Our Friends in The Diocese of Peshawar, Pakistan Need Our Help

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From the Diocese of Peshawar website:

All Saints’ Church, Inside Kohati Gate, Peshawar, Pakistan became a target of terrorism today. As the Sunday Service ended and the people came out of the Church, two suicide bombers entered the church compound from the main gate and blew themselves up in the midst of the people. According to the media more than 60 people were killed and more than 135 are injured. The number of dead is expected to rise. Media channels are reporting that the hospitals are overwhelmed with the numbers of the injured. As I spoke to one of a perish member in All Saints’ Church, he said he has lost his aunty and nephew in this attack. According to those we have spoken to, among the dead were a number of Sunday School children and Choir members of the Church who were all in the Church compound at the moment of the blasts.

The Rt Rev Humphrey S. Peters, Peshawar has condemned the suicide attack on All Saint’s Church and expressed his condolences to all the families who have lost their loved ones. He said that 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. He appealed to the all Chirsitan Community in Pakistan and around the world to pray for the affected families.

The Rev. Reagan Cocke, the associate rector of St. John the Divine Houston requests your help. Checks can be made payable to Bridges to Pakistan, a registered 501 (c)(3) organization. All donations are tax-deductible and should be mailed to Bridges to Pakistan c/o The Rev. Reagan Cocke, 2450 River Oaks Blvd, Houston, TX 77019. Contact Cocke at rcocke@sjd.org for further information or call him at 713.354.2229.

Diocese of Peshawar includes Kabul

After almost three decades of war and an oppressive regime, Afghanistan remains extremely poor and highly dependent on foreign aid. Girls and women continue to suffer the most. Because girls were denied education under the Taliban regime, the female literacy rate is 4% to 14%. Afghanistan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world — on average one Afghan mother dies in childbirth every half-hour.

Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with Afghans4Tomorrow, a non-profit, non-political organization, to rebuild the health care system and empower young women through education and skills training. Click here to see the PBS special about Afghan women’s education programs, featuring Afghans4Tomorrow.

Promoting Health and Fighting Disease
  • Episcopal Relief & Development is providing financial and staff support to the Sheik Yassin Health post, which is the only medical facility in the Chak district.  It will serve 2000 residents and provide 24-hour medical services.
  • The organization will also support a district hospital in an extremely dangerous and medically underserved area. A female surgeon provides much-needed OB/GYN care.
Creating Economic Opportunities and Strengthening Communities

· At the A4T1 Girls School in an impoverished suburb of Kabul, vocational training provides girls with skills and opportunities to earn an income. An intensive study program allows the girls to gain admission into secondary schools by successfully completing the curriculum established by the Ministry of Education.

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Bishops Visit Houston

On Monday February 14th, 2011 Bishop Mano Rumalshah spoke at the “Healing the Brokenness” breakfast hosted by Pleasant Hill’s Pastor Clements. Bishop Mano talked about the theology of “Radical Love and Hospitality.” A central image he describes is of God reaching down to all of creation with an embrace manifest in Jesus Christ. God’s love so great, He through Jesus Christ stretched out His arms wide to embrace the whole world and reconcile us to himself.

As Christian’s we have the opportunity and responsibility to be God’s arms embracing “the other” even if it is our enemy. Bishop Mano spoke of how the Christians of Pakistan do just that through their health centers and schools. He concluded his talk reminding us that before Paul was known as the disciple he was Saul of Tarsus, one who killed and persecuted the Christians.

On Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 Bishop Humphrey Peters spoke to the youth and Wednesday bible study group of Pleasant Hill Baptist. Ironically the youth of Pleasant Hill and the Christians of Pakistan have much in common. They both live in a war zone, where life is lost weekly with little to no news coverage. They both live in a place where Christian principles are lived out in the margins of society. The most significant thing they have in common is they are both a small group or remnant of believers who worship a Mighty God who works miracles. God is very clearly at work in both these communities in spite of the violence which dominates their landscapes.

On Thursday, February 17th, 2011 Both Bishop Humphrey Peters and Bishop Mano Rumalshah spoke at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Texas Heart Institutes Denton A. Cooley Auditorium on “Spirituality and Health” as guests of St. Luke’s Chaplaincy Department and the Institute for Spirituality and Health. According to the Bishops, in Pakistan, there is no separating health care and spirituality — they go hand-in-hand. For both Muslims and Christians, prayer is central to their way of life and their way of caring for the sick. The Mission hospitals staff seek to serve God’s people no matter who they are because this is what it is to love and care for their neighbors.

A man in the audience was a Muslim doctor from the Lahore, Pakistan. He stood during the question and answer segment of the program and attested to the mission hospital’s good service to all in their region of Pakistan. Oddly, this man’s lab services one of the Diocese of Peshawar’s Mission hospitals. He was thrilled to meet folks from home a world away in Houston, Texas.