‘Expanding women’s participation in peace-building and recovery is critical to addressing gender-based violations in times of conflict and to advance equality’ Michelle Bachlet. The Peacebuilding Department of Diocese of Raiwind, Church of Pakistan organized a Women Peace Literacy Workshop on 17 February, 2017 at St. Peter’s High School. The theme of the workshop was “Embrace your Power”. The main focus of the training was to empower the university/college students and women from Muslim, Christian and Bahai community to enhance their capabilities through participation, group activities and group presentations on current social pressures on women and how can we overcome such issues for a better present as well as future. Mr. Raheel Sharoon, Ms, Sunila Ammar and Mr. Noman Sajjad were the resource person for the workshop. Mrs. Sunila Ammar conducted a session on role of women in Peacebuilding. She shared a story of the Levite’s Concubine from the Bible. She linked the scenario of the women in the ancient times to the present women and discussed solutions. She also provided information about CEDAW and the Security Council of the United Nations. The women felt challenged and committed themselves to work for peace and harmony in their social circle. A number of 24 women were part of this workshop. The training workshop was a success and a learning platform for the women and they urged to conduct more such activities in which they can “embrace their power” through interaction and fellowship.
Bishop Samuel Azariah, Moderator Church of Pakistan, along with Bishop Irfan Jameel, visited the injured Police Officers and Civilians attacked in the recent suicide bomb attack in Lahore. For the suicide attack a young person aged 12 to 14 years was used and the target was security and police forces. The attack was claimed by radical Islamic terrorist group. The Bishop also visited the family of martyred DIG Capt. Mubeen and prayed with his mother and other family members. Ms Shunila Ruth MPA PTI (Punjab Assembly) also accompanied the Moderator.
On the 8th of February, 2017 The Ambassador of Norway in Pakistan, His Excellency, Mr. Tore Nedrebø paid a reciprocal visit to the Diocese of Raiwind, after the visit of the Presiding Bishop of Norway, Rt. Rev. Helga Haugland Byfuglien and the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Pakistan, His Grace, the Rt. Rev. Samuel Robert Azariah to the residence of the Ambassador in Islamabad.
During the visit hosted by Bishop Azariah, he met parliamentarians, Church workers, Clergy and Heads of Institutions of the Diocese of Raiwind. A variety of issues were discussed, from interfaith work to problems faced by the weak, especially those who are marginalized communities of Pakistan. The Ambassador shared that we should work for peace and betterment of the society.
The Women Department of Diocese of Raiwind organized a meeting with Arch Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien of Norway. The content of the meeting was discussion on economic, social and personal issues faced by women in Pakistan and also on how the Church is tackling with the problems and creating awareness among the less privileged. The meeting started with a prayer by Bishop Samuel Azariah. Bishop Helga was given a gift by the Head of the department Mrs. Alice Garrick. The meeting concluded over tea.
On Sunday 22 January , 2017, New building of The National Church of Pakistan was dedicated. The Moderator Bishop Samuel Azariah along with Bishop Mano Rumalshah did the inauguration of the Church building.
National Church of Pakistan is one of the old Churches of the Diocese. It was derived from St. Peter’s Church, Kot Lakh Pat. The foundation stone of the old building was laid on 20th April 1969, by Rev. Samuel Khokhar, Rev. Victor Jamaludin and Mr. Edward Prashad.
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.