The out-break of COVID 19 pandemic, apart from claiming many human lives has also affected millions of people the world over causing much fear and chaos while disrupting the order of normal day to day life and causing massive damage to the global economy. Taking serious note of the growing threat of this dangerous health hazard, The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) as a faith-oriented national body wishes to make the following observations.
- First and foremost, we commend the President, the Prime minister, the Cabinet, as well as the authorities from the health, defence, police and other sectors for the immediate measures taken to contain the threat and spread of this deadly virus. At the same time since this is a national issue, we call upon them to enlist the support and cooperation of all stake-holders in this country; religious, civil society, political parties and humanitarian organisations so that all could collaborate working alongside the State. A combined effort is required to combat and curtail the spread of this life- threatening virus, in as such much the country collectively did so during the 2004 Tsunami calamity.
- Whilst acknowledging the positives in the declaration of the ‘enforced holidays’ from 16-19 March 2020, this action we find has had adverse economic effects especially among the ‘daily wage earners’ who struggle for daily sustenance with their meagre day to day earnings. In the given situation, it is suggested that the State takes into consideration their plight so that they are not left out in its future plans or actions.
- Considering the repercussions and the disastrous effects of this deadly virus, we call upon the general public to act responsibly and seriously adhering to the prescribed precautionary measures in place, limiting travel and by remaining indoors as much as possible and using of such time to be engaged in spiritual activities interceding for one another towards the anticipated recovery and healing.
- The paramount issue at hand in the present context is that of safeguarding ‘human life’. We are called to protect and sustain the lives of all those who live in this country. All our efforts at this time must be focussed on this issue and in minimising as best as we can, the damage to our economy. We therefore call upon the Government and other relevant authorities to give very serious thought to postponing the forthcoming General Elections till such time as normalcy is restored. We are of the firm belief that the immediate need of the hour is not to be distracted by electioneering and divisive political debates, but in sustaining the struggle to protect human life and support all who are in the forefront of the war against the COVID 19 virus. We also call on all political parties to lend support to the President, Prime Minister and the Cabinet with regard to making available finances needed for this struggle.
All life is sacred because it is divine-oriented and as such The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) together with its constituent member churches and ecumenical organisations will continue to uphold and lift up our nation and all those who live here in ‘prayer’ for divine intervention and healing and we assure the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and authorities of our fullest support and cooperation in this national effort.
19th March 2020
- Rev. Heshan De Silva – Chairperson National Christian Council of Sri Lanka and President Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya
- Rt. Rev. D.R. Canagasabey –Bishop of Colombo, Church of Ceylon, Diocese of Colombo
- Rt. Rev. Keerthisiri Fernando – Bishop of Kurunegala – Church of Ceylon, Diocese of Kurunegala
- Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel S. Thiagarajah, Bishop of Jaffna Diocese, Church of South India
- Rev. Asiri P. Perera – President, The Methodist Church, Sri Lanka
- Rev. Saman Perera – President, Presbytery of Lanka
- Rev. Shirley Faber, President, Christian Reformed Church
- Lt. Colonel Suresh Pawar, Territorial Commander, The Salvation Army
- Rev Maxwell Doss – General Secretary, The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka