As pressure between Sudan and South Sudan builds, it seems that the church in Khartoum may expect renewed scrutiny and accompanying pressure.
Sudan has stepped up its arrests and deportations of Christians, with interrogation including threats to bury them alive.
Citing stagnant church attendance and an increasing number of abandoned buildings, the Sudanese government announced that it will no longer issue licenses to Christian churches.
President Bashir's announcement of "an atmosphere for freedom" was welcomed by Human Rights Watch, which said "it hoped it would lead to an end to arbitrary detentions and torture under Sudan's strict national security laws."
The Sudanese government's bombing of predominantly Christian, ethnic Nuba civilians in South Kordofan state has taken more lives the first three months of this year – possibly including Muslims.
Sudan's president has pledged to preserve religious freedom in his proposed "100-percent" Islamic constitution, but Christians doubt the prospect in light of increasing persecution.
Having deported scores of foreign Christians and demolished several church buildings in the past few months, Sudan continued ridding the country of Christianity this week by raiding Christian bookshops in Khartoum and arresting Christians.
As one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, John Akunguet Garang hasn't always enjoyed a regular meal or a roof over his head as he does now. Today, Garang has dedicated his life to helping and teaching God's word to Sudanese children. "I've risked my life raising them up and building a nation," he says.
Harassment, violence and arrests of Christians have reportedly intensified since the secession of South Sudan, when Sudan president Omar al Bashir vowed to adopt a stricter version of sharia and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language.
Non-Arab Christians in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains said they feel forgotten after Sudanese air forces killed at least 11 of the faithful in bombings before and after Christmas.
As part of heightened persecution of Christians since South Sudan seceded from Sudan last year, Sudanese authorities have arrested two priests of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Sudan and accused them of baptizing a convert from Islam.
The Sudanese military in the last two weeks has bombed more non-Arab people in largely Christians areas of the Nuba Mountains -- killing three Christians, destroying two relief agency structures and demolishing a Catholic church building, sources said.
The Sudanese government has stepped up bombing of its own non-Arab civilians in Christian areas of Sudan's South Kordofan state the past month, killing a 1-year-old baby and wounding others, sources said.
Amid threats of further losses, classes resumed in October at a Bible school and church compound in Khartoum, Sudan, that Muslim extremists torched in April.
Government bombing of ethnic Nuba civilians in a predominantly Christian town in Sudan's war-torn South Kordofan state last month -- which killed a mother of seven children -- is further evidence that officials are trying to rid the country of Christians, area Christian leaders said.
A major operation by Barnabas Aid to resuce 2,000 Christian women and children trapped in Sudan got underway Sept. 19, with the first successful airlift to South Sudan.
Lopez Lomong, the Team USA runner competing in London's Summer Olympics, was one of Sudan's "lost boys," a former child soldier who spent 10 years of his life in a refugee camp.
After decades of conflict, South Sudan seceded from Sudan on July 9, 2011, prompting an influx of returning refugees seeking freedom and a new life after years of uncertainty. But for many returnees, the happy ending they were seeking has proven more elusive than they had hoped.
Authorities in Khartoum demolished two church buildings last week, days after confiscating three Catholic schools, sources told Compass Direct.
Mohammed Khidir Khalil is fighting to recover his family after his in-laws compelled his wife to claim she was Muslim and divorce him. A Sudanese court granted her custody of their two sons and forbade him to see them.