On the January 14, 2017 the Presiding Bishop of Norway Helga Haugland Byfuglien along with her colleagues visited Church of Pakistan. It was a pleasure to have here in Diocese of Raiwind as Bishop Samuel Azariah warmly welcomed them and hosted their stay in Lahore. The Departmental heads of Diocese introduced themselves to the Presiding Bishop and shared their stories and challenges with her in the evening. She mentioned how blessed she was by being in Pakistan and by listening to all the missions in which the Church was working. The meeting concluded with a dinner.
On the 30th of December, 2016, the Youth Department of Diocese of Raiwind, Organized a seasonal unplugged gig. It was a pleasure living listening to Christmas hymns and worshiping with young musicians and singers. Members of Youth Gospel Concert and Salvation Worshipers collaborated and made the evening a blessed experience. Bishop Samuel Azariah and Bishop Mano Rumalshah appreciated the effort of keeping the spirit of Christmas alive even after 25th of December. Bishop Azariah shared his thought on what Christmas means to today’s world and what message it brings for the young people. We are specially thankful to students of Kinnaird College for their special performances and making the evening a meaningful experience for all.
The Peacebuilding Department of Diocese of Raiwind, Church of Pakistan organized an event to celebrate Christmas and Eid Milad-ul-Nabi together. The event was held to introduce and encourage the concept of joint celebration of religious festivities among the masses in order to promote interfaith by unveiling its positive impact on our society. People from different walk of life gathered at joyous occasion of Eid celebrations. A total of 204 people attended the event. Approximately 45% were female participants and members of Trans community. Religious leaders, youth and women from Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh community participated in the event. Mr. Noman Sajjad and Ms. Zarish Yaqoob from the Peacebuilding department started the program and invited representatives of 4 different faith for opening prayers. It was followed by the brief introduction of the Peacebuilding Department of Diocese of Raiwind-Church of Pakistan and the activities held in the year 2016. Bishop Samuel Azariah, Allama Arif Asghar Chishti, Advocate Shabnam Nagi Govinda Luhana and Amreek Singh were the main speakers of the event. The speakers mainly talked about the significance of sharing happiness with people from other religion and how important it is to hold interfaith gatherings since it strengthen the sense of tolerance understanding and peace. Furthermore they agreed that such gatherings can really boost and strengthen relations among people from different faith. The young volunteers of the peacebuilding department of Diocese of Raiwind showcased a theatre performance on 2 themes; discrimination against religious and sexual minorities in our societies and how we can become agents of change and work together to address such social issues. Bishop Azariah, in his concluding remarks, hauled the efforts of the peacebuilding department in bringing people from different faiths, cultures and profession under one roof.
Staff members of Diocese of Raiwind started 2017 with a new year service along with Bishop Samuel Azariah, Bishop Azad Marshall, Bishop Mano Rumalshah and Rev. Dr. Khushnud Mussarat Azariah. The audience included staff members from educational institutions, Women department and Bishop’s Office of the Diocese of Raiwind. The service started with the Opening Prayer led by Bishop Mano Rumalshah. Bishop Azariah led in a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings in the year 2016, while Bishop Azad Marshall prayed for the new year. The ending prayer was led by Rev. Dr. Khushnud Mussarat Azariah.
The Junior Church department of Diocese of Raiwind, Church of Pakistan (commonly known as Sunday school) organized a momentous event as a Christmas celebration in Pakistan by the Children. Over 1000 children from the ages of 5 to 12 marched from Central Cathedral of Praying Hands, Warris road to Mazang and back. The children were singing and sharing the message of peace with the people and passer-by. They were distributing sweets, chocolates and gifts to the people. It is interesting to note that this peace rally having the Christmas touch also comprised of Christian and Muslim children. Bishop Samuel Azariah, the Diocesan Bishop and President Bishop of the Church of Pakistan, while addressing the rally, said that the message of Christmas is peace, forgiveness, acceptance and tolerance. He said that the Christians of Pakistan, which includes children young and old, men and women will make all kinds of contributions and sacrifices for peace and justice. We pray for the prosperity of Pakistan. Rev. Yousaf Samuel, the Coordinator In charge of Junior Church department did a commendable job in organizing such a successful peace rally. He, along with his enthusiastic team worked for months to make this march possible. Sunday School teachers played a vital role in training young Santas.
The teachers and students of Dar-ul-Mussarat once again performed a wonderful play, at St. Peter’s School, Warris Road, on Thursday 12, December 2016 . Celebrating its 26th Birthday, Dar-ul-Mussarat organized an evening in which they performed their annual play. The principal Mrs Resha Qadir Bakhsh, school staff and students, happy to be the hosts welcomed Rt. Rev. Samuel Azariah as the Chief Guest of the evening and honored them with flowers. The play titled ‘Apne to Apne Hotay Hain‘ was based on the Biblical story of Joseph and his 12 brothers, which was performed in a very outstanding way. Bishop Samuel Azariah in the end shared his thoughts and said that Dar ul Mussarat is like his Child which he will never forget and always support in every way possible. Parents and audience was happy to see the special children do wonderful acts and appreciated the handwork and effort of the Teachers. The evening was concluded by cake cutting and gift distribution.
Riffaqat-e-Khawateen of Diocese of Raiwind organized their Annual Christmas Lunch at Lucie Harrison School Warris Road. Women from congregations of Lahore, Kahna Nau and Raiwind gathered to share their love and experiences by Celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Prayers, Christmas Carols and a Christmas Play was performed. It was a pleasure to have the Moderator Bishop Samuel Azariah as the Chief Guest. Special thanks to Rev. Fiaz Munawar, Mrs. Persica Kamaran, Mrs. Resha Qadir Bakhsh and executive committee of the Diocese for being part of the event.
We are sad to hear the tragic news of attack on innocent worshipers of St. Mark’s Cathedral, Cairo. Pope Tawadros and the Bishops of Coptic Church and our Anglican Archbishop Mouneer and aggrieved Christian families, we are prayerfully standing with you asking God to comfort you. We condemn the dark forces of evil supporting and purporting such crimes against innocent people of God and request the Government of Egypt to provide necessary security and protection to the Christians of Egypt particularly during Advent season.
On December 10, 2016 The President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan HE Muhammad Mamnoon Hussain awarded Bishop Dr Azad Marshall, Coadjutor Bishop of Raiwind, the Presidential Award for Human rights.
In a stately ceremony at the President’s House forty citizens of Pakistan were distinguished for their contribution in promoting Human Rights in Pakistan.
Bishop Dr Azad Marshall, who is also the President of National Council of Churches in Pakistan, is one of those distinguished recipients.
He has no doubt a long and continuous record of contributing to educational development and human rights in Pakistan. We congratulate him and pray for his continuous ministry in Pakistan and beyond.
We thank the Federal Ministers of the Ministry of Human Rights and Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony, Government of Pakistan for recognizing and nominating distinguished citizens committed to upholding the poor and the marginalized for upholding their Human Rights.