Rev. Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director of the Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and General Secretary of the National Christian Evangelical Alliance in Sri Lanka (NCEASL), was conferred the national honorary title of “Deshamanya” by the government of Sri Lanka.
The title which means "Pride of the Nation" is the second highest national honor awarded for highly meritorious service. Rev. Yogarajah was presented the award in honor of his work in human rights, religious freedom and humanitarian aid in Sri Lanka.
Rev. Godfrey Yogarajah (left) receiving the Deshamanya award.
"I thank God for Godfrey’s faithful and effective ministry that has had such a great impact far beyond the evangelical community, not only in his own country but also around the world," said Bp Efraim Tendero, Secretary General of the WEA, who congratulated Rev. Yogarajah on this national recognition.
"Throughout his many years of leadership at the NCEASL and at our Religious Liberty Commission Godfrey has been an example of a true servant leader. It is my prayer that God will continue to use him as a role model for evangelicals in Sri Lanka and a strong voice on behalf of the persecuted Church."
Rev. Yogarajah who has led the NCEASL for 25 years has championed human rights and religious freedom in Sri Lanka. He was also the visionary behind the launch of the NCEASL’s relief and development arm, the Alliance Development Trust, an agency that has received commendations from the government for its work in relief, rehabilitation and development.
Through the WEA, Rev. Yogarajah has worked extensively for religious freedom across the world. He has trained persecuted religious minorities and national Evangelical Alliances on religious freedom and human rights, advocated for religious freedom at institutions such as the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States state department and met with governments to advance religious freedom in restricted nations.
Rev. Yogarajah is also the recipient of the 'Good Samaritan Award' (2004) for religious freedom, presented by Advocates International and the 'Pro Fide Award' (2005) presented by the 'Friends of the Martyrs' in Finland for his contribution to the rights of minorities.
Upon receiving the award, Rev. Yogarajah said: "I think many times we leaders reap the harvest of the hard labor of our staff. The honor is due to their exemplary work. I believe this honor will give greater visibility and credibility to the country's evangelicals who have long been denied state recognition."
The NCEASL, WEA's member body in Sri Lanka, stated that "it means a great deal for evangelicals, who are a marginalized and persecuted minority, to have one of their most senior leaders honored by the state. As such, the award is a symbol of encouragement and recognition for evangelical Christians in Sri Lanka. Moreover, it also illustrates the impact and contribution made by evangelicals to the life of our nation."
To learn more about WEA's Religious Liberty Commission, visit Worldea.org/rlc
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Over two billion Christians in the world today are represented by three world church bodies. The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is one of those, serving and representing more than 600 million evangelicals. Launched in 1846 to unite evangelicals worldwide, the WEA continues to be a dynamic movement with 7 regional and 129 national Evangelical Alliances, and over 150 member organizations. WEA's mission is to speak as a trusted voice, to equip members and leaders for global impact and to connect its members and others for common action in the furtherance of God’s reign. For more info e-mail at [email protected] or go to Worldea.org.