Bomb blast destroys Pakistani church: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 17, 2010 p 8. September 20, 2010Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Terrorism.
First published in The Church of England Newspaper.
St Paul’s Church in Mardan in Pakistan’s Northwest frontier has been destroyed in a bomb blast.
On the night of Sept 12 at approximately 12:00 midnight a remote-controlled explosive device placed against the wall of the break away congregation of the Diocese of Peshawar detonated, causing one wall of the church to collapse. Two policemen were reported injured in the blast, which sparked panic among revelers in the streets celebrating the second day of the Muslim Eid festival.
Had the bomb exploded during daylight hours, it would have taken a higher toll, police said, as the colonial era church is located next to a school, an open air market and a mosque. No group has so far claimed responsibility, while church sources tell CEN it is unclear whether the media controversy surrounding a proposed Koran burning by a Florida Pentecostal church had any connection to the blast.
Bishop Peter Majeed, rector of St Paul’s, reports that he and his family were not injured.
While Christians have been the target of Taliban violence in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, formerly known as the Northwest Frontier Province, Sunday’s blast was the first attack on a church in several years.
In August 2008, St Paul’s withdrew from the Diocese of Peshawar when Mr. Majeed was consecrated as Bishop of the Northern Diocese Mardan by the former Church of Pakistan Bishop of Karachi, the Rt. Rev. Arne Rudvin.
Bishop Rudvin, who had been the Lutheran Bishop of Mardan before the Lutheran Church joined Anglicans to form the United Church of Pakistan, consecrated Bishop Majeed to re-establish the Lutheran succession in Pakistan. He justified his actions by claiming the Church of Pakistan was corrupt and had succumbed to Western liberalism.
The August 2008 issue of the Diocese of Peshawar newspaper said the attempt to reestablish a Lutheran church in Pakistan was not recognized by the diocese’s European partners. The Danmission, the Norwegian Mission Society, the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission, and the Church of Scotland had “condemned the totally illegal consecration” and did not recognize Bishop Majeed’s claims.
On Sept 7, 2008 Bishop Majeed was installed as bishop and took possession of St Paul’s Church in Mardan, Bishop Rudvin’s former see. On Sept 19, a Pakistani court permitted Bishop Majeed to keep possession of the colonial era church and its adjacent properties. However, the Diocese of Peshawar has appealed the ruling.