It’s two years to the day (21 April) since suicide bombers attacked multiple sites across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, including three churches. Tragically, over 200 people were killed in the attacks. Open Doors local partners were among the first to comfort and assist believers, and thanks to your prayers and support, they are continuing to walk alongside the affected families. Here is a short update on Zion Church, as well as the Covid situation in Sri Lanka.
Zion Church are currently meeting in a newly constructed building elsewhere after someone gifted them a plot of land after the bombing. They would like to repair the old church building, but there have been some issues. After the attack, the government assigned the task of rebuilding the churches to the military, and the government planned to fund the reconstruction. However, the process came to a halt early last year because there were issues with funding. Since then, the military have not continued to rebuild.
They are planning to hold a memorial service. For the first anniversary last year, only a few people were able to gather for prayer and to light candles in front of the old church building because of the Covid-19 lockdowns. This year, since more people can gather, they are planning to hold a service.
The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCOI) appointed to investigate the Easter attacks completed the investigation and submitted their final report to the president in February. The president appointed another committee to study the facts and recommendations in the report. The report found fault with the State Intelligence Service (SIS), and its former director, Nilantha Jayawardena, for failure to prevent the Easter attacks.
However, Jayawardena testified before the commission that when he received news of a possible attack, he informed the former president. Some members of the opposition have been calling for the arrest of the former president, Maithripala Sirisena, who, as the president, was the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Public Security at the time of the attack.
Many people have criticized the PCOI report, saying it is more focused on finding out how it could have been prevented rather than who was responsible for planning the attack. The authorities are yet to take any action.
At the time of writing, 561 people have died from Covid-19 in Sri Lanka so far. The situation is not too serious, with less than 300 new cases a day being reported. Instead of locking down the entire country, the authorities are only isolating areas where large numbers of cases are being reported. If only a few cases are reported, only the immediate family and close contacts are quarantined.
The Sri Lankan authorities have also started administering the vaccine. Since it is still in the first stages, only healthcare workers, police and military officers, and people over the age of 60 are being vaccinated.
Schools in Colombo reopened on 29 March after being closed for about a year.
When the country went into lockdown and imposed restrictions on the number of people who could gather, Zion Church was not able to hold services for a few months. Since many of the believers cannot join in online either, Pastor Roshan uploaded videos of his sermon on their YouTube channel. Later, Zion Church was able to begin holding services again. They are now doing two services and Sunday school.
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