Amman- Heads of five evangelical churches have submitted a legal brief objecting to the memo issued by Judge Mohamad Al Ghazo head of the Appeals court and the head of the Judicial Council. The January 31st memo had called on local courts not to accept any legal requests by Christians who have no ecclesiastical courts and instead turn over such requests to the Council of Church leaders.
The five-page letter objected to “legal” and “material” mistakes in the judge’s memo that stated that “civil courts have no jurisdiction regarding cases of Christians who have no ecclesiastical court.” The objection noted that the memo ignored articles 7,8, & 9 of the Christian denominations law #28 for the year 2014.
In response to erroneous claims that churches that have no ecclesiastical court are churches that are not recognized,
the letter noted the details of evangelical churches dates of registration as follows:
· Christian Evangelical Alliance Church was registered 22/2/1927 as part of the announcement registered in the official gazette # 151 on 1/3/1927.
· Nazarene Evangelical Church was registered 10/1/1951 as part of the announcement registered in the official gazette # 1083 on 23/10/21915
· Free Evangelical Church was registered 22/3/1955 as part of the announcement registered in the official gazette # 1222 on 16/3/1955
· Assemblies of God Church was registered 9/3/1957 as part of the announcement registered in the official gazette # 1339 on 6/7/1957
· Baptist Convention was registered 8/5/1957 as part of the announcement registered in the official gazette # 1339 on 6/7/1957
The evangelical church leaders concluded their letter by saying “the Jordanian legislature didn’t condition the recognition of denomination by having an ecclesiastical court of their own. And since these legal entities have been accomplished and have served their parishes and are duly register according to existing laws and were certified as legal entities in the official gazette which have allowed it to own and deal with property and carry out religious and social services among them issuing wedding certificates, baptismal documentation and prayer over the deceased, therefore we call on you to cancel the January 31st memo that was issued by you that calls on regular courts to abide by the January 26th letter of the Church leaders which is in violation of the relevant laws as stated above.”
Copies of the letter were sent to the office of His Majesty the King and His Highness Prince Ghazi was signed by Rev Bashar Nimat of the Alliance Evangelical Church, Rev Walid Madanat of the Nazarene Evangelical Church, Rev. Hani Nuqul of the Free Evangelical Church, Rev. David Rihani of the Assemblies of God Church and Rev Suheil Madanat of the Jordan Baptist Convention.
In commenting on the letter Rev. Habes Nimat head of the Jordan Evangelical Council (JEC) a coordinating body of the five evangelical churches says that the JEC has been working since 2006 to gain the royal decrees adding the evangelical churches to the Council of Churches and the right to establish an ecclesiastical court to serve its nearly 10,000 Jordanian citizens who are members of these evangelical churches.
Original in Arabic