23 April 2019
Prayers for the victims of the bombings in Sri Lanka
Joint Statement by the Bishops of Colombo and Kurunagala of the Church of Ceylon
We are terribly shocked and deeply saddened by the barbarous acts of violence brought on innocent worshippers, children, women and men at Easter Sunday services at St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade, St. Sebastien’s Church, Negombo and Zion Church, Batticaloa., as well as on several hotels in Colombo targeting visitors to our country.
The Church of Ceylon unreservedly condemns these cowardly and cruel acts of terrorism and we offer our deep condolences to the families and friends of the over one hundred persons who have lost their lives and those who have been hurt. We wish all those who have been injured full recovery. We pray for them and their families that God’s comforting presence will continue to be with them through this tragic experience.
We call on the government to institute quick action to investigate thoroughly these incidents and to bring the perpetrators to justice., to ensure the safety of places of religious worship and to prevent any individuals or group taking the law into their hands or provoking acts of intimidation or violence against any community or group.
We call on all Sri Lankans to be mindful at this time and to act with patience and understanding. We ask for the continued support of all security and emergency services in ensuring public peace and in providing care for the affected the motives of those twisted and warped minds who planned and executed such appalling acts could very well be to destabilize the country and to cause damage to the unity and harmony of our nation.
We pray that these persons, whoever they may be, will be awakened to the awfulness of their crime.
We pray we will be able to journey through this dark phase of our country. May the Peace of the Risen Christ who on the cross prayed for forgiveness be with you all.
Rt. Revd. Dhiloraj Canagasabey Rt. Revd. Keerthisiri Fernando
Bishop of Colombo Bishop of Kurunegala
Bishop of Kurunagala,
Church of Ceylon,
STATEMENT OF THE NATIONAL CHRISTIAN COUNCIL OF SRI LANKA ON THE BOMB ATTACKS ON ‘EASTER SUNDAY’
The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) along with her constituencies views the bomb attacks which began in the morning hours on ‘Easter Sunday’ 21 April 2019 with shock, disgust and horror.
The said attack targeting the ‘faithful’ at worship in Churches celebrating ‘Easter Sunday’ commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ and ‘guests’ in Hotels has claimed around 260 human lives and inflicting injuries to well over 400 men, women and children, including severe damages to property and buildings.
The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) expresses its deep sorrow and sadness at the cruel and inhuman act and offers its condolences and prayers for the families of the bereaved and for speedy recovery of the ‘injured’.
‘Life’, we believe is God-oriented and any attempt to destroy such right to life with violence by any person or group deserves outright condemnation as an act of brutal insanity and impervious to reason.
In the midst of destruction, terror and chaos that reigned, we commend the decisive action initiated by the State in maintaining law and order preventing further damage and suffering, and for the committed services of the ‘health sector’ in the care and treatment of the injured.
Finally, in the ensuing time of confusion and disaster and as we stand in solidarity with the afflicted, we also call upon all people to be calm and act with restraint, offering all support and assistance towards the investigations that are being carried out with necessary action there-to.
22nd April 2019
Rev. Heshan De Silva, Chairperson of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka, and President, Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya
Rt. Rev. D.R. Canagasabey –Bishop of Colombo, Church of Ceylon, Diocese of Colombo
Rt. Rev. Keerthisiri Fernando – Bishop of the Church of Ceylon , Diocese of Kurunegala
Rev. Saman Perera President, Presbytery of Lanka
Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel S. Thiagarajah, Bishop of Jaffna Diocese, Church of South India
Rev. Asiri P. Perera, President/Bishop, Methodist Church of Sri Lanka
Rev. Shirley Faber, President, Christian Reformed Church
Lft. Colonel Suresh Pawar ,Territorial Commander, The Salvation Army
Rev. G. Nadarajah, President, Lanka Lutheran Church
Rev. Michael Dissanayake, General Superintendent and Chairman, Assemblies of God of Ceylon
Rev. Leslie Keegal, President, Church of the Four Square Gospel Church in Sri Lanka.
Rev. T. Thevanesan, President, Church of the American Ceylon Mission
Rev. Maxwell Doss, General Secretary, National Christian Council of Sri Lanka
FROM DEATH TO LIFE
A Reflection on The Easter Sunday bombings
Bishop Duleep de Chickera
The tragedy of Good Friday returned on Easter Sunday when death suddenly struck scores of Christians celebrating the Festival of Life, yesterday.
