Megachurch Opens in Muslim-Majority Indonesia

September 20, 2008

Author: Telly Nathalia and Sugita Katyal

Source: Reuters

A multimillion dollar megachurch opened on Saturday in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, with a rousing service attended by some 4,000 people singing hymns and reading from the Bible in Bahasa Indonesia.

Jakarta's grand Katedral Mesias is the brainchild of a Chinese-Indonesian preacher, Stephen Tong, who says the church is aimed at dispelling the misconception that Indonesia is intolerant of minority faiths.

"This proves that there are no restrictions from the Indonesian government to build religious centres," said Tong, a charismatic preacher who founded the Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church in 1989.

"It gives the world a new impression of Indonesia: it is not a messy country or full of troubles."