STATEMENT by Asia Pasific Baptist Federation on Easter Sunday Attack
Sincere greetings in the name of our loving and graious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Yesterday’s bombings, killings and atrocities committed in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka were unimaginable, cowardly and senseless especially on the Day when Christians everywhere celebrated the Resurrection victory of the Lord Jesus Christ over death and the grave resulting in loss of more than 300 lives with another more than 500 injured.
Our hearts grieved for and with Sri Lanka and also our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ and their families. We in the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation stand with our Baptist brothers and sisters as well as Christians in Sri Lanka in this time of great sadness and sorrow.
We offer our sincere prayers, love and condolences to those who have lost loved ones in these terrible acts seeking to destroy the peace and progress of a nation which had already suffered much in the past.
May the peace of God reign and rule in the hearts of the Christians as you pull yourselves together to overcome the shock and may He grant love and forgiveness towards the perpetuators of such heinous acts. We pray that God will grant wisdom to the government to protect the people and restore peace and order in the land.
Even in times like these, God is in control and He knows what He is doing!
Signed : Rev. Edwin Lam - President,
Asia Pacific Baptist Federation
Sri Lanka’s Baptist Christian Community strongly condemns the multiple attacks on church worshippers, tourists, visitors, security personnel and the general public.
Our prayers are for those in hospitals with injuries for a speedy recovery. We express our condolences and prayers for the families whose members have died. All of those who were involved in this type of attacks should be brought to justice.
Today, the whole world is engaged in a war against terrorism where the true battle is in the mindset. It is a lesson that we need to come to terms with that this needs to be addressed in multiple fronts, where many including governments, religious and other organizations and individuals need to play different roles.
It is sad to note that this happened on Easter Sunday where God provided hope and salvation.
We appeal to all to be united for this cause so that those who died did not die in vain, and it is we who are living that have this responsibility. Let not this massive tragic incident be forgotten as a yet another incident of terror.
Signed : Rev.Heshan de Silva - President, Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya
Rev. Heshan De Sliva interviewed By J. Merritt Johnston
Re. Easter Sunday Attack
Re. Easter Sunday Attack
1) How would you characterize the current mental and spiritual state of Christians, and evangelicals in particular? Fearful? Angry? Forgiving?
Many are fearful yet mainline evangelical churches and ministries (Baptist, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Reformed, and the Salvation Army) remain forgiving. Judgment and punishment do not belong to the church. We are called to restore and offer healing.
2) Is there any reason the Zion church might have been significant as a chosen target in the Christian or Protestant communities?
I will not be able to give you a direct answer for this question. Zion Church is one of the biggest churches in the Eastern Province, so it would be expected to have many people in attendance on Easter Sunday.
3) What advice are you and other Christian leaders giving at this time as you shepherd in the aftermath?
We are urging people to be calm and quiet, not to get panicked with all the news they get through social media, and to ask God for wisdom and guidance at this moment. Prayer is the most important tool at this hour, bringing healing and comfort to the affected persons and families. Church premises should be a healing ground.
4) I have noticed that the Associated Press reports how the Archbishop of Colombo has called for those responsible to be punished mercilessly, “because only animals can behave like that.” Would you share his conviction? Moderate it?
No, we condemn this brutal attack, but we do not share his view.
5) Do Protestants have friendly or cooperative relations with Catholics? Are there any joint mourning ceremonies planned, for example?
Yes, we have a very good relationship. This coming Saturday, there will be a joint prayer meeting in the public square.
6) Do you think this attack will strengthen relations with the majority Buddhist community, or cause more tension? What about with Hindus, especially in Tamil areas?
At the moment, we have a very good relationship. There are many Buddhist monks who have issued statement. The interreligious response is very much active.
7) As Muslims have also be targeted as a minority group, how will this development impact your relations with them (whether it emerges that Muslim extremists are responsible, or not)? Have you had good relations with them in the past?
Yes, the Good Friday National Christian Council along with the Methodist Church had a silent protest. This was a protest against the Christian church attacks around the country and for the restoration of religious freedom in the country. There were a lot of Muslim people who participated in this protest, but the majority of Catholic people and Muslims are in tension at the moment.
8) When Sri Lankans convert to Christianity, do they disproportionately come from any particular faith background, or just mirror the national statistics? Are there different dynamics depending if Buddhist/Hindu/Muslim/Catholic?
It depends on the part of the country. There are converts from all faith groups. The minimum is Muslims.
9) Sri Lanka is a historically mixed religious nation. Though tensions have been rising, do they characterize normal life? How serious a threat does this attack pose on national unity?
Yes, it is a multi-religious country. From time to time, there have been some issues, but we have not experienced this kind of brutal act. This is beyond a religious issue and can badly impact our national unity.
10) What would you like American evangelicals to understand, and what would you like us to pray for?
The Protestant mainline church in Sri Lanka is trying to be a mediator for the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical churches. We need God's guidance for this. Please pray for our nation and specially for the bereaved families. Please all pray for national unity.
Dear President Sirisena,
The Baptist World Alliance is a network of 239 member bodies in 125 countries and territories representing 165,000 churches and 47 million individuals. The Asia Pacific Baptist Federation is part of the Baptist World Alliance and brings together 33,000 churches from 60 conventions in 22 countries throughout Asia. Baptists in Sri Lanka are part of a large global network as members of both the Baptist World Alliance and the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation.
As an international Baptist community, we want to express our deep sorrow and condolences in the wake of the horrific bombings that took the lives of more than 350 people and injured hundreds in your country on Easter Sunday.
We are heartbroken at this tragic and senseless violence and loss of life. We pray for you as you lead in the aftermath of this crisis and for all of the Sri Lankan people during this time of fear, grief, and pain. We pray that the God who triumphed over the grave on Easter 2,000 years ago will be a source of strength and hope as you walk through these difficult days.
The Baptist World Alliance has a special connection with Sri Lanka through our member body, the Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya. This union of 32 churches with 6,183 members has been ministering in Sri Lanka for more than 200 years. Although they are a small minority in Sri Lanka, they have been making a positive impact in society through their work among those affected by war and through their evangelical ministries. They stand ready to minister to those who are hurting and experiencing fear following Sunday’s attacks.
Rev. Heshan de Silva, the president of Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya and Chair of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka, is keeping us updated on the situation in your country and informing us how the global Baptist community can best be of support.
In the days ahead, please know that Baptists around the world are praying for protection, peace, and healing for Sri Lanka.
Signed : Rev. Elijah Brown General Secretery and Rev. Dr. Vesekhoyi Tetseo General Secretary, Asia Pacific Baptist Federation
It is with great sadness and sorrow to go through such pain and sufferings on the day our Lord conquered and resurrected from death. May the good Lord forgive those who have caused all unimaginable destruction to the Christian lives and communities around the world.
We, the ABWU family sends our deepest sympathy to all believers in Sri Lanka and have been following closely to the aftermath developments in Sri Lanka. We have been praying daily and will continue to do so.
This tragedy is a test to our faith and we should not cowered to terrorism and avoid church gatherings as that is exactly their main objective
Having said that, human lives and safety are at stake, so we need to pray and seek guidance from our Lord.
Please encourage Sri Lankan’s to fast and pray for this. We will be doing from our end.
May the good Lord bless and protect all the people of Sri Lanka.
Signed : Vernette M M San - President, Asia Baptist Women's Union
- March 2nd, 2019
Worship Dance by Changmy Community Church dance group (From Koria)during Baptist convention held in March 2019