(Worthy News) – Local authorities in separate districts of Sri Lanka recently ordered two churches to close down, on the grounds that the congregations’ Christian activities are offensive to their communities, Voice of the Martyrs Canada (VOM) reports. Sri Lanka’s constitution gives preferential status to Buddhism, and demands by the authorities for churches to close are not uncommon.
On August 31, local authorities ordered the Assembly of God church in the central Sri Lankan village of Naula to close down on pain of legal action being taken against it, VOM reports. In their letter to the church, the Naula Divisional Secretary said the congregation did not have permission to hold worship services and that it was causing “disruption to interreligious harmony.”
More recently, the “Jesus Calls You” church in Abepradesa, Anuradhapura District, received a similar letter from the local municipal council on September 23, VOM reports. In this case, the authorities accused the pastor of carrying out unauthorized worship services that were offensive to the surrounding community. The letter threatened legal action if the church did not comply with the order to close.
“Churches in Sri Lanka frequently face opposition, often stirred up by local Buddhist monks within their communities,” VOM said in their report. “In some cases, the monks feel threatened by church growth.”
“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,” VOM added. “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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