Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 2010 Update

Well most of you will know from our Link Letters published by the Church Mission Society that we are now back in the UK. Our 3 year contract with CMS and the Church of Ceylon came to an end in July and so we decided to come back to the UK for home leave.
It was a difficult decision to leave Sri Lanka for the time being and we were sad to leave so many good friends and colleagues.
Our future plans are still a bit 'up in the air', Shemil has a place on a 12 month MA course at Redcliffe College, Gloucester and we have been greatly blessed by the granting of a substantial bursary by the college to enable him to continue his studies. We are also grateful to CMS who are also going to write into our budget the cost of studies and accommodation.
I have no definite working plans although I am hoping that the Diocese of Gloucester might be able to make use of me in some way although I will be on maternity leave as we are expecting a baby in October.
We are anticipating that with Shemil's additional qualification, he may be able to take up some work in theological education somewhere in Asia, whether we head back to Sri Lanka or another part of Asia.

We hope that you will continue to support us through your prayers and if applicable financial support.

We are anticipating visiting our link churches sometime early next year, so please contact us to organise dates of visits. Please email or my personal email address.

We are currently on a CMS People in Mission conference at All Nations Christian College in Hertfordshire and have enjoyed meeting other Mission Partners and those soon to go out either as short term or long term Mission Workers.

Jesu pi hi ty,


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Clergy Synod

Next week, May 4th-7th the Diocese of Colombo will be holding Clergy Synod. We will be looking at a range of issues including Recommendations to the Parishes concerning Theological Education for both laity and ordained, learning about the Family Resource Centre, discussing the way in which we identify suitable candidates for ministry and finally getting our hands on a Revised Liturgy for Holy Communion which is to be used in parishes as soon as possible.
Our synod concludes with the Bishop Cyril Abeynaike Memorial Lecture by Prof Priyan Dias, "Is science very different from religion".

Given the difficulty in reaching many of the parishes and their geographical location from Colombo, it's a wonderful opportunity to meet up with clergy, discuss needs and issues and spend some time in fellowship with one another.

Please pray for the Diocese of Colombo and our clergy and for our sister Diocese in Kurunegala as they seek to appoint a new Bishop.


It's been a while since we last updated, culmination of events - lack of internet access, non-working mouse and lack of time are some of the culprits.
However, we are getting ready for the beginning of the second term here at S. Thomas', hence the update.

Sad news from the Diocese of Colombo, our first female priest, the Revd Canon Malini Devananada recently passed away. She had been diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, but last year she had a relapse and was undergoing chemo treatments. Despite having intensive medications she continued with her work as the Director of the Board of Education, as a committe member of the Board of Women's Work and pastoral work at St Luke's, Borella.
It came as a great shock to all, when she collapsed and was admitted to hospital. The week after her funeral she was due to fly to Malaysia to join an Asian Women's Theological Conference. Malini will be remembered as a pioneering role model for the women of Sri Lanka and as a faithful servant of her loving God.
Below is the text of a poem she wrote, which I was privileged to read at her funeral service:


Suffering is when
One feels bereft of
Loved ones, friends and colleagues,
When in the dark night
One grapples with the unknown
Not knowing what the outcome would be.

Suffering is when,
Poison is pumped into one
To kill those dark ugly cells,
That multiplies rapidly causing cancer
But the poison coursing through the veins
Makes a person half alive.

Suffering is when,
Umpteen needles are pricked into one,
With scant care for the agony and pain,
For saline they say is life giving
And rids the body of toxic
A drink for the dying, food for the weak,
God’s gift of life for her beloved sufferers.

Suffering is when,
My body wracked with pain
I collapsed, fighting for life, alone and scared,
Felt my body being dragged into a deep mire
To surface no more, I cried out in agony,
 No more God, No more, let me die.

And then suffering became bearable when,
I felt God’s presence holding my hand,
Telling me gently not to lose faith.
I know I had a companion in my darkest hour.
God shared my pain, my agony and tears,
Leading me safely through the valley of death.

And yet, suffering became bearable when,
With heartfelt gratitude I could say,
Thank you God for strengthening me
For friends and loved ones near and far
For prayers and vigils of the known and unknown,
For the medical staff so sure yet gently
Thank you God for the friends around me,
Whose friendship I share in our common suffering.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Election Fever Part 2

Despite not having a vote myself, I received a personally addressed letter from the President of Sri Lanka asking me to vote for his party. Hmmm even I know that foreigners do not get votes.
But I am in good company, the Opposition candidate, the ex-army chief of staff, Fonseka has also not been allowed to vote in the Presidential elections.
Hold on a minute - you mean to say that the main opposition person running for the Presidential seat  hasn't been allowed to vote?
Why? Fonseka says he's on the list but was too busy with what was happening in the North to pay much attention to his electoral registration.
Only in Sri Lanka....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Election Fever

Sri Lanka will be holding its presidential elections next week (Jan 26th) and many people are anxious about next week as it seems that the two forerunners; the current President Mahinda and the opposition candidate Fonseka are closely matched in the polls.
Government schools will be closed from Mon 25th to Thurs 28th and it really is anyone's guess as to what will happen after then. Shemil has just been out shopping to discover that many of the local businesses have closed up and their owners are away.
Although we are open on Monday next week, we do have boys boarding with us who will not able to go home for the elections, and it seems that we be under a curfew - although nothing official has been announced.
The blind school that Shemil works at will be closed most of the week and with over 100 boarders and limited teaching staff there may be some difficulties.

On the positive side we have just heard from the Ministry of Education that our boys will be allowed to study both Divinity and History in English medium if they so wish from Grade 7 onwards.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

Greetings from the both of us as we returned to Sri Lanka to celebrate the New Year. We had a wonderful holiday visiting lots of interesting places in North India. Here are few pics...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Former Bishop of Colombo has died.

Bishop Swithin Fernando, (91) a former Bishop of Colombo passed away this morning at a local hospital. He was Bishop from 1978-1987, as well as previously holding post as Archdeacon of Colombo (1971-1978)  and served as a chaplain of S. Thomas' College during his retirement (1990-1992).
He may rest in peace and rise in glory.

Funeral arrangements are yet to be confirmed.