The eleven of us took a variety of routes to get to Sri Lanka, some through London, most through Dubai, but all were long. Sri Lanka is a long way from North America, where all of us live, who are here on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the United Church of Christ, and the United Church of Canada. But since we were met at the airport by people who knew our name and faces, and who are the spiritual descendants of members of our church who arrived here in 1816, we discovered that Sri Lanka really isn’t that far away.
We have started a two week trip together to see the results of our church’s 200 year investment in the spiritual, educational, and medical welfare of this region; to be “living letters” representing the people of these nations to our home congregations, and to learn how to live faithfully as a Christian as a minority group inside a complex multi-faith and multi-cultural society. That is what the whole world is becoming, including the US and Canada, so conversations over the next days with Sri Lanka Christians could be most beneficial.
We were guests at a lovely reception this afternoon held at the Anglican Bishop’s Diocesan office, and hosted by the Church of the American Ceylon Mission (CACM). A political officer from the U. S. Embassy came to say hello to the American visitors in town, and what is already becoming evident that it is typical, our hosts welcomed her as they had welcomed us and she, too, received a beautiful and fragrant clove and seed lei.
Church officials and ecumenical leaders greeted us, and our two General Ministers and Presidents, John Dorhauer and Terri Hord Owens reciprocated. Global Ministry Southern Asia Executive Deenabandhu Manchala, who is leading our delegation, explained the purpose of our journey. We were admonished to keep our eyes open and our ears open over the next several days. That should not be too hard to do, since our hearts are already opened by the kindness with which we have been welcomed.
Christian Church in Indiana