News on the Crisis in Syria from World Mission and the Synod of Syria and Lebanon
Dr. Mary Mikhael of the Synod of Syria and Lebanon will be traveling to the United States in September and October to discuss the Syrian crisis and its effects on our partners. To invite her to speak with your congregation, please call (502)569-5324.
Syria civil war forces Sunni and Shiite Muslims to pick sides
The war is increasingly threatening a regionwide conflict and pitting world powers against each other and Muslim against Muslim
Syrian Christians in the midst of crisis, a message from the Synod of Syria and Lebanon
Stated Clerk writes letter to Secretary of State (2/26/13)
Syria-Lebanon Synod struggles to meet humanitarian needs as war rages
Mary Mikhael, retired president of the Near East School of Theology, is in the United States to spread the word about how the Synod is responding to the violence and turmoil in Syria (Feb 2013)
Aleppo under siege: Amid a civil war that is taking a huge toll on Syria's Christian community, leaders of the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Synod of Syria and Lebanonare asking Christians around the world to pray for peace and to help the synod with relief efforts. Contribute to the synod via Presbyterian World Mission. Read more
Presbyterian Mission Agency board receives letter from the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon
View a photo gallery of Syria's civil war on The Atlantic web site.
Please be advised that some of these images are disturbing.
General Assembly Resolution 15-12: On Prayer and Action for Syria
The situation for Christians in the Middle East has "never been worse," says the General Secretary of the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches
Future uncertain for Syrian Christians, Syrian Presbyterian church leader says
Dagher urges American Presbyterians to advocate for non-intervention by the U.S.
Support the outreach ministries of the Synod of Syria and Lebanon
Join the PC(USA) and the Synod of Syria and Lebanon as we pray in solidarity with Syrian Christians who have lost so much to the war. Encourage others to join in this effort by ordering a handmade Syrian cross from the Middle East office. Share this with your congregation, presbytery and others in your community as you invite them to remember our brothers and sisters who are living in a state of violence and uncertainty.
To order a cross, please contact Rylan Truman at (502)569-5324 or email@example.com .These crosses are free; however, for orders of five or more crosses we recommend that you make a donation to support the outreach ministries of the Synod of Syria and Lebanon.
Church leaders call for prayer after kidnapping of Syrian Christian leaders
April 23, 2013
View this call to prayer and share with your congregation, friends, and family.
Call to prayer for the people of Syria and the Synod of Syria and Lebanon
November 15, 2012
Presbyterian World Mission asks for prayer for members of the Presbyterian Synod of Syria and Lebanon and all Syrians who continue to suffer from the violence of civil war.
As the armed conflict in Syria spreads and intensifies, more and more Christian communities are becoming targets of rebel attacks. In recent letters to World Mission, Syrian churches have reported several kidnappings of Christians, including the director of the Syrian Bible Society and several clergy members. It is now common practice for rebels to seize Christian property as they move their troops through the country, and many churches have been destroyed by heavy bombing and mortar attacks.
In the city of Homs alone, five churches have been completely destroyed with six more sustaining heavy damage. Last week the Presbyterian Church in Aleppo lost two-thirds of its building due to a bomb attack. As a local pastor states, “Losing a church building has significant impact on a congregation. But when your historical church is intentionally destroyed… this sends a very clear message to Christians in the Middle East.”
Local Christians emphasize that the official Syrian Army has not destroyed any churches. Rather, rebel groups and Jihadist fighters who make up the so called Syrian Free Army are responsible for the attacks on Christians and churches. What started as a non-violent movement for basic rights in March of 2011 has since spiraled into a civil war after being hijacked by armed groups, including some radical Islamists.
The Presbyterian Synod of Syria and Lebanon has been addressing the humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons by providing food, medical supplies, shelter and pastoral care.
Presbyterian World Mission, in solidarity with our partner churches in Syria and Lebanon, urge all Presbyterians to pray for an end to the fighting and advocate for a peaceful solution. Please pray that God will instill a feeling of hope in the lives of those who have lost so much.
To support the ministries of the Synod of Syria and Lebanon, click here.
If you would like to support humanitarian relief efforts, please give to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance by clicking here.
Download a PDF of this call to prayer and share with your congregation, friends, and family.
Syria’s “Arab Spring” events started in March 2011 in the city of Deraa and spread rapidly throughout the country. People took to the streets spontaneously, and were quickly joined by dissidents – at first mostly secular, intellectual liberals – who had been planning a revolt for a few years. Peaceful demonstrations were calling for political freedom, an end to corruption, action on poverty and the lifting of an emergency law. The Assad regime’s response included promises of reforms (which were perceived by some as empty slogans, while others welcomed the promises) on the one hand, and brutal suppression of protests on the other hand.
The atmosphere of protests and brutal government response provided an opportunity for several opposition groups to not only join in the protests, but to hijack what started as peaceful calls for reforms. These opposition groups (some heavily armed) include Islamists as well as secular groups and Army defectors. Different opposition groups are supported by different Middle Eastern countries (such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar) and other forces such as Al Qaeda. Some reports have documented the smuggling of arms via Lebanon to insurgents and militia in Syria. Two opposition groups – the Syrian National Council and the Syrian Free Army – have been given refuge in Turkey. The Assad regime is supported by many in Syria’s two largest cities, Damascus and Aleppo.
Assad is from the minority Alawite sect (an offshoot of Shia Islam) and still has many supporters, especially among minorities. The biggest protests have been in Sunni-majority areas. More recently, clashes between opposition groups and the regime have intensified, particularly in the city of Homs and Aleppo. Some analysts are warning that the current civil war in Syria could turn into a sectarian war. Innocent civilians, including Christians, are suffering. A few thousand have fled to neighboring countries, and more have become internally displaced. The United Nations reported that as many as 30,000 Syrians have been killed, including security forces and Army personnel.
The United States and European Union have imposed sanctions on the Assad regime, but Russia and China have blocked a Western-sponsored draft resolution at the UN. Instead, Russia and China support a mediated domestic political process and cessation of violence by all perpetrators in Syria, and back Assad’s call for reforms. The international community’s efforts to secure a peaceful resolution to the crisis have failed thus far. Interferences by other Middle Eastern and Western countries have exacerbated the situation.
Syrians are bewildered as to why they are made to pay for an international desire to isolate Iran. They fear outside interference would fuel a civil war that could turn into a sectarian war. The Lebanese civil war just a generation ago is still vivid in their memory. They also dread the possibility of a similar outcome to that of the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq. In a meeting of the heads of churches of Syria on 15 December, the patriarchs "rejected all sorts of foreign intervention from any foreign party."
After reading the shocking news of the atttacks on Christian churches in SyriaI will pray in a way similar to Zechariah in Luke 1 that God would, 'give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”