British churches issue statement on Lahore terror attack

By agency reporter
March 19, 2015

Three British churches have come together to issue a joint statement and a prayer for Pakistan following terrorist bombings of two churches in Lahore on 15 March.

The Church of Scotland, the United Reformed Church and the Methodist Church have condemned the atrocity:

“Christians and Muslims across the world are shocked and dismayed by this barbaric attack. There is never any justification for hatred. We join with everyone who is praying for Pakistan, for the families and communities that have been devastated by this attack.

“Freedom of religion is a precious human right. We must do all we can, at home and abroad, through our prayer and action, to protect it. Governments around the world must do all they can to help defend minorities from violence and discrimination.

“At home we hope that we can continue to foster a culture of tolerance and respect, through education, dialogue and mutual understanding. We pray that God will guide us in the ways of love and forgiveness.”

The statement has been supported by the Rt Rev John Chalmers, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; the Revd Kenneth Howcroft and Gill Dascombe, who are the President and Vice President of the Methodist Conference of the Methodist Church in Britain; and John G Ellis and the Rev John Proctor, who are the Moderator of the General Assembly and General Secretary of the United Reformed Church.

They have also commended the following prayer:

Loving and merciful God,

We pray for peace in the face of these frightening attacks on congregations in Lahore,

Even as we fear for the safety of worshippers and those who protect them.

We express to you our longing for communal harmony and a respect for all faiths.

May those affected by these explosions and those now fearful for their future know the assurance of your presence and the prayers of their brothers and sisters around the world.

We remember especially those who lost their lives or were injured as they carried out their duties protecting the congregations and pray for all security guards who will continue to protect churches and schools across Pakistan.

Help us to take all opportunities to work and speak for peace, between peoples and between religions, within countries and within families.

Amen.

The joint statement follows comments from the President Bishop of the Church of Pakistan. Bishop Samuel Azariah strongly condemned attack as “cowardly and inhumane” and also expressed his fears at the insecurity of minorities in Pakistan.

In his statement, the Bishop condemned the Pakistani State for failing to provide security to those most vulnerable in Pakistani society. He called upon all Christian denominations in Pakistan to stand united in their time of trial and difficulty, and stated his belief that “we shall overcome through our love and kindness upon those who believe in evil and inhuman acts”.

The Bishop also expressed his deep disappointment over the reprisal killings of two people following the attacks. Bishop Azariah said “Taking of life is not what is taught in the Christian faith. We must be careful of such acts and let the law take its due course.”

* Church of Scotland http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/

* Methodist Church in Briatain http://www.methodist.org.uk/

* United Reformed Church http://urc.org.uk/

[Ekk/4]

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