Titus Presler, the Principal of Edwardes College in Peshawar, Pakistan, reports that on February 14th, he was assaulted by several men at the Peshawar Toll Plaza on the M1 motorway outside of town. In the wake of the All Saint’s Church bombing in Peshawar that killed and wounded hundreds of people on September 23rd, 2013, and recent governmental pressure to take control of Edwardes College, Titus reports that he is recovering from his injuries and preparing to take leave:
It’s taken some time to begin reflecting on the incident, but here are some first thoughts.
• When a prayer began pushing up through the shock as we drove away from the scene, it was this: “Friend Jesus, this and so much worse is what your Christian brothers and sisters have been experiencing here in Pakistan for so long. This and so much worse is what your Muslim brothers and sisters and others have been experiencing here for so long. Now I know it first-hand. I’m not thankful for the beating, Friend Jesus, but I am thankful for the knowledge. And for still being alive.”
• Evil exists and has existed ever since the God-inspired evolution of moral choice in human consciousness, for the freedom to choose reflects the freedom of God. Some choose conversation, some choose violence. Some choose to build, some choose to destroy. Some choose to reconcile, some choose to alienate. Some choose truth, some choose falsehood. Some choose to nurture and promote, some choose to dominate and exploit. So it has always been, and so it is now. Being here has reflected a choice to offer experience and vision to build up the Church’s contribution to higher education in a polarized and violent society. I grieve the effects that contrary choices are having on individuals, communities and institutions.
• Mission as solidarity is an existential urgency. Solidarity takes many forms in accord with gift and call – on-site work, visits, correspondence, advocacy, finance, networking. Another form is listening to the experience of local Christians and others on the ground. The solidarity accessible to all of us is the solidarity expressed in prayer. Certainly Christians are called to pray for fellow Christians. Whether you are Christian or Muslim or on another spiritual path, please do pray for the religious minorities and for the religious majority of Pakistan. And for the Church of Pakistan, the Diocese of Peshawar, Bishop Humphrey, Edwardes College, and me.
Grateful for your prayer and care,
Today, March 8, I continue in Islamabad, awaiting Pakistan government documentation that will be valid for travel.
Titus’ full reflection is available here.
Please pray for safety and healing for Titus, his family, for our enemies, and the work of Edwardes College in the Diocese of Pakistan.