After an 18 year gap, churches in Sri Lanka that are committed to the historic Reformed faith came together for a Bible conference on 11-15 April.
There were 347 people from 12 churches, including 35 ministers and aspiring leaders, meeting for the Grace Fraternal Family and Ministers’ Bible Conferences.
The venue was the beautifully built and scenic MAS Fabric Park at Thulhiriya (2 hours drive from Colombo). It has a 400-seat auditorium with a number of smaller meeting rooms, a large dining room and sports facilities.
For the first session in the morning all participants came together to listen to an exposition by Dr Gareth Crossley and then dispersed as families, students and ministers into various rooms.
Pastors from each participating church ministered to families in different venues on topics such as ‘The Bible and money’, ‘A biblical approach to disciplining children’, ‘The marks of a godly man and woman’, ‘Obadiah — a man who testified from within’, to name a few.
There were also a number of training and consultation sessions on social action, evangelism and Sunday school work. The students gathered with Pastor Saji Pappu under the theme ‘God created’. Saji and his wife Flysy travelled from South India (Kerala) for this purpose.
In the evening, ministers met with Dr Crossley who ably and efficiently dealt with issues such as pastoral burn-out, and led a series on preaching. His experience as a minister was a blessing to the many gathered.
The main sessions were translated into Tamil by a very able translator, Pastor Sritharan Calistus, who was flown in from South India for this very purpose. The discussion he led on ‘Writers and translators’ was also very helpful.
Overall, the conference turned out to be more than what was expected. One brother said, ‘I have been to many conferences before, but this has been by far the best’.
There was an excellent atmosphere and the prayers of various people and churches all around the world was evident throughout the conference. A student said, ‘Pastor Saji gave a more technical approach towards the Bible and proved scientifically why theories such as the “Big Bang” were wrong’.
And another student (11 yrs) said, he ‘made Sunday school lessons far more fun and interesting and taught us millions of reasons why scientific theories of how the earth was made were wrong’.
Benet Surendran (Suresh)
Coordinator of Grace Fraternal, Sri Lanka