“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
Bishop John Victor Samuel, age 87, one of the pioneers of the Church of Pakistan and a towering ecumenical stalwart, passed away in Multan, Pakistan on 30 August. His funeral was held in Multan on 2 September.
Bishop Samuel was a loving and wise peacemaker, with his feet firmly placed on the ground, serving churches and people in Pakistan and all over the world for over 50 years. His life was profoundly influential and a shining witness for peace and harmony across regional and religious divisions in community. From his student days as a Christian leader, he took on the mandate of general secretary of the Pakistan’s Student Christian Movement and went on to be president of the National Council of Churches in Pakistan. As an ordained minister of the Methodist Church, and as the first Pakistani Bishop of the Methodist Church, he dedicated his life and service to the people and churches in Pakistan till his last day, as he mentored and developed future Asian ecumenical leadership, throughout his career.
Between 1973 and 1977 he was a member of the Presidium of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), and from 1990 to 1995, he led the CCA as its fifth general secretary. He served as a member of the Central Committee of the the World Council of Churches (WCC) and was moderator of the WCC’s Commission on Interchurch Aid, Refugee and World Service.
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of WCC said: “Bishop John Victor Samuel lived his commitment for peace, unity and harmony, by working tirelessly for interfaith relations, as well as for the unity of Christians in Pakistan and beyond. He will continue to be a brilliant role model for all us, showing us how to ensure the vitality and relevance of churches in people’s lives.”
Bishop Samuel is survived by his wife Shirin, daughter Anjum, and sons Ajmal Arjmand, and Amjad.