Photo feature: Hosanna in the Highlands

Worshipers from Immanuel Lutheran Church at the Eila Rubber Plantation process through their village singing Palm Sunday hymns.

Worshipers from Immanuel Lutheran Church at the Eila Rubber Plantation process through their village singing Palm Sunday hymns.

By Roy S. Askins (Photos by Erik M. Lunsford)

A visit to the “up-country” (highlands) of Sri Lanka the week ending with Palm Sunday revealed how the Lanka Lutherans live, work, worship and witness. The Lanka Lutheran Church is a partner church with the LCMS.

That visit also provided opportunities to experience the care and support that LCMS Area Director and Missionary Rev. Roger James gives in visiting congregations and teaching Lanka Lutheran pastors and vicars.

Lanka Lutherans in the highlands live among the plantations of Sri Lanka known for growing tea and other crops.

At the Eila Rubber Plantation, members of Immanuel Lutheran Church sang hymns as they processed with palm branches through the village where they live. They finished their Palm Sunday procession at the church — actually, a porch attached to the local community center. There they heard Vicar P. Gnanakumar preach on Christ and His forgiveness.

In the week before Palm Sunday, Rogers taught Lanka Lutheran pastors and vicars how to preach Christ-centered Holy Week sermons that elevate Christ’s atoning work. He also led instruction on the Lord’s Supper and the Augsburg Confession and emphasized the importance of studying the Confessions, especially when there are heresies with adherents who also will say they believe the Bible. “The church makes, studies and holds to confessions that keep her true to the Scriptures,” he said.

As part of his instruction, James also visits local congregation members. Providing a model for visitation, he speaks with congregational families, shares a psalm and prays with and for them.

And so, the Lord of the Church preserves His Church in Sri Lanka as the Word of God is read and proclaimed to the people of the Lanka Lutheran Church.

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The Rev. Roy S. Askins ( is director of Communications for the Asia Region, LCMS Office of International Mission. Erik M. Lunsford ( is managing photojournalist with LCMS Communications.

Posted April 15, 2016

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One Response to Photo feature: Hosanna in the Highlands

  1. Dolores Lewandowski April 19, 2016 at 8:54 am #

    Thank you for the picture and article. I am pleased to be a part of the work you are doing. May God continue to bless His work through you.

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