LAHORE: The Naulakha Presbyterian Church will this Christmas celebrate 150 years of service in Lahore. Established in 1853 with a modest congregation, today Naulakha boasts one of the oldest and largest congregations in the Punjab. Naulakha Church was set up by the American Presbyterian Church (APC), which later named itself the Lahore Church Council.
The APC gave the city Rang Mahal Mission High School and Forman Christian College. A few years ago, the APC and United Presbyterian Church united to become the Presbyterian Church USA. This was followed in 1992 by a union of the United Presbyterian Church in Pakistan and Lahore Church Council, which was called the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan.
Talking to Daily Times on Saturday, Pastor of the Naulakha Church Reverend Dr Majeed Able said Christianity had been present in the subcontinent for 2,000 years. However, the churches in Pakistan were built in the middle of the 18th century, he said.
Naulakha Church has one of the oldest and biggest congregations. In its last 150 years it has produced many skilled professionals including painters, artists, musicians, poets and writers. And when Naulakha Church celebrates its 150th anniversary, it will remember its sons and daughters and pay tribute to them. Today we remember two of our sons, renowned artist Joseph Scott, whose paintings won awards internationally, and Omar Hayat Omar, who is a poet, writer and journalist.
The Naulakha Church congregation has this year been celebrating 150 years of service, but the celebrations will reach their peak during the Christmas season, he said. On Saturday, the church arranged a poetry reading focusing on Peace, love, religious tolerance and national solidarity. The reading was presided over by journalist and poet Dr Kanwal Feroze and the chief guest was poet turned journalist Dr Ajmal Niazi. Member of the National Assembly Akram Masih Gill also attended the function for a brief period.
The poets who recited their work included Karamat Bokhari, Prof Yousaf Nayyer, Sadiq Jameel, Maqsood Amir, Ijaz Feroze Ijaz, Maseem Tamaar, Fatima Ghazal, Marriam Sarfraz, Younus Sabir, Muztir Kashmiri, Yousaf Naaz, Ashraf Gill Daskavi, Anwar Sajjad and Asnath Kanwal.
Dr Sarfraz read a paper on Joseph Scott while Dr Feroze talked about Omar Hayat Omar. In his brief address on love and religious tolerance, Dr Feroze cited examples from history where Muslims and Christians got along well. Dr Niazi spoke on the same subject. Asnath Kanwal conducted the sitting.