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Calls for prayer as Sri Lanka faces deepening economic crisis

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.

Soaring inflation has caused devastating shortages of food, medicine and fuel across the country. Energy is being rationed by the government, causing prolonged blackouts.

The blackouts and shortages set off huge public demonstrations last month, which started as a series of candlelight vigils but have intensified in recent days after the government deployed troops to quell unrest.

Dr Sureka Goringe has been in touch this week with Bishop Ebenezer Joseph, President of the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka (MCSL) to express our concern and solidarity.

While the world is rightly rallying around Ukraine in their darkest hour, Dr Goringe says we cannot ignore emergencies like Sri Lanka and the worsening food crisis expected to hit the global south hardest.

“We’re deeply concerned about what is happening in Sri Lanka. Our partners are describing the situation as ‘chaos’ – with no power for refrigerators or fuel for transport, people either can’t afford food, or can’t store it,” said Dr Goringe.

“We particularly think of our project with Deaf Link on disability inclusion, serving some of the most vulnerable people in the country. Please join us in praying for the work of our partners, the people of Sri Lanka and their family and friends here in Australia. We stand with you.”

Uniting Church in Australia President Reverend Sharon Hollis has also encouraged UCA members to pray for Sri Lanka.

“We’re deeply concerned by what is happening in Sri Lanka and by what we’re hearing from our church partners and Sri Lankan-Australian members of the UCA,” said Rev Hollis.

“The situation is dire. We must pray in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka suffering through this crisis, as well as Sri Lankan Australians who are concerned for their country, families and friends.”

The Methodist Church in Sri Lanka speaks out

Our partner church MCSL has been part of the peaceful demonstrations and has called on the government to prioritise the wellbeing of the people.

“The country is gradually sliding into chaos, as the genuine concerns of people remain unattended,” said MCSL President Bishop Ebenezer Joseph in a statement shared to UnitingWorld and other partners.

“We call upon the government to take adequate steps to immediately supply the basic essentials needed by the people and ensure that what is available is equally distributed to all in a transparent manner.”

Rev. Joseph also called on demonstrators to act with discernment and nonviolence while exercising their right to protest, and pledged MCSL to do everything they can to help alleviate suffering.

“We pledge as a Church, that we will do all within our means to alleviate the sufferings of the people regardless of creed, colour or ethnicity and calls upon it’s faithful members to respond by sharing our resources sacrificially with those who are under privileged, give voice to those affected, adopt a simple lifestyle and engage in prayer for the early resolution of the crisis,” read the statement.

“We believe in God of transformation that instils hope that even the worst social scenario can be changed into something beautiful.”

Read the full statement here.

MCSL choir singing a song of hope and unity to the nation.