The Christian community in Pakistan has been in the news for very bad reasons over the last few months. I now wish to share something of the courage, perseverance & loyalty of the Christians in Pakistan.
I and two friends spent four days in Karachi, leading a retreat at a theological college, speaking to students and staff, and clergy in the Diocese.
We were very encouraged by the students’ enthusiasm and commitment.
Theological education in Pakistan largely depends on ex-patriot teachers. We want to see more Pakistani Christian leaders gain an education good enough to teach.
The Diocese of Manchester has a formal link with the Diocese of Lahore, and we flew there to build on this link.
One of our party was interested in exploring how to creatively help community development in Lahore’s Christian communities.
I had three main aims:
- to develop friendships & partnership with leaders and Christians in the Diocese
- to explore the recruitment of students for the MA Theology course at Nazarene Theological College: they would then have a basis to teach their peers.
- to build links with Christian publishing houses, to supply the new Alexandria Christian Bookshop on the Curry Mile in Manchester.
We achieved all three – I interviewed seven possible students, and a two-year distance learning course is planned for them (subject to funding).
I contacted three publishers, and their products should be on sale in Manchester soon, and the links between Manchester and Lahore grow stronger every visit.
132 children & staff were killed at an Army school in Peshawar a month before I arrived. The tension was considerable and the army were on the streets.
Every school now has higher walls, razor wire, roof-top snipers & armed guards. Christian schools are especially warned, but children continue to come.
Before heading home, I shared in some interfaith dialogue, and also met some Believers from a Muslim Background – two of them evangelists in their home areas.
It was a very exciting trip, and I look forward to developing the links with the Church in Pakistan, and ask you to pray for the brave Christians there, as they face constant discrimination, and sometimes severe persecution.