(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)
Two women praying in the foreground; others behind them, also praying
Ask God to make His comforting presence known to Sri Lankan believers.
Photo: VOMC

In the late afternoon of Sunday, March 6th, a large mob consisting of approximately 600 people, including about 60 Buddhist monks, forced their way into the Mercy Gate Chapel in Amalgama, Sri Lanka. The mob demanded that all religious activities of the church cease immediately and mandated the place of worship be closed. The aggressors also threatened the life of the pastor if he continued to lead worship services. In the midst of the confrontation, one of the church members was injured but released from hospital the next day.

During the incident, around 20 police officers were present, including the Officer in Charge (OIC). The officers informed the monks that there was no legal basis for a forceful closure of the church since that decision would require a legal order. The mob refused to leave, however, and demanded that they be allowed to inspect the interior of the building. After being assured that no damage would be done, the pastor allowed four of the monks to enter the church.

During the inspection, the OIC and accompanying monks questioned the pastor about the Christian activities taking place at the church facility. Following this meeting, the monks informed the mob that it was not a legitimate church. Thankfully, the crowd dispersed shortly after. A police report has since been filed, including a complaint against the mob harassment and the monks who orchestrated the intrusion. At last report, the police are apparently looking into the matter.

Praise God that no damages had been made by the mob to the church building and that limited injuries took place during the volatile gathering. Further, thank Him for intervening by guiding the officers in their attempts to diffuse the anger of the mob. Pray that there will be no more animosity expressed towards the pastor or the church members, allowing these believers to attend worship services in peace.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC supports persecuted Christians who are serving as faithful witnesses for Christ among hostile environments through the provision of Biblical training, legal aid and advocacy, as well as rehabilitation and emergency assistance.

Project Funds: Relief and Development, Legal Defence

Country Information

Population
23,044,123 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Sinhalese (74.9), Sri Lankan Tamil (11.2), Sri Lankan Moors (9.2), Indian Tamil (4.2), other (0.5)

Religion (%)
Buddhism (70.2), Hinduism (12.6), Islam (9.7), Roman Catholic (6.1), Evangelical Christianity (2.0)

Leader
Ranil Wickremesinghe (July 2022)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and Jaffna Tamil customary law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Sri Lanka

Let's unite our hearts in prayer for those in Sri Lanka who are being persecuted for their faith, thanking God for what He is accomplishing despite the opposition. Ask that His people will be encouraged, strengthened and equipped by the promises of the Bible – the Sword of the Spirit – knowing that He is watching over His Word to perform it (Ephesians 6:17; Jeremiah 1:12). May they not only overcome the strategies of the enemy, but also serve as effective witnesses to those in need of eternal salvation and deliverance from spiritual captivity.

end

Select a Region

Sri Lanka News

  • Municipal Authorities Order Demolition of Church
    Scenic view of Anuradhapura District; lake in the foreground, town in the distance
    Anuradhapura District

    The "Jesus Calls You" church in Abepradesa, Anuradhapura District, has been facing repeated harassment from local municipal council members, who claim that the church is unauthorized and therefore operating illegally. On September 23rd, the pastor received a letter ordering tha

    ...
  • Churches Facing Threats of Forcible Closure
    Interior of a small church.
    A church in Sri Lanka.
    Photo: VOM Canada

    In two separate instances, churches in Sri Lanka received demands to close on the pretence that their activities were offensive to their communities. In both cases, legal action has been threatened if they fail to comply.

  • Upheaval Causes Concerns for Churches
    Flowers surrounding a poster saying, ''Pray for Sri Lanka''
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Andreas Schwarzkopf (cc)

    As the nation of Sri Lanka faces its worst political and economic crisis in recent years, life for the common people has been severely impacted. Anti-government protests have led to a crackdown by authorities, introducing restrictive measures to

    ...
  • Christians Ordered to Cease Worship
    Worship service
    Photo: VOMC

    On March 6th, a large mob forced their way into the Mercy Gate Chapel in Amalgama, Sri Lanka, demanding that all religious activities cease immediately. Thankfully, police were able to disperse the crowd without further incident, though Buddhist monks continued to declare that the place

    ...