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THE NEWSLETTER OF

ALLIANCE

NEWS I S S U E

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FEATURE STORY

THE CHURCH AND THE NATION IN CRISIS

In a timely message issued during the constitutional crisis in October 2018, the Chairman of the NCEASL calls on the National Church to look inside before it condemns the government outside.

Rev. M. Dissanayeke Chairman, National Christian Evangelical Alliance Sri Lanka

Truth Centred Transformation: A Ministry of Love Page 04 Page 06

Documentation Workshop

Celebrating Children’s Day in a Little Corner of Badowita

Paving Bright Futures for Unskilled Youth

A New Thing for Church Planters

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CONTACT US P.O. Box 113, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka 00945511358

@

communications@nceasl.org

facebook.com/NCEASL facebook.com/ADT.Sri.Lanka

nceasl.org

twitter.com/nceasl

Alliance News Issue 4 2018. For private circulation only.

adtlanka.org


Documentation Workshop The RLC held a documentation training workshop for grassroots activists on 20 and 21 October. The workshop was attended by 16 participants. The facilitators spoke on the general principles of human rights documentation, social media documentation, crisis mapping and the NCEASL documentation methodology.

The Alliance Development Trust reconstructed the school hall of the Meegahagoda School in Galle. The renovated hall which was declared open on 1 July 2016, was in a dilapidated state and would leak in the rainy season. “We are happy that we have received your assistance” says Chamath, a student of the school, who with his friends, helped in the construction work. “We were in much discomfort and you have done us a great service.”

Celebrating Children’s Day in a Little Corner of Badowita The Alliance Development Trust celebrated World Children’s Day on 6 October with 32 children in the urban slum of Badowita. The day’s programme was conducted under the theme of ‘Strengthening Our Children to Go Forward with Courage’. The programme was very special because the children were given the liberty to organise it. This contributed greatly to the success of the programme as it provided a unique opportunity for the children to display their hidden talents. Alliance News Issue 4 2018. For private circulation only.

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Alliance News Issue 4 2018. For private circulation only.

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FEATURE

STORY

In a timely message issued during the constitutional crisis in October 2018, the Chairman of the NCEASL calls on the National Church to look inside before it condemns the government outside.

THE CHURCH AND THE NATION IN CRISIS The Constitutional Crisis

Let the Church look inside before it condemns the Government outside During the past week our Nation has plunged into confusion due to the political and constitutional crisis. The instability

While we are all concerned about the importance of the Constitution and interpretation of it, many of the churches in Sri Lanka operate without any guidelines or constitutional framework.

I would earnestly ask you and your church to pray for our nation and seek God’s face in humility and repentance because these two actions are prerequisite for prayer for healing of the Land promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14. We

Even if there is, most leaders act arbitrarily with total disregard to them. Most Church leaders and pastors act as if the Church is a private property or even as a family

expecting change outside.

in how many ways they have violated their constitutions to conveniently have their own way.

While everyone is quick to condemn or condone what has happened in the Government and in the political world, the Church too has expressed their displeasure. However, what ‘crisis’ in the Church today. While the Church has been quick to condemn the actions of people in the world – if we take a deeper look – it is not surprising that what the world is doing today is what is already happening inside the Church.

Removal of Leaders Government leaders, we must note that this happens constantly in Christian churches. Leaders remove other frivolous reasons. No leader is accountable for such action

I am in no way condoning the actions of the political leaders because the nation must not plunge into darkness through such decisions. But there is a greater matter at stake – the Kingdom of God.

decisions. Such action has caused multiple fractions in the Body of Christ causing hundreds of splinter groups who operate independently without any accountability to anyone.

Therefore, we must question ourselves whether we have

It is an alarming fact that almost one third of the Protestant Church in Sri Lanka consists of independent churches.

instead, focus on Jesus who said:

out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. - Luke 6:42

happening in the Church. Alliance News Issue 4 2018. For private circulation only.

The future of their members and their families seems to be so frail and totally dependent on the leaders’ arbitrary actions and directions. The quality of the second-generation Christians in Sri Lanka seems to be so diluted and weak due to this. This is a serious matter the leaders must address.

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Accountability

encouraged and given publicity. Biblical principles of Church discipline are totally disregarded and even frowned at sometimes, for the

of ministry resources. While we are quick to condemn bond scams, there are so many scams that happen inside the Church where leaders others. It may be surprising to know how many churches or even organisations have any accounting systems or standards. Very few will present an audited report to their members or constituency. Such attitudes plague our churches and have red corruption and misappropriation of funds.

Cross-Overs and Buy-Overs We have already seen this culture emerging and we will be quick to condemn politicians crossing over party lines happens all the time in Christian circles. Almost every week, faithful members of churches and denominations cross over to other churches and congregations who lure There is no ethical or moral responsibility or respect by those leaders who are quick to receive such members. The Christian churches have only had transfer-growth inwardly through such cross-overs while the Kingdom of God only has decreased in our nation. For an example, Colombo and Gampaha Districts while the total number of believers have remained stagnant.

Buy-Overs There are many Christian organisations who are willing to buy-over Christian workers at whatever cost, despite the disciplinary measures taken by the organisation they had previously served. There is a blatant disregard to ministry when they cross-over. The criticism of previous leaders are

Might is Right While we will see this attitude in the days to come in the world, this has been the attitude carried by many of the churches and leaders. Power hungry leaders are using spiritual power to attract people to themselves in an almost of God is right – and not accountable to anyone.

