The death has been announced of the former Moderator of the Church of Pakistan, Bishop John Victor Samuel. Bishop John died this morning (30 August) in the Punjab city of Multan, at the age of 87. His funeral will take place in Multan on Sunday 2 September.
He has served the Church – both in Pakistan and around the globe – for more than 50 years. In addition to his role as Bishop of Multan and as Moderator of the united Church of Pakistan, Bishop John was a prominent ecumenical leader. Between 1973 and 1977 he was a member of the Presidium of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), the ecumenical Christian group. From 1990 he would go on to serve as CCA’s fifth General Secretary.
He served as a member of the Central Committee of the global ecumenical body the World Council of Churches (WCC) and was Moderator of the WCC’s Commission on Interchurch Aid, Refugee and World Service (CICARWS). He has also been President of the National Council of Churches in Pakistan and General Secretary of the country’s Student Christian Movement.
Amongst the tributes paid to Bishop John, the current General Secretary of the CCA, Dr Mathews George Chunakara, said that Bishop Samuel would be remembered for his “ecumenical collegiality, personal warmth and friendship, as well as his numerous ecumenical contributions in Pakistan and at the international level.”
He added: “In his capacity as the General Secretary of CCA in the 1990’s, Bishop Samuel was instrumental in initiating and developing future Asian ecumenical leadership”.
Bishop Samuel is survived by his wife Shirin, sons Ajmal and Amjad, and daughter Anjum; to whom Dr Chunakara expressed his heartfelt condolences.