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On the morning of October 23rd, a police officer, along with the district's governmental leaders, arrived at the Hokma Bible Centre in Deniyaya to question the pastor about the legality of this place of worship. The authorities demanded that all worship activities cease until authorization is received from the Divisional Secretariat, and for the local police to be informed of any church functioning in the area. An hour later, the pastor received a phone call asking him to come to the police station and make a legal statement. The accused refused to comply without the consultation of his lawyer.

The Hokma Bible Centre has operated in this location since 2007. The pastor had previously received a letter of consent from the Divisional Secretariat in relation to an electricity bill that was issued in the name of the church. The recently imposed legal action against the church comes less than a week after a committee from a local Hindu temple submitted a petition to the authorities in opposition to the church. For additional reports on the hardships being encountered by Christians in Sri Lanka, see our country report.

Please remember this church leader and his congregation in your prayers, as they work with their legal advisors on how to wisely respond in this situation. Despite the newly imposed challenges, pray that God will give them opportunities to reach out to their neighbours with the message of the Gospel. May Sri Lanka's governmental authorities be mindful of their need to treat all religious groups fairly and seek the best interests of the country's citizens by encouraging unity and harmony.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC supports persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka as they witness for Christ in hostile environments through Biblical training, legal aid, and advocacy, as well as rehabilitation and emergency assistance.

Project Funds: Relief and Development, Legal Defense

Country Information

Population
23,044,123 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Sinhalese (74.9), Sri Lankan Tamil (11.2), Sri Lankan Moors (9.2), Indian Tamil (4.2), other (0.5)

Religion (%)
Buddhism (70.2), Hinduism (12.6), Islam (9.7), Roman Catholic (6.1), Evangelical Christianity (2.0)

Leader
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (2019)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and Jaffna Tamil customary law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Sri Lanka

Let's unite our hearts in prayer for those in Sri Lanka who are being persecuted for their faith, thanking God for what He is accomplishing despite the opposition. Ask that His people will be encouraged, strengthened and equipped by the promises of the Bible – the Sword of the Spirit – knowing that He is watching over His Word to perform it (Ephesians 6:17; Jeremiah 1:12). May they not only overcome the strategies of the enemy, but also serve as effective witnesses to those in need of eternal salvation and deliverance from spiritual captivity.

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