian Pentecostal churches in Indonesia.
In 2011, police thwarted an Islamic terror plot on Easter, uncovering five massive bombs buried beneath a gas pipeline near a Catholic church in the same area as Christ Cathedral. An Indonesian court sentenced an Islamist extremist to 18 years in prison for the terror attempt, according to Reuters.
The most populous Muslim nation is on the 2020 World Watch List from persecution watchdog Open Doors USA and has been battling Muslim extremists since 2002 when al-Qaida-linked militants attacked two nightclubs on Bali island, killing 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.