Thanksgiving ceremony marks 51st birthday of CoP

Newly elected Bishop of Karachi signs 50-year-old Bible that carries signatures of all previous and incumbent bishops
A thanksgiving ceremony to mark the 51st birthday of the Church of Pakistan (CoP) was held at the Central Cathedral of Praying Hands in Lahore on Wednesday.
Established in 1970, CoP is a united Protestant church that is part of the Anglican Communion, and a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches as well as the World Methodist Council.
CoP Moderator/President Rt Rev Dr Azad Marshall, bishops from all the dioceses of CoP as well as the entire clergy and a good number of congregations gathered to celebrate the CoP’s 51 years of success, hard work and faithfulness.
The thanksgiving ceremony started with a short prayer by Bishop Marshall, after which he said it was indeed a historical and blessed time for all participants.
“The Holy Bible unites us. Therefore, we must read and follow it,” Bishop Marshall said while also speaking of the patron saint of India, St Thomas, who came to the region to spread the message of Jesus Christ.
“Our church is not just 51, but 2,000 years old,” he said, as he presented to the church an icon of St Thomas he especially brought from Egypt.
He emphasized that every Christian must read the Bible on a daily basis and live their lives according to its teachings. During the introduction, Bishop Marshall also showed participants the Holy Bible signed by all bishops 50 years ago.
The new bishop of Karachi, Rt Rev Fredrick John, was also welcomed on the occasion and asked to sign the Bible.
After the introduction, Rev Emmanuel Khokhar read from the book of Isaiah. The second reading was taken from the book of Psalms and read by Parsica Kamran. The Gospel of St John was read by Bishop Fredrick John.
After the readings, Rev Khokhar invited all bishops to share their thoughts on the historical day.
Bishop of Multan Rt Rev Leo Roderick Paul shared a brief history of the CoP. He was followed by Bishop of Sialkot Rt Rev Alwin John Samuel, who shared about the faith of St Thomas.
Bishop Emeritus Mano Rumalshah emphasised on “metanoia”, saying that people must change their ways to the ones that lead to Jesus.
“Not Church of Pakistan but Christ should be our identity,” he added.
Bishop John said we must not forget to thank God while celebrating this joyous occasion. He also stressed unity, and suggested evaluation of the past 50 years.
Bishop of Hyderabad Rt Rev Kaleem John said that faithfulness was the key to following Jesus. He further said that they should read the constitution of the CoP and act accordingly.
At the end, Holy Communion (breaking of bread) was presided over by Bishop Marshall as the congregation shared the body and blood of Christ.