NEW LEADERSHIP FOR EVANGELICAL CHURCHES IN TURKEY
The Association of Protestant Churches in Turkey (TEK) has chosen a new president and board of directors, reports SAT-7’s Turkish channel, SAT-7 TÜRK.
Pastor Ali Kalkandelen of the Life Family Church in Istanbul was elected as the new president of TEK. The association, which began informally in the 1980s and was formally established in 2009, represents around 150 fellowships – the majority of Evangelical fellowships in Turkey. Mr Kalkandelen replaces Pastor Ihsan Ozbek (Ankara) and will serve in this role for the next three years.
At an induction at Bible House Church in Istanbul, Pastor Kalkandelen said his priorities will be to consolidate the place of Protestant churches in Turkey and to strengthen relations with the nation’s more historic (Orthodox and Catholic) churches.
One task will be to offer legal guidance to churches who have had their street signs, giving directions to their meeting places, unlawfully removed. This has happened on a number of recent occasions. TEK also continues to monitor ongoing problems such as attacks on church properties, occasional threats to individuals and organisations, and misrepresentation and hate speech in parts of the media. These issues were recently published in an annual report on violations of the right to freedom of religion in Turkey.
TEK also elected a new Board of Directors:
- Ramazan Arkan from Antalya Evangelical Church
- PastorVahan İsaoğlu from KUT Church (Kadikoy International Fellowship) Istanbul
- Dr Behnan Konutg, Pastor ofBible House Church
- Soner Tufan, TEK Press Spokesman and one of the pastors of Ankara Liberation Church.
Umut Şahin from Karataş Church in İzmir continues as the General Secretary of TEK.
PRAYER FOR LEADERS
SAT-7 TÜRK Broadcasting Manager, Gökhan Talaş, asked for prayer for the TEK leaders. He said, “These are very sensitive positions and, because these pastors represent many of the Protestant churches, they are always open targets for hostile groups.”
As well as requesting prayer for their safety, Talaş said that Protestant churches need wisdom and God’s help as they grow and seek to register as associations under Turkish law, as “persecution comes in different forms, and as they share the Gospel in an open way”.
BOARD MEMBERS ON SAT-7
Many of the TEK board members are making programs with SAT-7 and several are on the channel’s board. President Ali Kalkandelen is a professional spiritual counsellor who is hosting a series on marriage, while Pastor İsaoğlu plans to present a teaching series giving biblical guidance on the Christian life. Soner Tufan is director of three Christian radio stations and is a partner of SAT-7 TÜRK and an occasional presenter.
“We are supporting these churches, publishing their news, and announcing events,” Talaş said. “SAT-7 is like an open stage for the churches.”
SERVING THE CHURCH
As a satellite TV broadcaster, SAT-7 serves and strengthens relationships across Turkey’s diverse Christian community. With an estimated 110,000 to 160,000 members, Turkey’s churches consist of denominations serving the country’s historic Christian minorities and the Protestant churches that have multiplied mostly since the 1980s.
Please pray for the new leaders of TEK as they serve Turkey’s growing Church and share the Good News of Jesus.