[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglicans in Pakistan and around the world have expressed shock and sadness after two suicide bombers killed about 80 people and injured 200 at a church in Pakistan.
Within hours of the news of the deadly attack on All Saint’s Church in Peshawar, members of the Anglican Communion had spoken out against the attack, called for prayers, and, in India, even arranged a solidarity march.
On the Peshawar diocese website, Bishop Humphrey Peters condemned the attack and expressed his condolences to all the families who lost loved ones. He appealed for Christians in Pakistan and around the world to pray for the affected families.
In a Tweet, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby wrote, “Peshawar bomb reveals depths of human evil, yet those suffering speak of forgiveness as well as justice. That is the love of Jesus shown.”
He also wrote to the moderator of the Church in Pakistan, offering assurance of his prayers and fullest support. He said, “I am appalled to learn of the attack on All Saints’ Church in Peshawar as people had gathered there to pray. My heart goes out to all those bereaved and injured by this terrible attack. I pray for the peace of Pakistan and the protection of Christ’s people. With the people of Peshawar I join in calling for the Pakistan Government and all people of good will to ensure that communities may go about their daily lives in safety, and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori released a statement saying, “This act of violence is a reminder of the preciousness and fragility of life, and of our interconnectedness. We are all wounded, we have all lost family, friends, and fellow citizens of the world. We will continue to pray for the bereaved, for the injured, for the perpetrators, for their communities, and for this broken world.”
Diocese of South Western Brazil’s Bishop Francisco Silva prayed “that God would console the bereaved and strengthen the faith of those brothers and sisters who suffer the consequences of religious intolerance.”
Bishop of Amritsar in India Pradeep Samantaroy said, “The ghastly killing of Christians in Peshawar is shocking.” He had been unable to talk to Peters but did convey the diocese’s grief and solidarity to Moderator of the Church of Pakistan, Bishop Samuel Azariah.
Samataroy’s diocese also held a candlelight procession and prayer service yesterday evening to express their solidarity with Christians in Pakistan.
On social media, Anglicans and Episcopalians from around the world have been expressing their sympathy to Christians in Pakistan, in particular to a youth officer of the Church Pakistan, Insar Gohar, who was said to have lost his mother and children in the bomb blast.
In Pakistan, Christians affected by the attack expressed not only sadness, but also anger that they had not been afforded better protection against such violence. Peters said, “The attack on All Saint’s Church is the total failure of the new government of KPK and government has failed to provide security to the minorities in Khayber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar Pakistan.”