[Episcopal Diocese of Texas] The Diocese of Peshawar in Pakistan is looking after minority internally displaced persons (IDP) after large groups of citizens in the northern Waziristan region sought shelter during the government’s ongoing fight against the Taliban. So far, the diocese has received 72 Christian, Hindu, Sikh and a few Shia Muslim families into its Bannu camp, with more expected.
The permanent camp is set up at a local high school where the diocese looks after the families’ physical and spiritual needs. Diocesan clergy are on site to provide spiritual counseling.
Diocese of Peshawar has three churches in Bannu, a school and a hospital that are all being used to meet the IDP’s needs. On top of caring for the minority displaced families, the diocese also sends resource teams to help care for many Muslims who are also displaced.
The operation in North Waziristan, launched by the Pakistani Army, has caused nearly half a million people, many Christians among them, to seek refuge elsewhere.
Last year, All Saints Church in Peshawar was the site of a suicide bombing that killed at least 78 people in the church and left scores injured. The diocese has since partnered with the Church of Scotland to support families affected by the bombing.
One of the eight dioceses making up the Church in Pakistan, the Diocese of Peshawar was one of the first to respond to an Afghan refugee influx, providing medical teams and relief operations. The Diocese of Peshawar serves roughly 100,000 Christians in the region, with 50 percent coming from the Church of Pakistan.
On June 8, a special interdenominational worship celebration was held at the United Church, University Campus Peshawar to celebrate Pentecost Day. The Rt. Rev. Humphrey S. Peters attended the celebration where more than 500 people gathered to hear his message of unity.
The diocese also recently hosted a camp where 60 children and 35 teachers gathered from all over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province for teaching and storytelling about spiritual growth in Jesus Christ.