Culture of Impunity Breakdown of law and order will certainly bring a culture of impunity. However, this has been the culture of many church leaders. There is no room for questioning or accountability and in the name of God they are free to do whatever they desire in their ministries and churches. If the Church does not hold leaders accountable to each other, Therefore before we protest or show our displeasure to political leaders of their actions and decision, the Church in Sri Lanka must weep and repent of its inner state as commanded in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

my people who are called by my name… turn from their wicked ways

for God to heal the Land.

I want you to take time to evaluate your own life and Church in the light of what is happening in the country. God told Hezekiah: “Put your house in order…” and it should be the message to the House of God in Sri Lanka.

Rev. M. Dissanayeke Chairman, National Christian Evangelical Alliance Sri Lanka

Alliance News Issue 4 2018. For private circulation only.

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Truth Centred Transformation: A Ministry of Love

On 30 October, 27 participants from around Sri Lanka were gathered in a hotel in Dehiwala in eager anticipation for the launch of the Truth Centred Transformation (TCT) programme in Sri Lanka. At the introduction, the participants were informed that this 3 day training programme was the foundation of a 5 year initiative. They learned that the TCT programme is built around the Church’s calling to love.

resources in order to be effective. Shrestha also explained the downside of distributing aid. He emphasised that when helping someone, care must be taken to ensure that the beneficiaries are not dependent on the aid that is distributed. The pastors were called to help restore dignity to poor communities and to invest their time with them.

This refreshing workshop was an ideal opportunity for the 27 pastors to recommit themselves towards serving their community. The training was geared to encourage local churches to engage in acts of love. At the first model of training, selected pastors of local churches are primarily trained to understand the importance and impact of reaching out with love to their communities. Thereafter, the trained churches will identify at least one social issue in their communities to which they will respond through an act of love. The churches will also be required to train four other local churches in order to spread the love of God across our island home. Dinesh Shrestha of Reconciled World who was the resource person at the training programme, explained the three main goals of the TCT training as; 1. God’s glory being the ultimate goal, 2. Strengthening the local Church as the reason for the training programme, and 3. Elevating communities out of poverty as the result of the training. Following this introduction, Shrestha conducted several sessions over the 3 days, including sessions on humans are important to God, love God and your neighbour, God wants the Church to help, understanding how to help and on acts of love. As the sessions were interactive in nature, the participants were involved in little skits, case studies, bible studies, friendly competitions as well as regular ice-breakers which contributed positively to the learning atmosphere. The training helped the participants understand that acts of love do not require great investment of time and Alliance News Issue 4 2018. For private circulation only.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13).

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Paving Bright Futures for Unskilled Youth In 2018, the Alliance Development Trust initiated a project to support unskilled youth, with a special focus on women and persons with disabilities from underprivileged areas who wish to join the tourism industry. Thus far, 182 youth from Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara have benefited through training in hotel management. The training includes theoretical and practical lessons in front office management, food and beverage service and housekeeping as well as work-based training at reputed hotels.

A New Thing for Church Planters In order to reach out to the nation, the NCEASL conducted a training programme for 126 church workers who were willing to witness in new areas. The ‘New Thing’ training programme guided participants in taking an innovative approach to proclaiming the gospel in unreached areas, especially in Colombo, Monaragala, Bibile and Hambantota.

Alliance News Issue 4 2018. For private circulation only.

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PROJECTS AT A GLANCE ISSUE 4 2018

MISSIONS AND EVANGELISM • Meetings with the Pastors’ Fellowships of Trincomalee, Ratnapura, Wellawaya, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu • A ‘New Thing’ seminar in Colombo and Monaragala for 20 selected church planters • MBB family camp for families in Trincomalee and Puttalam • Global Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church • Distribution of 152 theological book packs among 152 students • Partnered Ray Hughes regional meetings on National Prayer for Revival in Matara and Ja-Ela • Family enrichment seminars for ministry workers in the North Western, Central, Eastern and Northern regions • 3 publications: How to be filled with the Holy Spirit, Hunger for Reality and George Müller

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION • Support for 45 teachers from Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Vavuniya, Kandy, Kalutara, Ratnapura, Trincomalee, Ampara, Batticaloa, Hambantota and Kegalle

• Educational support for 262 Christian children and youth • Distribution of 618 Sinhala and Tamil bibles in the Galle, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Batticaloa Districts • Legal aid for 3 pastors in Radawana, Nittambuwa and Medirigiriya • Emergency assistance for 3 pastors from Avissawella, Wattala and Batticaloa • Legal advice provided for 2 Pakistani asylum seekers • Livelihood assistance for 3 families in the Eastern Province • 2 consultations with 34 interreligious faith leaders in the Anuradhapura and Kandy Districts • Release of media statement calling for unity and reconciliation issued during the political crisis • Oral submission on religious freedom and transitional justice issues made to the 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

• A legal letter sent out on behalf of a pastor in Hatton

RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT • Training in careers for 190 participants from Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa and Ampara at vocational training institutes and work-based training for 11 persons

• 2 Children’s Day programmes for 73 children from Vavuniya and Mount Lavinia • Nutrition programme benefiting 80 preschool students in Kilinochchi • Support for a student to purchase a pair of spectacles • Analysis of the current situation of child rights in selected areas • Exposure trip for children from selected villages • Award ceremonies for children who participated in art competitions held in Vavuniya and Trincomalee • Discussion programme on child rights practices for children from selected villages in Vavuniya • Workshop on children’s views and concerns regarding child protection for children in Colombo • 7 leprosy awareness programmes benefiting 361 persons in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Hambantota

• A door-to-door leprosy screening programme reaching 1,200 persons in Nuwara Eliya

Alliance News: Issue 4 2018  
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