The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been involved in Lebanon since the early 1800s through missionaries from the Reformed tradition who worked there in education and health care. In 1956 the national church, known as the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, assumed total charge of the ministries of the Presbyterian churches.
Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East in which religious freedom is constitutionally protected.
We continue to support our partners who work in Lebanon in their efforts.
Elmarie and Scott Parker
The regional liaison position for Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq is filled by Elmarie Parker. The heartbeat of her work is to help deepen and strengthen the relational ties between Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) church partners in her region and Presbyterian constituents in the United States. More specifically, she facilitates Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) support for partner programs, relationships and activities, and implements the PC(USA)’s international partnership strategy. She seeks to strengthen healthy, effective and appropriate relationships among entities of the PC(USA) and those of partner denominations and organizations in the region. Additionally, Elmarie supports PC(USA) co-workers serving in this region in communications, information sharing, mentoring/guiding, encouraging, and reflection. Scott uses the medium of written storytelling to work with regional church partners in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq to communicate their experiences and views with U.S. Presbyterians.
Read more about their ministry on their profile page, which you can find here.
National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL)
Begun in 1823, the NESSL is one of the earliest active and continuing overseas mission outreaches for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This mission is responsible for planting churches throughout Syria and Lebanon translating the Bible into Arabic and creating world-class educational institutions. The schools include American University at Beirut, Lebanese American University and some 20 elementary and secondary schools. The Synod established health institutions that still flourish today. The Presbyterian church is challenged with rebuilding its membership after a 17-year civil war in Lebanon and devastating conditions resulting from recurring Middle East conflicts.
The NESSL owns and operates an excellent conference center known as Dhour El Choueir Conference Center. The center is thriving with activities for children, youth, women and families. It is also a popular location for conferences and retreats. The Synod considers Dhour El Choueir Conference Center to be a major locus for continuing education of clergy and laity. (Note: If you would like more information on Dhour El Choueir Conference Center — availability, rates, etc. — please visit the Synod’s web site at http://en.synod-sl.org/.)
Support PC (USA)’s partnership with the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon.
Near East School of Theology
The Near East School of Theology (NEST) is a high-level theological seminary located in Beirut. With roots tracing to 1835, NEST was actually founded in 1932 with the merger of two theological schools: one from Turkey and one from Lebanon. “NEST has always been multi-national, multi-confessional and, multi-cultural,” (George F. Sabra, Truth and Service: A History of the Near East School of Theology, Librarie Antoine: 2009, p. 125) serving Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Lutherans and Episcopalians from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine/Israel, Turkey, Iran and several African nations. NEST is committed to providing top-quality education and training to Arab, Armenian, other Middle Eastern, African and European church leaders. NEST prepares individuals for pastoral, academic and other church leadership positions throughout the region.
Support PC(USA)’s partnership with the Near East School of Theology.
The Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches
The FMEEC is the family of Protestant Churches, which includes primarily the Reformed, Episcopal, Lutheran, Congregational and Methodist churches across North Africa, the Nile Valley (including Egypt and the Sudan), Western Asia (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine), Iran, Iraq and the Gulf States. The contribution of these churches to the larger ecumenical movement is enormously disproportionate to their relatively smaller numbers. In this Fellowship, emphasis is laid on leadership development, Christian unity and service.
The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been a strong partner and supporter of the work of the MECC since its inception in1974. The Council includes all four families of churches in the Middle East, i.e., the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental (non-Calcedonian) Orthodox Churches, the Catholic Churches (Latin and Eastern Rites), and the Evangelical Churches (Reformed, Episcopal, Lutheran and Congregational). It works on issues of church unity, Christian presence in the Middle East, justice, peacemaking and reconciliation, dialogue with non-Christian neighbors, education, nurture and renewal, participation of youth, women and children, life and service, and Palestinian refugees and other displaced persons.
Support PC(USA)’s partnerships in the Middle East.
Regional liaison, Elmarie Parker, Elmarie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Lacey Gilliam, Mission Specialist for the Middle East and Europe, Presbyterian World Mission, email@example.com
The Syria-Lebanon Partnership Network is one among more than 40 networks that connect Presbyterians who share a common mission interest. Most participants are involved in mission partnerships through congregations, presbyteries or synods. Network members come together to coordinate efforts, share best practices, and develop strategies. For information, contact Tim McCalmont at firstname.lastname@example.org.