News letter – March 2023 ………………
"Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and merciful" – Joel 1;13
The church has given us another season of Lent to be with God. The season of Lent is the time where we experience inwardly and outwardly, our renewal and our spiritual revival in Christ. We are experiencing the truthfulness of our true faithfulness, as followers of Christ by imitating his way of life in the wilderness
Friends, our heavenly father expect us to be truthful and honest in this regard. Therefore the church, through her catechism is giving us guidance, through Bible studies, prayer meetings, almsgivings and fasting.
Dear friends we should not think these practices are mere traditions, but our
heavenly father, is challenging us to commit ourselves more in order to have
proper connections with God.
In the New Testament, Gospel of Matthew chapter 6 clearly is directing the
Christians to practically adjust ourselves to follow prayer, almsgiving and fasting,
if we honestly dig into the deep, we can identify Matthew is inviting us to control
ourselves specially in the aspects of our behavior and spirituality. That’s why I say
that the season of Lent is a time of renewal.
It is also a time of revival, revival in our church, in our faith individually and collectively. Our practice of faith should not be mere traditions or rituals, but we are called to follow not only ritual but the life style of Jesus our savior. Jesus went to the wilderness soon after his Baptism where he was put to the test. Our wilderness with Christ at this season of Lent should be a time of testing, so that we may all renew our lives as new creations. As St. Paul says “in Christ we became new creations”, it is our duty to open our hearts and minds to God to test us and make ourselves more productive, honest and committed followers like his disciples.
May the season of Lent be a time you regain Jesus and true God. Amen!
Ven. George Melder
Vicar- St. Paul’s Church, Kandy
Message for the Environment Day
Bishops of the Church of Ceylon
(05th June, 2021 | 06.00 )
This year’s theme for World Environment Day is Reimagine, Recreate and Restore and given the crisis that the world faces with respect to climate change, 2021 also marks the launch of the United Nations Decade on ecosystem restoration (2021-2030). The Church of Ceylon calls upon all Sri Lankans to join with the peoples of the world to focus the attention of governments, leaders of all faith communities, business communities and civil society, on the urgent need to heal and restore the earth’s ecosystems.
Sacrificing the care of the environment in the pursuit of human development is depleting and stretching the earth’s natural resources to the maximum. As a result, dramatic changes in climate, pollution, poverty, deprivation and sickness are on the rise; nature cannot endure the abuse and over-exploitation. As Christians, we believe that God gave us shared dominion of the earth with the task of not only using it for sustenance but also to nurture it and manage it responsibly for the benefit of all, including future generations. It is important to note that the creation story in the Bible teaches us that even God rested after six days of work; the principles of the sabbath and the jubilee remind us that the earth and the soil need rest, restoration and rejuvenation. Many religious traditions and the wisdom of first peoples contain similar insights.
We salute youth leaders in various parts of the world who are leading the campaign through education, advocacy and even litigation in courts, to ensure that the world recognizes its responsibility of stewardship and management of the planet.
Major environmental problems in the world, deforestation, the lack of clean water and air, the loss of biodiversity, droughts and floods, increased sicknesses are the result of human beings abusing nature. In most of these situations, it is the poor and the vulnerable that suffer the most. This is unjust and unacceptable to us as Christians as Jesus Christ always was particularly concerned about the poor, the marginalized and the excluded.
In our own country, we have witnessed in recent years a failure in these responsibilities of stewardship. The pollution of the soil, waterways, and the sea, unsustainable soil and mineral mining and denudation of the natural tropical forest cover are a few examples. Policies for development must take cognizance of their impact on the environment. We need to review our economic and development policies and models, our modes of living and consumption and personal lifestyles so as to ensure that we shift to 'greener' methods of economic activity and living. Let us live in harmony with Mother Nature rather than destroying her; let us think not only about ourselves but also those yet to be born. We can start by cutting down on consumption and ‘wants’ and reducing, reusing and recycling waste and conserving water and energy. We can start with ourselves, our homes, churches, and work places.
The Rt Revd Keerthisiri Fernando, Bishop of Kurunagala & The Presiding Bishop of the Church of Ceylon
The Rt Revd Dushantha Rodrigo, Bishop of Colombo
Click to read full Message with Sinhala and Tamil translations