(Photo: Reuters/Mohsin Raza)
Anglican leaders from across the globe have expressed sorrow for the victims of the bombing of an Anglican church in Pakistan in which more than 80 worshippers were killed and some 200 more were injured on Sunday.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the 77-million strong Anglican Communion, commented on Twitter about the tragedy at All Saint's Church in Peshawar.
"Peshawar bomb reveals depths of human evil, yet those suffering speak of forgiveness as well as justice. That is the love of Jesus shown," wrote Welby.
The Archbishop also wrote Monday in a statement calling for "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," said Welby. "Please be assured of my prayers and fullest support as you provide leadership and care for your people at this difficult time."
The Anglican Church in North America provided The Christian Post with the following statement from Archbishop Robert Duncan:
"Two Islamist suicide bombers brought death to scores of Christian men, women and children, and wounding and grievous loss to scores more. Our heart goes out to our brothers and sisters of the Church of Pakistan, and to all other people of good will. Our prayers for the Pakistani people and nation deepen day by day. These are our friends, whom God loves, and for whom He sent his Son."
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, released a statement hours after the attack calling for prayer:
"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. May all the faithful departed rest in peace, and may God receive them with arms of mercy and compassion."
Open Doors USA, a persecution watchdog group, ranked Pakistan number 14 on its list of the fifty nations most hostile to Christianity. "Christians are caught between Islamic militant organizations, an Islamizing culture and a weak government with a military complicit in fuelling Islamic militants," reads an entry on Open Doors' website. "Many persecuted Christians are uneducated manual workers who suffer unfair treatment from employers. Muslim men continue to sexually assault underage Christian girls. Opening a new church building is virtually impossible and emigration of Christians continues."
This is not the first time churches have been targeted with bombs in Pakistan. In Sept. 2010, St Paul's Church in Mardan was destroyed via a bomb blast. Two policemen were injured in that incident.