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Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Colombo
The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
 
CEYLON 070907-1
September 7, 2007

The Bishop's letter published in the July/August issue of The Ceylon Churchman, the bi-monthly magazine of the Church of Ceylon

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] 
My dear Sisters and Brothers,

140th Anniversary of The Ceylon Churchman
It was during the episcopacy of Bishop Piers Calverley Claughton that The Ceylon Churchman was first published as the journal of the Church of Ceylon. The first issue made its appearance on 10 June 1867, just sixteen years after the founding of the Diocese of Colombo. About thirty years earlier, Archdeacon S O Glenie started a newspaper called The Ceylon Chronicle but that had only a brief existence. The Ceylon Churchman has, however, survived many vicissitudes in its 140-year history, but with some interruptions. A Service of Thanksgiving has been planned to mark this significant landmark anniversary. The service will be followed by a seminar. I place on record our tribute to the many Editors, Managers and Editorial Boards who have been responsible for the publication and also for the fine standards maintained.

The Nation
The crisis in our country continues to worsen. Militarism, extremism, escalating costs of essential services and commodities, rising inflation, a depreciating rupee, corruption, waste and poor management of the economy suffocate the people and plunge the country into chaos. Few in authority seem concerned about or capable of steering us back to stability. Unless the real issues facing the country - peace, economic development, poverty eradication and the rule of law - are addressed immediately and with collective responsibility, the days ahead will continue to be bleak.

In this situation, it is incumbent on all Sri Lankans to individually and collectively acknowledge our crisis and respond to these challenges with courage and hope.

Clergy Retreat
Our clergy participated in their annual retreat during the month of August. Retreats provide the space for physical, spiritual and mental renewal. The retreat conductors were Fr Michael and Jo Selman. Fr Michael is the Anglican Chaplain to the English-speaking congregation of Aquitaine in South West France. He is also the Bishop's Advisor on the Ministry of Healing. We thank him and his wife Jo for their much appreciated guidance.

St Thomas' College, Gurutalawa
I was happy to induct and install the Revd Marc Billimoria as the acting Headmaster of St Thomas' College, Gurutalawa on the Feast of St Barnabas, 10th July. He, his wife Manisha and the children will have the assurance of our prayers and solidarity.

I wish to place on record the gratitude of the Diocese for the role played by Mr Jacques Huyghebaert (Advisor to the Board) who almost single-handedly turned the school around within a period of less than one year. He has increased the school roll from 200+ to 500+ and is restoring the infrastructure of the school. All this is bringing stability to the school and a lost image is gradually being reinforced. Of course, there is still much hard work ahead if the school is to function self-sufficiently and I seek your prayers for the school community.

Published elsewhere in this issue of the Churchman is the text of the sermon preached at the Installation of the Headmaster.

CMS Governing Body
Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe resigned from the post of Chairperson of the Governing Body for educational institutions founded by the CMS in Ceylon and has been succeeded by the Ven Joseph Sarvanandan. We thank Bishop Kumara for his leadership and assure Fr Sarva of our prayers and cooperation as he takes on this new responsibility.

Dr E S Thevasagayam
We were sadened by the death of Dr E S Thevasagayam. He served for many years as a Consultant with the World Health Organization in various countries. On retirement he returned to Sri Lanka and served our church and nation with great acceptance. For five years, during a critical phase, he served as Principal of St John's College, Jaffna. He later served for many years on the Governing Body of the former CMS Schools and was its Chairperson for six years. He served on the Standing Committee and on various Boards and Committees of the Diocese for many years. He contributed much towards the care of the elderly both in the Diocese as well as at HelpAge. We offer our condolences to his wife Daisy, his five children and their families.

The Revd Rebecca Hollis
The Revd Rebecca Hollis, a Priest from the Church of England, has joined our Diocese. She is licensed and initially on a three year renewable contract as a mission partner from the CMS. She has been posted as the Assistant Curate at Christ Church, Mirihana. We welcome her and wish her a rewarding ministry in Sri Lanka.

Pastoral visits
During the past few months, I have held confirmation services at St Luke's Borella, Good Shepherd Thimbirigasyaya, Christ Church Mutwal, Chapel of St Francis of Assisi, St Thomas' College Gurutalawa, Chapel of the Transiguration, St Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia and St Peter's Pamankade.


With Peace and Blessings.

Yours very sincerely,

+ Duleep Colombo