St.Anthony’s Church in Kudaththanai-Jaffna Sri Lanka

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Photo: St.Anthony’s Church in Kudaththanai-Jaffna District. Kudaththanai was destroyed by the Tsunami.

St.Anthony’s Church in Kudaththanai-Jaffna

“The Rev Mr Solomon who is under a disciplinary order by the JDCSI, led the hijack on behalf of the Church of the American Ceylon Mission and is now said to be bent on seizing the Colombo Church of the JDCSI as his seat of office.The service proceeded with a great deal of noise especially whistles emanating from a section of the congregation supportive of a certain Mr Namasivayam who forced himself to the rostrum to conduct the service with the resident priest helplessly seated on the alter chair.”
By : Vasi Visveswaran reporting from Colombo

The usual Sunday 7 30 AM morning service at the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India’s Francis Road church was hijacked by a hostile group of dissidents calling themselves the Church of the American Ceylon Mission last Sunday, August 26, 2007. Supported by some mission-based bureaucrats of the Wider Churches Ministries of the United Church of Christ (WCM-UCC) Cleveland, Ohio, they made a forced attempt to put aside the resident pastor, the Rev Daisy Asirwatham, and take over the service.
Some members in the congregation, calling themselves as the Elders of the new church that was not founded on canonical or doctrinal differences with the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI), screamed and catcalled at the Rev Miss Asirwatham and whoever was supportive of conducting the worship service in the manner deserving of a dawn devotional.

The demonstration was led by the Rev Milton Solomon who in 1983 sought refuge in Kilinochchi fleeing the racial violence from the hill districts and was helped by the JDCSI to take to the ministry. He had his training at the JDCSI’s Theological Seminary in Maruthanamadam NP. The Rev Mr Solomon who is under a disciplinary order by the JDCSI, led the hijack on behalf of the Church of the American Ceylon Mission and is now said to be bent on seizing the Colombo Church of the JDCSI as his seat of office.

The service proceeded with a great deal of noise especially whistles emanating from a section of the congregation supportive of a certain Mr Namasivayam who forced himself to the rostrum to conduct the service with the resident priest helplessly seated on the alter chair.

While some members faithfully stayed behind providing solidarity to the resident pastor, others left in utter disgust and two lady members reported the matter to the Wellawatte Police When the police arrived, the rebel group had left the church and was assembled outside and one of them was making a speech. When the police alighted from the jeep, they were nowhere to be seen.

We understand the police have filed action against the dissidents at the Mount Lavinia courts. One member of the Colombo congregation called the dissidents “Damn plaguing Moonies of Sri Lanka” in utter irritation and annoyance. When the Rev Mr Solomon was questioned about this retort, he appeared ignorant of the Moonies but admitted they are funded by a church body in the US.

The man behind this movement is the Rev Selvadorai Jeyanesan who failed to win the bishopric of the JDCSI and has now broken away with his supporters merely for that reason and set up this Church of the American Ceylon Mission hoping that whatever properties the American Ceylon Mission had in Sri Lanka would automatically come under his control.

The problem the Rev Mr Jeyanesan is faced with is his unwillingness to account for the massive funding he has received from many overseas sources during the last ten years as a JDCSI pastor in the Eastern Province. High flying and constantly traveling Rev Mr Jeyanesan keeps himself mostly in the background and has his paid volunteers to carry on with the activities that often borders on threats and disorderly behavior.

A fortnight ago, he was believed to have chartered an aircraft to take a plane load of demonstrators to Jaffna to support his stand. Questions are being asked as to where he got the funds for such an expensive display of his stand.

Asked how he came to lose the race in the Bishop’s Stakes, a member of the Colombo Church said without a moment’s hesitation that he had behaved foolishly and incurred the wrath of a fellow clergyman whose court action damned his chances. It appears this clergyman had expressed his strong view and decision officially on the floor of the 2005 Diocesan Council Sessions of the JDCSI that he would fight tooth and nail to ensure he was never appointed bishop of the diocese because of a serious misdemeanor unbecoming of a priest.

On our efforts to contact the Cleveland Office of the United Church of Christ in Ohio, USA we were told that the Executive Minister Dr Cally Rogers-Witte was on holiday and her personal assistant Dr James Vijeyakumar was not available for comment. It is this organization that helps the Rev Mr Jeyanesan to go on his many fund campaigns in the US.

Source http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2007/08/rebels-hijack-tamil-church-service-in.html

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