Christians in Sri Lanka worship outdoors after Buddhist radicals destroyed their church

January 22, 2017 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Sri Lanka, January 19, 2017: A small Christian community in Sri Lanka is not giving up on their worship services even after a gang of Buddhist radicals destroyed their church last week.

“No attack can stop us. We shall continue to love God and pray under a tree,” church leader Kamal Wasantha told Asia News.

Wasantha, a farmer, said their prayer hall was destroyed by Buddhist thugs headed by a local monk. But he said despite this act of cruelty, they do not harbour any ill will towards them.

“We have not cursed them,” Wasantha said, “and shall not attack them in retaliation. Judgment belongs only to God. We do our part: prayers shall continue under a tree.”

They called their small church the Kithu Sevana, which means House of Christ. It is situated in Paharaiya, a village in north-western Sri Lanka. Around 15 families and 20 other worshippers attend weekly to pray and worship God.

Rev. Ranjan Palitha, who comes every week from Chilaw to help Wasantha, as well as Adrian De Vissar, celebrate the liturgy and lead the prayers every Sunday and Friday mornings.

On Jan. 5, their quiet church came under attack. “First, they threatened us verbally,” Wasantha said. “Then they came with wooden sticks, iron bars and knives and destroyed everything.”

People “begged the attackers not to damage the place of worship,” but “the Lord’s house was pulled down in front of our eyes, as we asked God to forgive them.”

It was not the first time their church was threatened, although it was the first time it faced “proportions of a real disaster.” The church was built over 15 years ago.

Palitha and De Vissar recalled being confronted by the monk on Jan. 1 while they were headed home. “Our car was blocked by the Buddhist monk of Gothamiramaya, who used foul language. He then threatened more serious punishment if we continue to conduct liturgies,” said Palitha.

They decided to file a complaint at the police station in Karuwalagaswewa and likewise warned the Christian community about the threat.

The night of the attack, the police summoned the clergymen together with the monk. Even though 200 witnesses identified the monk and his cohorts, they were eventually freed on bail.

Wasantha knows they might face more persecution in the future, but he said the fire in their hearts to love and honour God will not be diminished by fear.

“I cannot abandon my mission,” he said, “just because of these malicious attacks by people who do not tolerate the ‘great change’ by some families in this village. They do not know the great blessings our community receives through prayer.”

– christian today

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