This is a church Hervin Fushekati pastors, (in addition to his main church in Tirana). It is located in the shanty town of Bathore, where many of the poor and Roma people live in huts or poorly constructed houses alongside the river. Following a men’s Alpha course there are now around 7-10 men who attend church regularly, whereas initially it consisted of women and children only.
The church has reached out to the Roma community and Hervin reports: “Praise be to the Lord that the usual racial issues are not an issue in our church – the people more and more are identifying with Christ and see themselves as one family.”
The main challenges in the church involve poverty and persecution:
Poverty – the unemployment situation is so desperate that some church members have had no alternative other than collecting and selling recyclable items from rubbish bins in order to live. In addition, the government has plans to build a recreational park alongside the river, which may involve knocking down the flimsy homes put up there, forcing people to relocate. This worry is hanging over many in Riverbank Church.
Persecution – there is opposition from some of the Muslims in the area. The church building’s landlord has faced pressure from neighbours to kick the Christians out of his building. Also, some church members living in the area, such as the lady who leads the women’s work, have been intimidated.
- Pray for the people whose homes may be threatened by the park development plans, that they will not find themselves homeless.
- Pray for wisdom for the church if they need to adapt their discipleship work to people being relocated. Pray that the discipleship will not be disrupted and that new meetings can take place wherever people may be moved.
- Pray for God’s protection for those facing intimidation. Ask God to enable His church in Bathore to continue to be a witness there.
(Photo: Hervin Fushekati, Tirana, Albania)