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Message from the President

Bishop Philip Huggins

The National Churches of Pakistan have requested a Pastoral Solidarity visit, through the Christian Conference of Asia.

It is next week in Lahore, city of the terrible Easter Sunday terrorism this year.

I am part of the small delegation, having tried to support the Pakistani Australian Christian community with Church services, CBD rallies, advocacy to Government as regards both their refugees as well as the misuse of “blasphemy" laws and other human rights violations .We have also been supporting some Pakistani Christians who have sought asylum in Sri Lanka and Thailand.

I have never been there before but always felt drawn: through the people I have met; the history of partition from India, the Commonwealth connection; watching Imran Khan twirling his bat as he came out to play a match - winning innings in the World Cup Final at the MCG!

Simple and complex things make up a sense of connection.

In the post 9/11 world it is the plight of minority Christian churches amidst Islamic terrorism that deepens the connection.

All of us have to live now with the threat that some fanatic, pumped up with lies, will plan to kill innocent people .Going to the MCG for the Grand Final on Saturday is very different now from when Imran Khan came out twirling his bat.

But in some places the threat is so much worse .Pakistan is one of them, as we have seen.

I am going with great support from the Pakistan High Commission (whose senior leaders have attended our Services after massacres), as well as from our own Department of Foreign Affairs. Last Sunday parishioners in the small country Church of the Epiphany in Meredith prayed for our visit: that it brings comfort and encouragement; that it be safe...

I shall share some reflections upon my return. It is one thing to have to live in Pakistan as a disciple of Jesus .It is another thing to have a return air ticket.

When I took some Pakistani Australian Christian leaders to see our Foreign Minister she asked, after listening carefully, how many Christians in Pakistan would want to come here as refugees. They said to her: "All of them"!

This is obviously not possible. But at least we can support them with tangible acts of prayerful solidarity, such as with next week’s visit.

The world is full of tears and traumatised people. In the healing power of our Risen Jesus, we pray for peace and justice in the whole human family.

Bishop Philip Huggins

President

National Council of Churhes in Australia

 

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