By Love Serve One Another

Jesus said: Happy are the peacemakers . . .you are the salt of the earth  . . .  you are the light of the world  Matthew 5:9, 13, 14 

By Love Serve One Another
Motto of Forman Christian College, Lahore, Pakistan

This week, National hosts a meeting of the board of Friends of Forman Christian College – our first official “outside engagement” in our newly renovated facilities.
 
Forman is an 8,400-student school and college (11th grade through graduate school) located in Lahore (population 11m), and established by American Presbyterian missionary, Charles Forman, in 1864. For over 150 years, Forman has educated many of Pakistan’s leaders, including presidents, prime ministers and federal judges, and has been a bridge between the Muslim and Christian communities in a nation that is 96% Muslim.
 
My association with Forman began 20 years ago when members of a former congregation received Fulbright scholarships to teach there soon after it had been returned to the Presbyterian church following  a 30-year period of government control. More recently, in February, 2019, I had the privilege of traveling to Lahore with a group of pastors from churches that supported Forman, and in the Fall of 2019, I joined the board of “Friends of Forman Christian College” – the American support group for the college.
 
National has supported the mission of Forman over many years in our annual mission budget, as well as through a large grant in 2012-2015, exceeding $200,000, from the bequest of NPC members, John and Dorothy Shaw. Our ongoing support largely sustains scholarships for the minority Christian population (less than 1.5%) who tend to be among the poorest in the nation of 226,000,000. In the student body, the proportion of Christian students increases to 12-15% — leading to relationships between Christians and Muslims that simply would not exist outside the bounds of the college. Another set of new relationships is created by Forman’s inclusion of women in both the faculty and student body. 40% of the college population are women in a country that the World Economic Forum describes as near the bottom of the list with respect to women’s education. Outside Forman, relationships between young men and women at an academic or professional level are rare.
 
In October 2020, Dr. Jonathan Addleton became the new president of the college. Dr. Addleton served previously with USAID and the State Department, serving in countries as varied as Jordan, South Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, India, Yemen and Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan he survived a suicide bombing where five of his colleagues died. Dr. Addleton concluded his government service as US Ambassador to Mongolia. Dr. Addleton grew up in Pakistan, the son of missionaries, knows the language (Urdu) and loves the people. At present Dr. Addleton is leading the college through issues relating to Covid as well as through an accreditation process with the New England college accreditation body. Recognition of the college as meeting all American standards would be a significant step forward.
 
My own involvement will continue after my retirement — presently I am Vice-Chair of the Board of Friends of Forman, and am slated to be the chair in 2023.
 
Do check out the website or try out a YouTube video created by Forman students this year. And remember the Serve page of our website…And keep Forman and the many outreaches of NPC in your prayers.
 
Glad to be your pastor,