Sri Lanka Ex Service Persons Association in UK(SLESPA in UK) commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the end of three decade long civil war in Sri Lanka with a Multifaith Religious Ceremony held at London Buddhist Vihara on Saturday 1st June 2019

Press Release

A Special Multifaith Religious Ceremony was organised by the Sri Lanka Ex Service Persons’ Association-UK(SLESPA-UK) to commemorate the 10th Anniversary (18th of May 2009)of the end of the three decade long civil war in Sri Lanka and to invoke blessings for all the fallen/injured victims in the tri-services personnel, police officers, all civilians- Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim victims of the civil war & also to all the victims(Sri Lankan & foreign) of the Easter Sunday Terror attacks.

The Executive Committee of the SLESPA-UK unanimously supported the initial proposal made by the president Lt.Cdr. Kapila De Alwis, to organise this inaugural Special Event.

This was held at London Buddhist Vihara(LBV) at 11A, The Avenue, London W4 1UD under the auspices of Ven Bogoda Seelawimala ,Sangha Nayaka of G.B. Her Excellency Manisha Gunasekera -Sri Lankan High Commissioner in UK, S.L.Defence Attache’ in UK- Brig.Swarna Bothota and other multifaith religious Dignitaries representing Hindu, Catholic and Muslim communities also graced the occasion. Large number of members, their families, friends and well wishers were also present.

Buddhist Religious service ( Buddha Puja, Dana, followed by chanting of pirith, & Pan weduma to share the merit & invoke blessings) was conducted by Ven Bogoda Seela wimala Nayaka Thero & community of Buddhist monks. Ven K. Mahanaga conducted the Buddha Puja(Offerings & venerations to the Buddha). Ven Bogoda Seelawimala on behalf of the maha sangha delivered a short sermon, quoting from the Buddhist teachings, of the importance of invoking the blessings and sharing the ‘merit’ and was most appreciative of the efforts taken by the Association for organising this event. Ven. T.Bandula conducted the venerations in accepting the Dana offered to the community of monks. Ven. Akurala Samitha also delivered a very soul searching sermon to show his appreciation for initiation of this very inclusive commemoration even after 10 years.

Members of Maha Sangha representing different Buddhist Vihara in UK - Ven T.Bandula and Ven K.Mahanaga from LBV, Ven W. Chandima and Ven W. Seelaratana from Kingsbury Vihara, Ven. M.Palitha from Cambridge Vihara, Ven A. Samitha from Letchworth Dhammanikethanaya, and Ven M. Saddhananda from Leicester Vihara participated in the morning religious services ( and also in the multifaith event in the afternoon).

Buffet lunch ( with quite an extensive spread of cooked meals and desserts) prepared by the members, families and friends was offered to all invited guests – Sri Lankan High Commissioner & her Staff, and all participants( SLESPA members, families & friends/ School,OBAs).

The Multifaith Special Meeting commenced in the afternoon with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by the Special Invitees- Her Excellency Manisha Gunasekera, Sri Lankan High Commissioner in UK, Ven Bogoda Seelawimala, Swami Ramanadan, Catholic Lay Minister-Mr Adrian Fernando, Immam Salman Siddiq, Defence Attache - Brig.Swarna Bothota and Lt. Cdr. Kapila De Alwis- the president of the SLESPA-UK.

Welcome Speech was delivered by the President SLESPA.UK- Lt.Cdr.Kapila De Alwis who gave a brief outline of the aims and objectives of the Association highlighting its neutrality as a non political, non religious and non racial Association and the joint efforts taken by the Association, to organise this inaugural Special Event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the end of civil war in Sri Lanka and to invoke blessings for all Tri Forces personnel, police personnel, all Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim victims. This was also an opportunity to remember all those who perished on Easter Sunday terrorist attack and to offer the blessings and prayers to all those victims. Sermon by Ven Seelawimala Nayaka Thero, Chief Sangha Nayaka of G.B. was very supportive of the efforts taken by the Association and its religious importance, explained why he agreed to allow the Special multifaith event to be conducted at the London Buddhist Vihara in spite of their busy schedule.

Her Excellency. Manisha Gunasekera, SLHC in UK delivered a heart warming speech to appreciate her delight to have participated as the chief guest at this most fitting multifaith Special Event and expressed her sincere appreciation to the Executive committee and its organisers for organising such a well planned, well balanced and a successful Event. Swami Ramanadan representing Hindu community spoke very eloquently in Sinhala and reiterated the importance of a multifaith approach to overcome the potential dangers of communal disharmony in Sri Lanka and offered his blessings (quoting both Hindu and Buddhist scriptures) to all the victims. Lay Catholic Minister Adrian Fernando thanked the organisers for inviting him as a special religious dignitary and offered his blessings with a special prayer for all those affected victims.

Immam Salman Siddiq was very pleased and thankful for organising this multifaith religious event and with the opportunity for him to offer his blessings & prayers to all affected victims. Capt.(Dr) Sena Nanayakkara was the master of ceremonies and proposed a Vote of Thanks on behalf of the Organising committee ( Capt.(Dr.)Sena Nanayakkara, Capt Presanthe Ratnayaka, Lt. Col. Nihal Amarasingha, Maj. Upul Samarasingha, Maj. Sarath Goonaratna and the ExCo). He expressed their sincere thanks to Sri Lankan High Commissioner, all the invited special guests and community of monks led by Ven Seelawimala and multifaith Dignitaries for their presence.

He also thanked the members, families and their friends and support offered by the Executive Committee for their help in various ways( financial, offer of Ata Pirikara /pirikara to participating monks, provision of all the pirikara, flowers and dana requisites, bringing cooked meals/desserts to the dana and for the sumptuous buffet, clearing the kitchen and for their active participation in such large numbers to make this event a memorable and most fitting Event.

Special thanks were also offered to Sgt.Manjula Samarasuriyage for covering the event and for videoing and taking the photos

Following such a successful inaugural Event, the SLESPA-UK are planning to conduct this event on an annual basis.

( prepared by Capt.(Dr)Sena Nanayakkara)