SRI LANKA: Church Ordered to Find New Location

06 February 2024

Source: National Christian Evangelical Alliance Sri Lanka, The Voice of the Martyrs Canada

On the morning of 3 December, police entered the Assembly of God church in the town of Makola, which is located near the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. The officer in charge questioned whether the service was being conducted legally. Since the believers were in the middle of a worship service, the pastor agreed to report to the police station the next morning.

The next day, police questioned the pastor and his landlord. Although the church leader was told to stop holding church services in his rental home, he refused to comply. One of the officers then stated that the place of worship needed to be registered with the government in order to continue operating. The police also ordered the landlord to no longer allow the pastor to use the house for hosting Christian gatherings.

The pastor has been given six months to vacate the premises. He also signed a police statement asserting that he will continue hosting worship services during that time. The church is having difficulties finding another location for two reasons: 1) since there are more than 100 people regularly attending the services, they will need a sizeable space, and 2) some landlords in the area are not willing to let the believers use their facilities as a meeting place for the church.

Christians can openly gather and worship in Sri Lanka, but the government is now pressuring all churches to officially register. Local governments sometimes participate in attacks on pastors and churches. Despite the threats and attacks, Sri Lankan churches are strongly engaged in church-planting and missionary-sending activities.

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    Pray for them

    Ask the Lord to provide for this church a sizeable space where they can come together as followers of Christ and worship freely. Ask the Lord to stir in the hearts of others, that there may be a landlord who will allow the church to use their facilities.

    Pray for this pastor who has been questioned by the police. Ask the Lord to strengthen him, so that he will continue to lead others to Christ.

    Pray for the church in Sri Lanka. Pray that Christians will be able to freely gather and worship, and that government pressure will not restrict the spread of the gospel throughout the nation.

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