» 10/03/2007 VIETNAM Hanoi officially recognises Baptists and Mennonites Representative from the North American Eastern Mennonite Missions attends ceremony held in Ho Chi Minh City. Committee for Religious Affairs deputy chief praises government new religious policy.
Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Baptists and Mennonites received yesterday a certificate authorising them to practice their religion in a ceremony in which the Deputy Chief of the Committee for Religious Affairs, Nguyen Thanh Xuan, praised the government’s religious policy, the unofficial Vietnam News reported.
According to Xuan, since the government adopted the Ordinance on Beliefs and Religions two years ago 500 religious establishments have opened their doors whilst thousands of others have undergone renovations. More than a thousand clergymen of different faiths have been ordained, and more than a thousand religious books with millions of copies have been published, including more than 500,000 copies of the Bible.
During his intervention nothing was said however about the ongoing harassment of the members of the Unified Buddhist Church.
Pastor Gerry Keener from the North American Eastern Mennonite Missions, who represented the Mennonite World Conference at the ceremony, said that in Vietnam religions have not met any obstacle in their development for the past few years.
Pastor Nguyen Quang Trung, provisional president of the Vietnam Mennonite Church, quoted his Church’s motto: “Living the Gospel, worshipping God, and serving the nation.”
For his part Pastor Nguyen Thong, provisional president of the Baptist Church in Vietnam, said that since his Church was established in 1989 it has attracted more than 18,400 followers with 500 ministers, practising in 135 congregations in 23 cities and provinces throughout the country.