Officials in Belarus continue to deny church registrations

MINSK, Belarus — The Pentecostal Your Will Be Done Church has felt unable to meet for worship for fear of punishment, as officials have rejected its four registration applications since 2017.

Pastor Vyacheslav Novakovsky said the church wants to comply with the law, but a city official said an order was in place to refuse registration of new religious communities because they were not needed.

In Belarus the state closely controls all public exercise of freedom of religion or belief. Those who meet without state registration risk police raids and fines, and many churches have given up efforts to register. (F18)