Christian persecution continues as civil war rages – Sri Lanka

On 25 March, a pastor and a church worker sustained serious injuries when they were attacked by a man armed with a machete in North Western Province. While no arrests have been made, local Christians suspect the assailant has previously attacked the church’s caretaker. Many church members have been too frightened to meet together for worship as a result. On Wednesday 8 April, a group of Buddhist militants gathered outside the home of Pastor Kumara in Weeraketiya, Hambanthota district, threatening to kill him if he did not leave the village by the morning. Although the police arrested the leader of the group, he was released the following day, and it has been reported that a petition has since been sent to the Ministry of Religious Affairs to force closure of the church. Worship services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday were suspended and Pastor Kumara’s family have been moved to a new location for their safety. These incidents are the latest in a series of attacks against churches and Christians, who have been subjected to violence, murder of clergy, harassment and intimidation, often initiated by locals who condemn the growth of Christianity in the country. In addition, four pastors are reported to have been killed in late April, caught in the crossfire of the ongoing conflict between the government and the Tamil Tigers. • Pray for protection for Pastor Kumara and his family; pray that those threatening his family will come to repentance and salvation in the Lord. • Pray that Christians will have the courage to keep meeting together in Sri Lanka despite the anti-Christian violence and for protection of all our brothers and sisters, especially those in positions of leadership.

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