Rebecca's letter for June

FOLLOW-UP FROM LAST MONTH’S RECTOR’S LETTER

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Tertullian AD 155-240

My last letter was written about two weeks before Easter and before the horrendous attack on Christians at worship in Sri Lankan churches on Easter Day.  It seems all the more poignant now, reading it since Easter Day. It turns out that it was an attack by IS.  According to the organisation Open Doors, Sri Lanka is 46th out of the 50 countries listed as where Christians face the worst persecution in the world.  We are encouraged to pray for our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka.  According to Open Doors, out of the population of 21 million people, two million are Christians.  The Christian minority is partly tolerated, but converts to Christianity are not. Believers from Buddhist or Hindu backgrounds face harassment and discrimination from their families and communities. They are pressured to recant their faith, as conversion is regarded as betraying their ethnicity.  Most state schools do not teach Christianity as a subject, so Christian school-children are forced to study Buddhism or Hinduism. Churches in rural areas have been attacked or closed, and Christians have been assaulted.

Open Doors strengthens persecuted believers in Sri Lanka with Christian literature, income-generating projects, medical assistance for victims of violence, and persecution survival training.

We are asked to pray:

· That God will protect and strengthen Christian children who face discrimination at school

· That Open Doors’ persecution survival training will help churches that have been attacked to stand strong and forgive their attackers

· That God will turn the hearts of Buddhist extremists to Himself.

Brother Andrew (Founder of Open Doors) said: “Persecution is an enemy the church has met and mastered many times.  Indifference could prove to be a far more dangerous foe.”

Rebecca Harris