Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya
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The Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya is the council of Baptist churches and missions in Sri Lanka.
The Baptist denomination in Sri Lanka began in 1812, with the arrival of Rev. James Charter a missionary from the Baptist Missionary Society of the United Kingdom, a colleague of the legendary pioneer of the Modern Missionary movement Rev. William Carey. During early days church planting & evangelism of Ceylonese was done by the missionaries of Baptist Missionary Society with its head quarters in Britain. The first Baptist church was established in Grandpass Colombo and expanded to other areas of the Western, North Western, and Central regions of the island. The missionaries began establishing schools in the regions where they had already planted churches. These schools were also used for worship and other evangelical programs.
In 1887 Sri Lanka Baptist Mission was founded and worked along side of Baptist Missionary Society of Great Britain. In 1894 the Ceylon Baptist Union was formed. In 1924 the Baptist Missionary Society took a decision to gradually withdraw financial support and personnel from Sri Lanka. This marked the movement by which local leadership began to assert itself and the Baptist community became self supporting and take on a more truly Sri Lankan image. This gave birth to the Ceylon Baptist Union representing the local Baptist congregations. In 1944 the Lanka Baptist Mission and Ceylon Baptist Union were amalgamated to form the Ceylon Baptist Council. In 1957, soon after the social transition that was set in motion and a swing towards emphasis on the national languages the name was changed to Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya a literal translation of Ceylon Baptist Council to Sinhala in keeping with national trends in the country by an act of parliament. In 2012 Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya is celebrating its 200th anniversary since its beginnings in 1812.
At present, the Sangamaya has 25 member churches with a total congregation of approximately 7000, and in addition many mission stations. Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya coordinates the sharing of resources among Sri lankan Baptist churches and is the central point which appoints pastors to all these churches. All members churches of the Sangamaya are mission oriented, responding to the spiritual and social needs of their respective communities.
Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya includes four main departments also identified as auxiliaries:
- Men's Fellowship
- Women's Fellowship
- Sunday School
- Youth Fellowship
They represent the respective groups among the Baptist population. These auxiliaries organize various programmes and activities under the guidance of the Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya to promote Christianity and strengthen belief in Jesus among the Sri Lankan Baptist community.
Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya is in fellowship with other denominations in Sri Lanka through the National Christian Council (NCC), while being a member of the Baptist World Alliance, which represents the World Community of Baptist. It is also affiliated to Asian Region of Baptists represented by the Asian Baptist Federation. Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya's membership in the Christian Conference of Asia and the World Council of Churches (through NCC) links it with the Christian churches in the East and churches affiliated to the World Council of Christians.
^ Johnson 2010, p. 205. ^ Brackney 2009, p. 540. ^ Gunawardena 2006, p.44. ^ Ceylon Baptist Council (Incorporation) ^ Baptist Missionary Society ^ National Christian Council (NCC) ^ Baptist World Alliance ^ Asian Baptist Federation ^ Christian Conference of Asia
- Official website of the Sri Lanka Baptist Sangayama
- A Global Introduction to Baptist Churches By Robert E. Johnson 2010, p. 205.
- Historical Dictionary of the Baptists By William H. Brackney 2009, p. 540.
- Encyclopedia of Sri Lanka By C. A. Gunawardena 2006, p.44.
- Baptist Missionary Society
- Main Line Christian Churches
- Baptist World Alliance statistics
- Baptist World Alliance handbook
- Sunday Observer
- Ceylon Baptist Council (Incorporation)
- Churches in Sri Lanka