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Qatar approves construction of first Evangelical church in Doha
July 6, 2015, 12:25 pm
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ECAQ chairman Beda S Robles (left) receives the lease contract from a government official

Plans have been approved to build Doha’s first church for the Evangelical Churches Alliance Qatar (ECAQ), which has about 1,200 members. The Christian denomination group previously used villas and other private homes across Doha for its church services.

However, 59-year-old Filipino expat Beda Robles has orchestrated a seven-year-long campaign to build a proper place of worship for the group.

ECAQ, which has been in existence for 28 years, has approximately 1,200 members from the Phillipines, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. According to a report in Doha News, the group signed a lease for a plot of land several kilometers outside central Doha back in 2013.

However, it was awaiting official government approval before it could start raising money to build the QR100 million ($27.47 million) church.  At the end of last month, Robles heard from Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the plans had been approved.

Robles was quoted as saying: “[The ministry representative told me], ‘I have good news,’ and I just knew. All our years of praying and hoping had come to fruition.” The church will be situated within the district of Mesaimeer’s religious complex, next to the Catholic Church Of Our Lady Of Rosary.

Under the plans, the two-storey facility will cover around 15,000 square metres of space and accommodate up to 6,000 people. It will have 24 worship halls and 24 rooms, catering to different prayer groups under the church, and will aim to be completed within three years, the report reported.

The church will operate as a commercial organisation, Doha Newsreported, and will seek to raise the funding required to build the church and hire staff.

Robles said: “We have a small amount collected now, and we’re hoping to get a start on [constructing the building] with that.

“As for the other money, we’re going to have huge fundraising efforts to bring in donations, and we’re also asking help from other churches in Doha, in the region, and around the world.” Robles thanked the authorities in Qatar for supporting the campaign. “We are so grateful for the help of the Emir and Father Emir for making this happen.

“The government has been very supportive in providing us permissions to hold worship sessions, meetings and other celebrations like our Family Days over the years.” Former Philippines ambassador to Qatar, Crescente Relacion, also played an crucial role in pushing the plans forward, he said.

Source: Arabian Business

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