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NCCSL STATEMENT ON ‘LAST RITES’

9 January 2021 12:27 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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‘All life is sacred because it comes from God; and that which emanates from above is blessed’
The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) in a statement said that it is seriously concerned on the issue and controversy that has arisen on the question on the ‘last rites’ of the deceased falling under the category of COVID-19 patients.


As a people of this country, we hail from different religious communities with respective religious traditions, beliefs and practices that affirms and shapes our very being.

From the perspective of the ‘Christ Community’, we hold steadfast to the belief that human life as the highest form of creation by the Creator God is ‘supreme’ and this fact is well established and emphasised in the Birth of Jesus; which speaks of Divinity embracing Humanity

 


From the perspective of the ‘Christ Community’, we hold steadfast to the belief that human life as the highest form of creation by the Creator God is ‘supreme’ and this fact is well established and emphasised in the Birth of Jesus; which speaks of Divinity embracing Humanity. This profound truth, we acknowledge, impels and demands that the ‘sanctity’ of human life be preserved and respected at all times; in life and in death.


The implications of the killer virus in ‘COVID-19’, apart from the devastating catastrophe, has claimed over 1.8Mn human lives globally and the pain and grief there-in is not lost in our own shores. 

 

It is the celebration of life; a gift that we mourn at a time of death; hence it becomes our responsibility to ensure that a fitting farewell is afforded taking into consideration of the heritage and the identity that shaped such life or lives


It is the celebration of life; a gift that we mourn at a time of death; hence it becomes our responsibility to ensure that a fitting farewell is afforded taking into consideration of the heritage and the identity that shaped such life or lives.


Therefore, in the ensuing debate on the last rites of ‘burial or cremation’ and in the context of our identity as a multi-religious, cultural and ethnic nation, The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) urges the Government and the decision-makers to respectfully pay heed to recommendations of the experts on medical science and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on this subject of ‘last rites’ so that we will be able to embrace our unity amidst the colourful diversity that exhibits life.


The statement has been issued by a group of leading Christian religious leaders representing Constituent Churches. They include Rev. W.P. Ebenezer Joseph, NCCSL Chairperson and President, Methodist Church of Sri Lanka, Rt. Rev.  Dushantha Rodrigo – Bishop of the Church of Ceylon- Diocese of Colombo, Rt. Rev. Keerthisiri Fernando – Bishop of the Church of Ceylon, Diocese of Kurunegala, Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel S. Thiagarajah, Bishop of Jaffna Diocese, Church of South India, Rev. Heshan De Silva, President, Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya, Rev.

Saman Perera Moderator/President, Presbytery of Lanka, Rev. Shirley Faber, President, Christian Reformed Church, Lt. Colonel  Nihal Hettiarachchi, Territorial Commander, The Salvation Army, Rev. Dr. Chrisso Handy  General Superintendent/Chairman, Assemblies of God of Ceylon, Rev. S. George Niranjan, Acting President, Church of the Foursquare Gospel and Rev. Maxwell Doss, General Secretary, National Christian Council of Sri Lanka. Representing associate member Churches and ecumenical organisations, it was also signed by Rev. G. Nadarajah, President, Lanka Lutheran Church and Rev. T. Thevanesan, President, Church of the American Ceylon MissionColombo and Theological Seminary and Youth for Christ. Other member Ecumenical Organisations signed for the statement areYoung Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Student Christian Movement (SCM), The Ceylon Bible Society, Christian Literature Society, Theological College of Lanka and Back to the Bible Broadcast. 

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