Christians discuss social responsibilities

Churches must stand up for those who need help most, forum told

Christians discuss social responsibilities
Clergy and laymen discuss their roles and responsibilities reporter, Colombo, Sri Lanka

April 13, 2011

Anglicans, Methodists and Catholics recently gathered to discuss what their role and responsibilities would be in implementing social reforms in Sri Lanka following the country’s bitter civil war. “We have to take risks in carrying out social reform and not work in air-conditioned rooms,” Jesuit Father Lasantha de Abrew told a forum of Christian clergy and laymen discussing “Roles and Responsibilities of Christians in Social Reform. “We must restore the dignity of the person, and that applies to the minorities in our country,” he told the gathering at the Caritas Sri Lanka auditorium organized by the Christian Alliance for Social Action. Churches must stand beside victims, he said. “Recognition of minorities means recognizing the other as my brother or sister. This is easy to talk about but difficult in practice,” Fr de Abrew said. Tens of thousands were killed in almost three-decades of civil war. About 75,000 people have been listed as missing since 2004. "We need to restore people’s dignity such as unwed mothers. Christians also have to prioritize to help those most in need. War widows should be given priority,” Fr. de Abrew said. “If we want change, we must become agents of change. Spirituality means bringing about inner transformation,” observed retired Anglican Bishop Kumara Illangesinghe. “We cannot ignore the plurality of Sri Lankan society and the importance of ecumenism and interfaith involvement to enrich society,” he added. The bishop summed up by saying that education and awareness building programs are important for the future. Related reports Sri Lankan widows still lag behind Tamil refugees demand daily Masses Jaffna diocese unites Sinhalese, Tamil youths SR13943.1649