Sri Lanka: Church attacked, pastor and others injured

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National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL)

Incident Report for prayer
(Week of 1st - 7th July 2008)

Calvary Church
Thalahena, Malabe, Colombo District

On 6th July 2008 (Sunday) around 7.30 in the morning the Pastor and some others entered the Church and noticed that the cross was damaged. Sensing that something was wrong, they notified the Police who arrived and inspected the site.

The worship service commenced at 9.30am with around 100 congregation members. During the service, around 5 Buddhist monks charged in and demanded that the service be stopped. The Pastor led the monks outside to settle the matter so as not to alarm the congregation since children began crying in fear. At the same time, the bells in the surrounding Temples began pealing. It is reported that a false rumour was spread that Christians had attacked the temple, and a mob of about 500 villagers surrounded the Church.

The monks threatened the pastor that there was no need for Christians in the Village and that they will destroy all churches. By this time the Police was alerted and arrived on the scene. However, the three officers were unable to control the unruly mob and called for reinforcement from neighbouring Police Stations. Fearing violence, the Pastor and the Police sent away the congregation. Shortly thereafter the mob including the monks entered the Church and completely destroyed everything within, with only the walls left standing.

The mob turned on the Pastor and 5 workers, beating them with clubs and rods. An eyewitness reports that a Police Office who attempted to shield the Pastor also received blows. At present the Pastor sustained injury to his eye and his father was injured in the arm and were hospitalized for treatment. The others sustained minor injuries.

It is reported that two suspects have been taken into custody in relation to the incident.

On the morning of 7th July 2008, the temple bells pealed once again and it is reported that a large mob gathered at a local temple and made their way to the Police, demanding the release of those arrested.

Please Uphold the Pastor and the others for speedy recovery. Also uphold the Pastor’s wife, there children and members; for Gods protection and wisdom in this situation.

Arson attack on Pastors home
AOG Church, Middeniya
Hambanthota District

On the 3rd July 2008 (Thursday) there was an arson attack on the house of the Pastor while the family slept within. At approximately 1.30 am the Pastor, his wife and two children were woken by the sight and sound of a fire blazing at their front door. According to reports, the fire was started by attackers who ignited tyres at the main door to the house. The family succeeded in putting out the fire together with the Police who were called in, before it caused extensive damage. Quick action to put out the fire helped limit damages and prevented the family being seriously injured or killed in the fire. The family was evacuated to a safe location. The Police recorded a statement from the Pastor.

The Pastor and his family have been under threat and faced continuous pressure during the past weeks (see our earlier reports). They received threats that they will be 'removed' from their home.

Please continue to uphold them and the Church in Middeniya in prayer.