Our condolences and continuing compassion must be extended to those whose loved ones were snatched away or injured, in places considered safe. Our sorrow and compassion should also specially encircle the families of all those visitors to our country who were killed and injured. We are deeply sorry at your loss in our land of hospitality.
Work for the people
The abrupt termination of Easter Day services on the advice of the police, was a strong reminder that our work is not yet finished. The solemn rising of the people to move out in their twos and threes, somewhat symbolized that this unfinished work now lies with the people of our country.
This is because our legislators are no longer able to steer our common destiny with responsibility. Most are simply unable to anticipate conflict and work for the common good; they have been immersed in self-interest for too long. Few can offer empathy to the victims of these crimes and even fewer have the ability to call the nation to engage in introspection, the need of the hour. The predictably emerging blame game, along with the typical public exploitation of human suffering, is ample evidence of this bankruptcy.
The potential of the people
The spontaneous response of medical and para- medical personnel, the police and armed forces and general public, in assisting the injured and the dying, is to be commended. This behavior is a sacred sign of the immense potential our people have, to cross boundaries and heal wounds. It also indicates that we reach our highest human stature when we move beyond the invasion of political party agendas. We are to consequently prevent legislators from stealing our integrity to further their devious ends, in our work of nation building.
A day of national mourning and reflection
These heinous crimes must be condemned in the name of our common humanity. But with the condemnation we are to counter the intentions of the perpetrators who seek blood for blood. The declaration of a day of national mourning and reflection, will help us rise to this task. If on this day people of diverse religious and secular persuasions will publicly gather to demonstrate solidarity with the grieved and ask what went wrong, our actions will be stronger than the intentions of the perpetrators.
If out of this crisis we will even now, read the signs of the times and come together to form continuing people’s movements to build social trust and assert dialogue as the best method of resolving our differences, we will then rise to a new life out of the ashes of the Easter Sunday bombings.
With peace and blessings to all
Message of support from the President & Vice-President of the Methodist Conference in Britain
Michaela and Bala, The President and Vice President of the Methodist Conference were deeply saddened by the news of the bombings in Sri Lanka. This is Bala's country of birth and these atrocities affect us both deeply and seem especially cruel on Easter Day.
As Christians worldwide rejoice on the day of resurrection, we also mourn for all who have lost their lives in churches and hotels today. We offer prayers and send greetings to our sisters and brothers in the Methodist Church, Christians and and all people of faith and good will in Sri Lanka.
We call for respect to be accorded to all religions, their worship and their festivals and we commend the ongoing, respectful work of the congress of religions and the NCC. All religions oppose the taking of innocent lives and we affirm the work of local inter faith groups in promoting positive action based on our shared values.
We invite all people of faith to speak out against violence, be it name-calling and stone-throwing as in Anuradhapura last week or senseless bombing as on Easter Day in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa.
Methodists have contributed to the building of a caring, healthy and educated society in Sri Lanka for over 200 years. It pains us to see attempts to force change through acts of violence against innocent people. We therefore commit ourselves to continuing support for peacebuilding and reconciliation whenever and wherever we can.
A prayer for the people of Sri Lanka, written by Steve Pearce, Partnership Co-ordinator for Asia and the Pacific, Global Relationships of the Methodist Church.
Creator God, who loves peace and concord,
We bring before you the people of Sri Lanka.
Just as your Son suffered betrayal and agony on Good Friday,
They have faced brutality and violence on Easter Day.
May the church and hotel communities who have faced attack, find reassurance and healing;
May the bereaved friends and families, find consolation after tears,
May those who believe terrorism changes things, discover the power of love and hope.
Loving God, who hates nothing you have made,
We bring before you the divisions we have created,
Ethnic, religious, national, class and many more.
May we be hopeful rather than harsh,
May we avoid the barbed word in favour of affirming phrases,
May we offer a smiling eye rather than an uncaring glance.
Compassionate God, who brings healing and peace for all,
Look now on the bereaved, the injured and the fearful in Sri Lanka.
We pray in the name of Jesus, friend and companion.