Statement on the Pakistan Attack
By Thomas Kemper
March 28, 2016 — Our prayers mix with a sense of outrage in the wake of the terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan that killed more than 70 persons, many Christians, including 29 children, enjoying Easter Sunday afternoon in a park. Those responsible reportedly claimed to be targeting Christians. How long, O God, how long must the world endure such horror and inhumanity?
We extend our sorrow to the families of those killed, the many injured, and the Church of Pakistan in a never-ending series of violence against the minority Christian community of Pakistan. Again and again we pray for peace, reconciliation, and safety for all the people of that troubled country. While we condemn their actions, we also pray for the perpetrators, asking God to lead them to the righteousness of non-violence.
The United Methodist Church has long worked with the Church of Pakistan, a united Protestant denomination, in ministries including education and humanitarian service. We maintain close ties with individuals and institutions in the church. We hold in high regard its current leader, Bishop Samuel Robert Azariah, and are in touch with him in the aftermath of the Lahore bombing. He stressed that people of multiple faiths were killed and injured in the park.
Christians in Pakistan have endured decades of violence at the hands of extremist factions within the major Muslim population. They endure with a remarkable resilience that should be an example to followers of Jesus Christ everywhere, showing strength in the face of hardship and faith in the love of God in all circumstances.
Thomas Kemper is the General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.