By ACNS staff, with reports from The Church of Pakistan (United)
Bishop Samuel Azariah, the Primate of The Church of Pakistan (United), has strongly condemned the bombing of two churches in the Yohanabad area of Lahore. More than 20 people have reportedly died and more than 75 are injured, many severely.
The Primate called the twin attacks on Christ Church and St John’s Catholic Church a “cowardly and inhuman act of terrorists against a religious minority in Pakistan.”
Bishop Azariah asked for prayer and urged all Christian denominations in Pakistan to stand united in this time of trial and difficulty. “We shall overcome through our love and kindness upon those who believe in evil and inhuman acts,” he said.
Bishop Irfan Jamil of Lahore Diocese, said that a joint funeral service was being planned for tomorrow together with the Roman Catholic church.
“I thank the Anglican Communion for its support and encouragement at this difficult time,” he said. “Please continue to pray for us now and in the challenging times ahead. [Pray] for security at [the] service.”
Bishop Azariah expressed deep concern about the insecurity of minorities in the Pakistani context. He said that it was the responsibility of the State to provide security and protection to all people and especially to those who were weak, marginalised and smaller in number.
The Nation reported that all missionary schools in the country will remain closed on Monday as a sign of mourning. Special prayers were to be held for those who had lost their lives in the blasts. Christian leaders have announced that they would hold protests until the perpetrators were arrested and brought to justice.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Interim General Secretary of the Anglican Communion Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan have sent condolences to Bishop Jamil and assured him of the support and prayers of the Anglican Communion.
The Anglican Alliance is liaising with leaders in The Church of Pakistan and partners in the Anglican Communion to determine how best to respond.
Share your prayers for Pakistan on the prayer wall of the Anglican Communion website: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/community/prayer-wall.aspx