Friday, November 13, 2009

Update on attack on Sri Lankan church

VOMC partners, the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) released a report today with further details regarding the November 5th attack on the prayer centre of the Jesus Never Fails Good News Centre in Koswatta, Sri Lanka which we reported on earlier. Here is their report:

A mob of about 200 persons surrounded the prayer centre at approximately 12.45 in the afternoon and hurled stones at the building, damaging the building exterior, windows and air conditioning units and the gate. They shouted threats to kill the pastor, accusing him of unethical conversions and demanding he stops conducting healing services. A large protest march led by members of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) including some of their party M.P. monks preceded the violent attack.

The protest and the attack were a reaction to the death of two women who were brought to an open air healing service conducted by the pastor of the church on the 31st of October 2009, at the Vihara Mahadevi Park in Colombo. A spokesman for the church said the women came of their own free will, seeking divine healing and they died on admission to hospital and not at the healing service. 

Police were called in to stop the attack but were unable to prevent damage to the building. No arrests have been made so far. The prayer centre suspended services AND meetings due to fear of further attacks and threats issued to members of the church. Video footage of the attack on the church were televised by several local TV stations.

Pastor Joseph is a respected member of the community and the prayer centre has been there for a considerable period of time, coexisting harmoniously with the local Buddhist temple. According to members of the church, the local Temple had no part in the attack.

Ven. Athureliye Rathana Thero M.P. and leader of the JHU Parliamentary group on the 6th speaking in Parliament denied the JHU's involvement in the attack, but called for the arrest of the pastor and urged the Anti-Conversion Bill to be made law.

Remember Sri Lanka’s Christians in your prayers.  Feel free to post a pray on their behalf on our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall.

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