By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter

An alliance of Christian churches has got the approval of the Qatar government to build a worship centre on a 10,079 square metre lot in the Mesaimeer area.

Beda S Robles, chairman of Evangelical Alliance Churches Qatar (ECAQ) told Gulf Times that the lease for the land was signed on June 24. The lease contract was concluded on October 6, 2013. ECAQ was represented by Robles and Ariel Lapada Archangel at talks with the government.

According to Robles, around 80 churches with more than 8,000 members from different expatriate communities in the country, are affiliated to ECAQ.

He said they are planning to hold a groundbreaking ceremony in September for the construction of a two-storey building, estimated to cost around QR100mn.

While ECAQ is expected to hold fundraising activities, Robles noted that they hoped to apply for a bank loan once the Ministry of Interior's General Directorate of Civil Defence approved the site plan.

“I believe it will take more than three years to construct the building which will have a number of function rooms for various activities, meetings and church services,” he said . “Part of our plan is to launch a website for ECAQ.”

The building will have a main hall for major church events and gatherings, offices and a basement parking.

Member churches hold a number of activities attended by a large number of people regularly. One of the biggest gatherings was the sixth Family Day held in 2013.

Robles thanked HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani for giving them a piece of land to build the church.

He also thanked the Filipino community in Doha, Philippine embassy officials and former ambassador Crescente Relacion, who had worked hard to get the approval from the Qatar government.

“Relacion has been helping us untiringly since the start (in 2008) and we are deeply grateful to him,” Robles said.

With a permanent building in Mesaimeer, he expressed confidence that church members in Qatar will be united in faith.

The first church at the Religious Complex in Mesaimeer was opened in 2008. More churches belonging to different Christian denominations were opened later at the complex. Most of the Christians in Qatar come from India, the Philippines, Africa, South America, Lebanon and Europe .

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