Blog Post by
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Presbytery Leader

Easter morning we celebrated resurrection and Christ overcoming death and the grave. We also received the news of church bombings in Sri Lanka. Just two weeks ago I had lunch with Dr. Damayanthi Niles, professor of Constructive Theology and Minister of Word and Sacrament at Eden Theological Seminary. Damayanthi is from Shri Lanka. We were discussing missional ideas that can help shape the future vision of our presbytery. Damayanthi shared her experience of church growing up in Sri Lanka where Christianity is a minority religion (less than 9%). Her experience gives her a particular lens on American Christianity and Presbyterianism as we practice it. Damayanthi is not afraid of the decline we are experiencing in our denomination. She knows what it means not to be the dominant center of faith, but instead experience life as  God’s people in the midst of the people of God (This is an idea created by her father, Dr. D. Preman Niles). Beyond theology and mission, we discussed food, family, and home. When the news of the church bombs hit the airwaves on Easter morning, my heart shattered like the stained glass windows on the news feed video.
I reached out to Damayanthi pastorally, and to ask what the presbytery can do. She ministered to me instead. She shared reflections that help her to get through these difficult times. One is a song by Mark Miller, “I Choose Love.”
In the midst of pain, I choose love.
In the midst of pain, sorrow falling down like rain,
I await the sun again, I choose love.
In the midst of war, I choose peace.
In the midst of war, hate and anger keeping score,
I will seek the good once more, I choose peace.
When my world falls down, I will rise.
When my world falls down, explanations can’t be found,
I will climb to holy ground, I will rise.
In the midst of pain, I choose love.
In the midst of pain, sorrow falling down like rain,
I await the sun again, I choose love.
Let us pray for Shri Lanka, Damayanthi, and those touched by violence throughout the country and the world.

  • Indi Samarajiva, a Sri Lankan Buddhist, whose family was at church on Easter shares his thoughts. Click here.
  • A Lent perspective from Mark Miller, on his song, “I Choose Love” can be found here.
  • If you feel called to give financially to their recovery, that is made possible by the Sri Lankan Red Cross, found here. 

Rev. Craig M. Howard


  • Posted April 23, 2019 3:58 pm
    Charles Pfeifer

    Thank you Craig. I am praying.

  • Posted April 23, 2019 8:37 pm
    Ellie Stock

    Thanks, Craig.

  • Posted April 24, 2019 9:20 pm
    Paul Reiter

    Thank you Craig. I found in my years in St Louis a wonderful friendship with Damayanthi. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and the words of the song by Mark Miller. Peace to you and all those who grieve and are in pain in Sri Lanka.

  • Posted April 25, 2019 11:21 am
    Junie Ewing


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