Evangelical consortium pleads for sustained Sri Lanka support

An umbrella organization for Christian aid groups is pressing the urgency of massive sustained relief efforts for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka. The recently concluded 26-year old civil war ended with the defeat of the LLTE rebel group commonly known as the Tamil Tigers. The World Evangelical Alliance is exhorting Christians to make a concerted effort to support approximately 300,000 IDPs on the Indian Ocean island nation. WEA’s Geoff Tunnicliffe returned from the country last week with a group of representatives from Christian aid organizations. “Despite being a small minority, the Christian community is valiantly and sacrificially giving to meet these needs, but urgently requires assistance from their brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world if they are to complete their task,” Tunnicliffe said in a press release. “The church is called to be salt and light and rarely have I seen such dedication in extending God’s love to non-Christian communities, despite logistical difficulties and real personal danger to themselves.” WEA’s Sri Lankan chapter (NCEASL) is feeding about 10,000 IDPs at a cost of $1.50 a day, but many more are not receiving adequate nutrition and freedom of movement for people to return to home villages is limited. Rev Godfrey Yogarajah of the NCEASL was grateful for the end of the war but concerned about fading international attention. “As a Christian I have hope for the future of Sri Lanka,” he said. “But the danger is that, now that the headlines highlighting the war are reducing, the world will forget about those who continue to be affected. For us the real work is only now beginning.” Prayers are also sought that the church might stay free from intimidation by individuals or groups seeking to gain influence in ethnic divisions between Tamils and majority Sinhalese. John Langlois, a former member of the Guernsey, Channel Islands, parliament and Chairman of the WEA Religious Liberty Commission said, “I ask all Christians to join us in praying for those, including church leaders, who have been harassed and threatened, especially within the minority communities.” WEA is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances. It is based in Richmond, British Columbia. Link: World Evangelical Alliance: http://www.worldevangelicals.org/index.htm

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