About this partnership
The Sri Lanka Vineyard partnership is almost 11 years old, and was led by Mika and Rona Pay until the fall of 2014. The Vineyard Churches in Sri Lanka were started by David Ephraim, a native Sri Lankan who came to Fuller Seminary for training, and was mentored there by John Wimber.
God called David back from California to Sri Lanka to "minister to my poor". He planted four small churches with local young pastors he gathered from Bible schools in Sri Lanka. After David's untimely death from cancer, the US Vineyard partnership was formed to help train these young men, support their work, and connect them to the international Vineyard movement.
Sri Lanka is an island nation off the southern tip of India, and has two main people groups, the Sinhalese (Buddhist majority, originating 2000 years earlier from Northern India) and Tamil (Hindu minority originally from southern India). There is a very small, declining aboriginal people group indigenous to this island formerly known as Ceylon. Until 2010, Sri Lanka was embroiled in an active civil war. The post war economic effects indicate some recovery, but several of the long standing ethnic issues continue.
The Vineyard Churches in Sri Lanka have suffered persecution, economic hardships, and the trials of trying to maintain connection and identity through the barriers of distance and language. Currently we have an international partnership which has visited at least once a year to provide pastoral and leadership training, retreats, and on the ground support. The partnership has also sponsored trips to India for additional regional pastoral training. Early on after the tsunami there were many disaster relief projects, and there continue to be orphanage visits and other compassion ministry opportunities.
We are looking to increase our partnership membership to consolidate greater effectiveness and connection. A few other European Vineyards are also interested in and visit Sri Lanka. We hope to build increased dialogue and coordination with them in the future.
Population: 21.8 million
Number of Vineyard Churches:
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Ave. Education: 14 years
About Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), a tiny island nation south of India in the Indian Ocean, is a rugged land of rain forest, diverse wildlife and endless beaches. Sri Lanka continues to experience strong economic growth following the end of the 26-year conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The government has been pursuing large-scale reconstruction and development projects in its efforts to spur growth in war-torn and disadvantaged areas, develop small and medium enterprises and increase agricultural productivity.
Gary and Susan Stokes
Gary and Susan Stokes have been a part of the Vineyard since 1985 when the Evanston Vineyard in Illinois became a Vineyard. After a successful career in banking working for Continental Bank of Chicago and Société Général based in France, Gary followed the call to full time ministry and joined the pastoral staff in Evanston. After 3 years on staff there, Gary became the Executive Pastor at Vineyard Christian Fellowship of the Peninsula in Palo Alto, California for 5 years. Following Jesus and a call to service since her childhood, Susan has enjoyed lifelong ministry, both lay and staff, as well as the blessing of family with Gary and their daughter Anna, and a long career singing classical music. In 2001, God called Gary and Susan to restart Vineyard City Church in Tucson, AZ, where they have pastored a multi-cultural community for 13 1/2 years. Always engaged in mercy, social justice and compassion ministries, God led Vineyard City Chuch to respond to needs in Sri Lanka after the 2004 Tsunami. Out of this work grew the relationships which currently define the Vineyard Missions Partnership to Sri Lanka. Susan and Gary took over partnership leadership in 2014 from founding leaders Mike and Rona Pay from the Fort Collins Vineyard in Colorado.
This "high adventure" partnership needs people with pastoral care, outreach, children's ministry, micro-business initiatives, and service to the poor skills. Some of the adventure comes in non-luxury jungle settings!
Consider joining our partnership by clicking the link atop this page. Together we can impact Sri Lanka for generations to come.