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New Year Message from the Bishop of Colombo
The Right Revd Duleep de Chickera
CEYLON 050101-2
January 1, 2005

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] As we begin a new calendar year, I offer greetings to all the people of our country as we as a nation mourn the unprecedented loss of lives, the inestimable ravage to property and the trauma and shock caused by the Tsunami disaster. I wish to take this opportunity to offer my personal condolences and that of our Church to all those affected by this tragedy. It is our prayer that God will bring light out of our darkness and hope out of our despair.

I have already visited the East and the South and intend visiting the North within the next few days to offer my solidarity with the affected people and to see and hear for myself the impact of the disaster on the people.

Even horrific calamities such as this provide opportunities for growth and new life. There has been overwhelming humanitarian response from all quarters. Our people and the International Community have responded magnanimously. Barriers that divided have been crossed admirably. There have been, as must be expected, shortcomings in the coordination and distribution of relief. But these have been the exception. The lessons learnt will equip us to handle better the work of rehabilitation that must follow soon.

I therefore urge all our people to re-discover our different and shared spiritualities and to work relentlessly together to overcome the tragic repercussions of this disaster. This experience has the potential to teach us new lessons about ourselves and others and our mistakes of the past. I have no doubt that this common experience of suffering and solidarity will strengthen our resolve and journey towards unity, justice, peace and reconciliation for all. The Tsunami disaster leaves us with no option but to dedicate 2005 towards the long and arduous journey of building a just and content society for all.

I wish Peace and Blessings to all people of Sri Lanka.

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo