Hundreds of people broke into a Sri Lankan church earlier this march to threaten a pastor and force him to stop holding worship services.
A pastor at Mercy Gate Chapel in Sri Lanka was threatened by up to 600 people who marked into the church earlier this month, warning him of his death if he refused to stop worship service. Police arrived to control the crowd but up to 60 Buddhist monks remained at the church, insisting that it was illegitimate.
Christian World Outreach's Rajeeve Sathianathan reported that in the southern regions of Sri Lanka, most of the Sinhalese ethnic group are Buddhist, while those in the northern parts are mostly Hindus. He added that the country is home to almost 40,000 villages, most of which are the venues for religious persecution.
CWO spoke with pastors in southern Sri Lanka in the hopes of starting a ministry there. One of the pastors the group spoke to was mentored by the pastor of Mercy Gate Chapel. The group now works in the northern part of the country, where in 2021 they began adopting one of the villages. In the village, the people were considered by Sri Lankan culture to be a lower caste.
"What we are doing is we are doing building relationships with them. And the way we are building relationships is by meeting their needs first," Sathianathan explained. "We are doing charity work and taking care of elderly women who don't have any help from anybody else."
Sathianathan added, "Also, we are helping young kids with school. We use the opportunity to build relationships with their families. We are living out the Gospel."
According to Mission Network News, CWO cannot simply walk into the village and preach about Jesus. They have to start with building relationships before they could say that they are bringing aid in Jesus' name.
In other parts of Sri Lanka, Christians commemorated the third anniversary of the Easter Sunday bombings. According to International Christian Concern, not much has been done to deliver justice to the perpatrators of the bombings.
Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Ranjith has been leading the call for justice and believes that the Sri Lankan government is inept and "are covering for each other's cronies." He is now calling for the international community to support Christians in Sri Lanka and apply pressure on the government to launch a proper investigation that would yield results.
The Easter Sunday bombings were initially blamed on local terrorist organizations, but Cardinal Ranjith beleives that ISIS and Sri Lankan government officials were involved in the attack. He has a theory that the attack was in fact more than what the Sri Lankan government led the public to believe, as evidenced by them distancing themselves from the attack.
"We don't know what truly happened, we have to find answers," Cardinal Ranjith urged. "The first impression of this massacre was that it was purely the work of a few Islamic extremists. However, subsequent investigations indicate that this massacre was part of a grand political plot."
For almost three years now, four judges, three expert committees,a nd two separate commissions have been investigating the incident. The result was a report that recommended banning Islamic extremist organizations, but failed to cite the influence of the Hindu or Buddhist organizations.
On March 7, the cardinal spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Council and made his case, asking for international support to bring to justice the perpetrators of the attack that killed 267 people.