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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.

On August 31st, the pastor of the Assembly of God church in the central Sri Lankan village of Naula received a letter from the Naula Divisional Secretary. The order alleged that the Christians' worship activities were causing "disruption to interreligious harmony." The letter further stated that the church did not have permission to hold worship services and, if their activities continued, legal action would be taken.

On September 23rd, the pastor of the "Jesus Calls You" church in Abepradesa, Anuradhapura District, received a similar letter from the local municipal council. The pastor was accused of conducting unauthorized worship services that were offensive to neighbours in the area. The letter warned that if worship services were not discontinued within 14 days, legal action would be taken against the church. It is presently unknown if this threat was carried through.

Churches in Sri Lanka frequently face opposition, often stirred up by local Buddhist monks within their communities. In some cases, the monks feel threatened by church growth. For more information outlining some of the difficulties encountered by Sri Lanka's Christians, and to read about further incidents of persecution, go to our country report.

Pray that the members of these two churches, as well as believers in other regions of Sri Lanka who are encountering similar acts of hostility, will be free to share the "Good News" of the Gospel with others in their communities. Furthermore, pray that church leaders dealing with resistance will receive God's wisdom and peace as they navigate how to wisely respond to the government-sanctioned opposition.

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.

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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

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  • 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

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