WorldWatch: Updates on the Global Church

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Read below or click the play button for this week's stories affecting the global church.

Approved Church in China Destroyed

Chinese police destroyed a government-approved church in Jiangsu Province's Yangcheng City just days before Christmas.

The sanctuary is all that remains of Chegnan Christian Church after it was demolished on Dec. 17.

The China Aid Association said government officials and police officers led a mob of nearly 1,000 people in the attack. They destroyed the structure housing the church offices, training center and cafeteria.

Officials are apparently in collusion with businessmen who want to build commercial housing units on the land, CAA said.

The church was officially established with government's approval in 1999. It bought the property in 2003 and completed the building in 2005.

Extremist Group Possibly Linked to Ugandan Church Burning

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ugandan rebels reportedly burned down a church as people prayed inside.

There's no word on how many died in the attack, which took place in the eastern town of Tora.

A Ugandan army spokesperson told the Associated Press the Lord's Resistance Army is responsible.

The group is led by Joseph Kony and has fought the Ugandan government for 20 years. It also carries out attacks in neighboring countries.

The LRA is accused of killing more than 600 people and abducting more than 160 children in Congo since Christmas.

Imprisoned Christians Dieing in Eritrea

Three Christians imprisoned in Eritrea have died in their captivity since October.

Compass Direct News reports two of the men died in a special military prison built with the express purpose of punishing Christians.

Eight Christians have died while imprisoned for their faith in the east African country.

In 2002, the government outlawed most Protestant Christian churches, forcing them to close and pushing thousands of believers underground.

About 2,900 evangelicals have been imprisoned for practicing their faith.

Officials Investigate Church Collapse

Investigators in Sao Paulo, Brazil, are looking into the cause of a church roof collapse that left nine people dead this week.

More than 100 people were injured when the roof caved in at the Reborn in Christ Church between services on Sunday.

People living nearby said they heard a huge crash and then a cloud of dust covered the neighborhood.

"There were many people that were hurt and they were everywhere trying to leave the building by any means," a resident said. "It wasn't a pleasant scenario. Even a nurse is not prepared to witness such a thing and no one wants to."

The church attracts thousands of worshippers every week, and it claims more than 2 million members worldwide.

Church founders Sonia and Estevam Hernandes issued a statement saying they were devastated by the collapse.

The two are currently on probation in the U.S. after pleading guilty to smuggling 56,000 into the country.

They are also under investigation in Brazil for their financial dealings.

Investigations Begin in Roof Collapse in Colombia

An auditorium roof collapsed at the International Charismatic Mission in Bogotá, Colombia, best known for introducing the G-12 discipleship methods.

One person died and three were seriously wounded in the accident.

Construction workers were remodeling the church to prepare for their International Congress the end of January.

Authorities have closed the auditorium while they investigate what caused the roof to collapse.

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