New Tamil bishop to mend decades-old rift

New Tamil bishop to mend decades-old rift
Sri Lanka
2010-12-23 10:32:38
The newly appointed Anglican bishop in Sri Lanka has expressed concern about the post-war reconciliation process and challenges to the formation of evangelical churches. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, on Tuesday appointed Archdeacon Gregory Shantha Kumara Francis as the fifth bishop of Kurunegala diocese in the Church of Ceylon, succeeding retired Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe. The post-war focus should be on reconciliation and re-establishing brotherhood among divided community, the new Tamil bishop told uncanews.com after his consecration ceremony. The Sri Lankan army defeated the insurgent Tamil Tigers in May 2009 after the almost three-decade long war for separation. Bishop Francis, speaking of the evangelical challenges, said “Even Anglicans are leaving church to join evangelical churches. We must have a careful study and form an evangelical unit in keeping with our tradition.” Currently there are more than 3,000 evangelical churches in Sri Lanka. Priests and laymen are due to meet on Jan. 12 under the new head to draw future plan for Kurunegala diocese, that oversees the predominant Sinhalese Buddhist districts of Kandy, Matale, Kegalle, Anuradhapura, Nuwara Eliya and Polonnaruwa. As an ethnic Tamil, Bishop Francis is fluent in three languages, Sinhala, English and Tamil. He has been active in combatting drug abuse, a major problem in the diocese. He is a member of the Board of Trinity College Kandy and was an advisor to a number of institutions. He was born in 1955 in Polgahawela village, appointed as deacon in 1978 and ordained as priest in 1980. Related reports Bishops want code of conduct for politicians Sri Lankan choir sings message of unity Christians call for inter-ethnic dialogue SR12598.1633
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