Sahar: The Church in Turkey
Sahar's final post is about her life in Turkey (where she is studying for a PhD). One hopes that Turkey--if it really wants EU membership--will improve its religious freedom laws.The Church in Turkey
The church in Turkey consists of 3 branches. The first and main branch is in Istanbul. The membership records of that branch show 30 members, but about 15-20 attend church every Sunday. There is another branch in Adona which has about 30 members. The third branch is in Ankara and this is the branch I have been attending for about a year now.
Our branch in Ankara consists of 15 members. Regular attendance in the branch each Sunday is about 8-10. We have an American family in the branch with two cute girls. We have another American who is here also for a short time. The only family we have who is here on a long time basis is the Kilickaya family who are Turkish. Mehmet Kilickaya was the first Turkish member of the church. He was baptized in Denmark. His wife later joined the church and became the first Turkish person to be baptized by the hands of a Turkish priesthood holder (her husband Mehmet) in Turkey. They are an amazing couple with remarkable conversion stories.
We have had our share of trouble in the Ankara branch. We had a hard time finding a meeting place since it is not legal to meet as a church group in houses. We used to meet in our branch president’s house, but after receiving threats we were forced to find a different meeting place. For now, we meet at the American army base in Ankara, which is not really a perfect place because to enter the base a person needs to obtain permission. So, when a friend of mine says, “I want to come with you to church,” I have to apologize and say: “Sorry I have to get you a permit first.”