One Pastor Fined and another Church's Bank Account Frozen

By Joseph C. DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

MINSK, Belarus (Worthy News)-- A pastor in Belarus was fined for alleged unsanitary conditions at his church's summer Bible school while another church in Minsk must exist without a legal bank account.

Belarusian Pastor Nikolai Borichevsky of Grace of Jesus Pentecostal Church in Krupki, paid a fine of 700,000 Belarusian Roubles for for food served to children at its summer Bible school supposedly under unsanitary conditions.

When health inspector Aleksandr Khodorovich and an official from the Commission for the Affairs of Minors visited the school at lunchtime, he claimed the children were being fed "with food prepared in a domestic setting by persons who did not have access to work with food products" and that "the food was prepared from products which did not have appropriate documents ..."

Khodorovich issued a violation against Borichevsky under Article 16.8 of the Code of Administrative Violations, and the fine was imposed the following day. Although Borichevsky filed an appeal to Krupki District Court, it was rejected.

Last year, local police also raided a Bible school in the nearby town of Ukhvala.

"Many of the children were frightened and stopped coming," said Borichevsky, after head schoolteacher Vladimir Yuzhko warned parents of children attending Bible school that they could be deprived of their custodial rights.

And for more than two months, New Life Pentecostal Church in Minsk, was forced to operate without a legal bank account after it was frozen when two large fines went unpaid.

"By law, all the contributions we receive have to be placed in our bank account by the following day," said church lawyer Sergei Lukanin. "We can't do this."

Paying staff wages and pension contributions is difficult, and some charities the church supports will not accept gifts in cash, he said.

"The church's life and worship continues," said Lukanin, "but administratively things are difficult."


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