05/07/2021, 13.03
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Sri Lankan Christians offer solidarity and support against COVID-19

by Melani Manel Perere

The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) has initiated projects for those most in need. With the country at a “critical juncture,” churches and parish facilities can be used in the vaccination campaign. The Church is trying to help the people most in need.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Sri Lankan Christians are mobilising to help the authorities and fellow Sri Lankans stem the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which in recent weeks has particularly virulent in South Asia, starting with neighbouring India.

The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) is undertaking several aid and support projects for those most in need at this “critical juncture” of a “human calamity” that has swept the planet.

On behalf of the NCCSL, its Secretary General, Fr Maxwell Dos, offered “condolences to the bereaved families” of those who have died and has renewed his organisation’s commitment to “solidarity with the people of our land” with the aim of “curtailing the transmission of the virus.”

At a press conference held yesterday at NCCSL headquarters in Colombo, attended by the leaders of the country’s many Churches, NCCSL representatives asked the faithful to pray, especially for India, so that life and work may resume.

On the domestic side, the NCCSL urged fellow Sri Lankans to scrupulously adhere to the guidelines laid down by health authorities both at home and work.

Fr Maxwell announced his intention to allow places of worship and other church facilities to be used as vaccination centres, to encourage and accelerate the immunisation campaign, and accommodate people in quarantine or unable to remain in isolation.

For Bishop Keerthisiri Fernando of Kurunegala, of the Church of Ceylon (Anglican), another factor of concern is facilitating the repatriation of Sri Lankans stranded abroad.

For the bishop, in addition to economic support for families facing hardships or those who cannot work because they must place themselves in quarantine, it is necessary to provide all possible material and spiritual support to those who live in challenging and uncomfortable situations due to the pandemic.

“We need to start a program to help people do their work and earn something,” the bishop explained. This includes helping them “sell their fruit and vegetables.” To the end, “we opened a small shop in Kurunegala where people can sell their goods.”

Hopefully such support can go to “the poorest and most marginalised people, whatever their religion or ethnicity, only because they are poor and need help.”

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