One Month since the Peshawar Army Public School Tragedy


We have had various responses to our concern over the terrible attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on the 16 December 2014. As Rev Rana Youab Khan writes, "The previous year has been challenging in many ways, calling for the need of cohesive efforts for advocacy, human rights and peaceful coexistence across the world. People in Pakistan witnessed devastating events throughout the year but the killing of over 131 children at the Army Public School in Peshawar was simply brutal and evil.

On the 20th December 2014 at St John's Waterloo, Canon Giles Goddard and I (Revd Rana Youab Khan) organised a Prayer Vigil supported by CMS for the victims of the Army Public School in Peshawar.  

The Rt Revd Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Woolwich in the Diocese of Southwark and Mr Imran Mirza, Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan lit a candle in memory of those who lost their lives. It was a solemn and moving ceremony of solidarity and concern for the victims and the people of Pakistan.

'This is a duty we owe to the dead, and a duty we owe to God - the duty of lament, for we need to give voice to those holy feelings of love and honour set deep in our hearts, which these murderers have denied. Across the world, on hearing this terrible news, people have rightly turned to prayer, as we have - not in the first place a prayer that tries to change what has happened, for how can the past be put to rights? But a prayer of solidarity, of sorrow, of love, a prayer of deeply felt lament. From all of us here at St John's Waterloo, we send this message of loving sympathy to the parents and families of the Army Public School, and to the people and Government of Pakistan.' (Bishop Michael Ipgrave)

A similar service was also held in Bolton on the 3rd January with contributions from Bolton Council of Mosques and the Hindu Forum. 

Following the tragic incident, a letter of condolence was sent by Barbara Easton on behalf of Methodist Schools.  Bishop Humphrey, Bishop of Peshawar, replied as follows:

"Thank you for your kind mail of condolence, love and prayers. The recent attack on the school has broken everyone in our region. The Double suicide attack at the All Saints Church was of a different nature but here in the school, shooting in the head, eyes, mouth and the beheading of small children is simply brutal and barbaric. No human having the fear of God can do it, but this is how the terrorists did it. The Diocese cancelled all its Christmas celebrations, celebrating Christmas in a simple way. This will be the second Christmas without celebrations, but the tiny Church is here to be a source of solace for the people of God.

Despite all the atrocities, I personally feel the local and the International Church can be a source of comfort to everyone in this region- one of the most dangerous regions- something which our Diocese is humbly trying to do. We feel it is essential to have the Church present even in the most dangerous areas. As you probably know, we are also looking after internally displaced Christians, Hindus and some Shia Muslims from the war zone area, Miranshah." This is possible thanks to a grant from the World Mission Fund, allowing "us to run the camp. I will be spending the evening of Christmas with them in Bannu. Keep us in your prayers, especially our Priests and the out-reach workers for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and their protection. Thank you once again for all your love and prayers."



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