Religious leaders unite in support of climate action

The Religious and youth leaders from Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh Faith backgrounds are all set to appeal to the people to address climate change using the platform of the their religious institutes The Peacebuilding department of Diocese of Raiwind-Church organized a 3-day training In O’Spring, Murree. The workshop was held from 13-16 February, 2017. A total of 22 participants attended the training. The diverse group was comprised of participants not only from different faith backgrounds but also from different regional backgrounds. The purpose of the training was to educate religious leader about climate change and how religious leaders can use their influence to convince masses to get climate conscious and aware them of the pace of climate change now reaching devastating levels. Bishop Samuel Azariah, the Moderator Bishop of Church of Pakistan. Mr. Munir Ahmed (Graduate of Harvard University, Fulbright Scholar and Professor at Quaid-i-Azam University), Mr. Peter Jacob (seasoned journalist and ED of Center for Social Justice), Mr. Rizwan Ali (Peace practitioner and activist),Mr. Raheel Sharoon (Development Officer from the Diocese of Raiwind) and Mr. Noman Sajjad from peacebuilding department were the resource persons at the training. On the first day of the workshop, the participants from different faith background were equipped with peacebuilding and conflict resolution skills. Climate Change was discussed on the 2nd day. The workshop was concluded on the 3rd day with the formation of an action plan where the religious leaders and peace practitioners discussed about sharing this in their sermons and organizing symbolic activities that can further educate masses. The speakers mainly stressed on the much needed cooperation to curb such grave issues as they affect every single person on this planet regardless of one’s beliefs. Different activities were conducted in order to train and aware the participants. The participants were shown the movie titled, The Day after tomorrow’ which reflects on the misuse of natural resources and its grave consequences. The leaders were very open to the idea of spreading information about climate change and how they can greatly conserve the planet earth. An action plan was formulated with the purpose of inclusion of this global issue in sermons. Climate change is a global issue of many dimensions, and leaders of faith have to address the moral aspect of the matter in a push to mobilize congregations. It’s time for people of all religions to act hand in hand in a united and necessary effort to stabilize an increasingly destructive concern in “pursuit of the common good.” The need of the hour is to mobilize public action that ensures surrounding environmental sustainability.

I am differently abled, not disabled!

I am Differently Abled not disabled! The Peacebuilding Department of Diocese of Raiwind spent a day with the students of Dar-ul-Mussarat Warris Road, Lahore on on Monday, 06 Feb, 2017 – Lahore, an Institute for differently abled children, A group of 10 young peace activists from the department engaged a total of 41 students different exciting activities i.e. Sports, Painting, Musical performances & Dance followed by lunch. The young activist volunteered their time. They brought sweets and gifts for the students. The volunteers hailed the efforts of the teachers who were making their exceptional contribution in teaching and training them with life skills. Syeda Zahra Ali, a motivational speaker, shared a message that beside the physical challenges she is optimistic and the zeal will never let her stop to achieve the happiness of life. She said that meeting these kids enlightened her in many ways. Mrs. Resha Qadir Bakhsh, Principal of DUMI thanked the Peacebuilding Department – DoR especially Mr. Noman Sajjad and team for their contribution in creating smiles, sharing happiness and love with the students. Amal Sarah, one of the volunteers said that the best way you can help is to provide them unconditional love, support and patience. That is all what they need. Daniel Saleem added that you can also help by spreading the word and sensitizing people on the matters of mental conditions. Sana Jennifer further said that one can help substantially by volunteering as an individual or a group with such institutions and making the lives of the differently abled easier and happier. Their little hugs and kisses were overwhelming and gave a sense of belonging and pure love, a Love regardless of any greed or wants. Sometimes the meaning of Peace can be found in small efforts of Love, Care and Smiles.

Rang De

The peacebuilding department of Diocese of Raiwind Church of Pakistan hosted Holi celebration for Hindu and Sikh community with the theme, ‘Rang de’. More than 180 youth members from 5 different faith communities attended the program. The event was held at 15 Warris road, Lahore on 19 March, 2017. “Celebrating the triumph of ‘good’ over ‘bad’, this colorful festival falls. Songs, water balloons and bright colors are the major highlights of this vivid and lively festival. Bright colored powders, known as ‘Gulal’ are smeared on everyone’s faces accompanied by splashing of colored water. These bright colors are believed to signify energy, life and joy. While everyone is indulged in mouthwatering delicacies.” Roshini Roy, student from GC University said. Bishop Azariah said, “If we want to bring Hindus and other minorities in the mainstream, we should treat them as equal citizens. Our shared culture has been and can continue to be a strong connecting force in this regard.” Holi signifies the arrival of spring, and an opportunity to forget and forgive errors and make new friends. People celebrating the festivity go out and meet others, play and laugh, pay or forgive debts and revisit relationships with people. Also known as ‘the festival of colors’, revelers throw powder at each other, leaving people covered in different colors from head to toe.

Visit to religious institution

The Peacebuilding department of the Diocese of Raiwind organized an interfaith diversity tour program to different religious institution on 11th March, 2017 to experience the plurality in Pakistan. The program was envisioned to promote and build understanding, respect and relationship among people from different religion. The diverse group of more than 24 women visited Krishna Mandir, Gurduwara near Station, Masjid Wazir Khan and St. Andrews Church. The visit concluded with a short talk and feedback session followed by lunch.

Baithak: A Meeting of Peacebuilders

The peacebuilding department of Diocese of Raiwind organized Meeting of Peacebuilders; named as ‘Baithak’ held on the eve of 20 January 2017 at St. Peters School, Waris road Lahore. The meeting was meaningful since it gathered a total of 23 Peace practitioners working in Lahore. This event helped in building a liaison among different organizations working on peacebuilding in different capacities.
The peace activists shared about their ventures and discussed about possibilities for collaboration in future. The participants appreciated the efforts of DoR that provided a safe space in order to learn about social intervention methodologies to face violence and extremism that affects minorities.

Joint Celebration of Religious Events

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.

Social media Activism

The Peacebuilding Department of Diocese of Raiwind, Church of Pakistan organized a one day training workshop on Social Media Activism.
The main objective of the workshop was to highlight the positive and negative use of social media and as a social media activist, how we can make use of social media to address certain issues and raise awareness.
39 young participants from colleges and universities participated in the workshop. Mostly, university students were a part of this activity. 4 people from the transgender community were also present.

Respecting God’s Creation

Dor has stepped another milestone by opening Church doors for the poor and marginalized communities. DOR organized an Iftar in the Holy Month of Ramdan and invited beggars, drug addicts and homeless as a sign of love and affection.

Celebrating diversity

On Friday, July 1, 2016 Dor opened the doors of the Central Cathedral of Praying Hands and invited members of the transgender community of Lahore to break their fast and enjoy an Iftar Dinner. This was an unprecedented step on the part of the Church.