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United Brethren is currently on blog sabbatical.

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.”

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Anonymous said ... (November 11, 2005 2:21 PM) 

Incredible. Thank you very much for these snapshots of the Saints. 

Posted by J. Stapley


Anonymous said ... (November 11, 2005 9:07 PM) 

Thanks, Sahar. I've loved reading your posts. My husband and I spent about a year in the Middle East, mostly in Cairo and Jerusalem, but also in Amman and Irbid. It was quite an experience going to church in those cities. 

Posted by Amira


Anonymous said ... (November 11, 2005 10:47 PM) 

i would like to see religious freedom in the church of saint sohia in constandenopules open to bazintine christians.  

Posted by Ansdrew lukkas


Anonymous said ... (November 12, 2005 3:16 AM) 

This is very interesting. I lived in Izmir from 1994 to 1996 and attended the Ismir branch. The membership slowly got smaller and smaller, and when I left, they closed the branch. There was one Turkish member at the time but he had been inactive for the last year I lived there. Our membership consisted of about 25+ members at its height, but the active members were always about half that, and then some of those were children. We met in the schoolroom of the Dept. of Defense School there. We had to get permission to attend and enter too. The Saints there certainly had their challenges, but I'll never forget attending the baptism of one of the little girls when she turned 8. We all drove out to a beautiful spot on the Aegean Sea, had the Baptism (in the cold waters!), and then a lovely picnic on the beach. Truly wonderful! 

Posted by meems


Anonymous said ... (November 12, 2005 8:29 AM) 

If someone could persuade Sahar to post on a regular basis, she would make a great permablogger. 

Posted by danithew


Anonymous said ... (November 12, 2005 8:52 AM) 

Thanks, everyone. I will make sure Sahar reads your comments.


Posted by Ronan


Anonymous said ... (November 12, 2005 12:38 PM) 

Sahar and Ronan, many thanks. 

Posted by Mark IV


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