Responding to rising violence in Syria
More than 2 million Syrian refugees have fled to five neighboring countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. The ministries of Compassion, Peace, and Justice (CPJ) and World Mission (WM) are responding to the rising violence that has affected nearly 10 million people.
A part of the World Mission ministry area, the Jinishian Memorial Program (JMP) is an ecumenical relief and development agency which "enables Armenians in need to move from poverty and despair to self-sufficiency and hope — through relief, development and spiritual uplift."
UPDATE: February 28, 2014 -PC(USA) leaders briefed in meetings with Syrian, Lebanese partners
Amgad Beblawi, Presbyterian World Mission’s coordinator for the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe, and Laurie Kraus, coordinator of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, recently visited members of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL), a PC(USA) partner, to discuss the humanitarian response to the crisis in Syria. Learn more about the church's role in promoting peace.
January 18, 2014-PC(USA) delegation accompanies Syrian Church partners in meeting with Syrian President Assad to press for peace
Representatives from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) this week visited partner churches and leaders of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon to provide encouragement to sisters and brothers in that region. Learn more now.
PC(USA) leaders briefed in meetings with Syrian, Lebanese partners
Visit to troubled region includes conversation with Bashar al-Assad, Read more
Syrian Christian leaders call on U.S. to end support for anti-Assad rebels
The stories told by five top Syrian Christian leaders about the horrors their churches are experiencing at the hands of Islamist extremists are biblical in their brutality. Read more
Insight into the crisis in Syria
Dr. Mary Mikhael of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon shared information about the Syrian crisis and its effects on our partners and the citizens of Syria. Watch the series of videos to learn more and how you can help.
Photos by Paul Jeffrey, ACT
► How you can help. Ways you can provide relief and seek peace for the people of Syria.
Crisis in Syria: The Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Response
“Let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it.” – 1 Peter 3:11
The following presentations were made at the September 2013 Presbyterian Mission Agency Board Meeting on the crisis in Syria. For the most current information on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) response, please view presentations below. (Click on image to view presentation.)
View the webinar from September 10, 2013, which was hosted by Hunter Farrell, Director of World Mission. The webinar's panelists included Rev. Adeeb Awad, Pastor and Vice-Moderator of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon; Rev. Dr. Riad Jarjour, President of the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue and Pastor in National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon; Rev. Roula Alkhouri, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Batavia, New York; Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); and Amgad Beblawi, World Mission Area Coordinator for the Middle East.
- Read an article from the Presbyterian News Service on the webinar.
Crisis in Syria
Get the latest updates on the ongoing crisis in Syria here.
Presbyterians have been involved in Syria from the early 1800s, when early American Presbyterian missionaries came to the Near East. American Presbyterians took the lead in Syria, as they had in Lebanon, in education, health care and church development. However, most mission work has been united in Syria (and Lebanon) under one mission society, which included Presbyterians from Scotland and Ireland and Lutherans from Denmark. In 1956 the Mission Society of Syria and Lebanon encouraged and helped develop national leadership in the two countries, and the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon was established. The National Synod now is responsible for all churches, schools and hospitals that were under the mission. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) continues its involvement through mission personnel working with the National Evangelical Synod, although there are none currently assigned.
The church and the Arab SPRING
Although the current wave of protests in the Middle East is not an entirely new phenomenon, the beginning of the Arab Spring is said to be December 17, 2010, when a young, unemployed Tunisian man by the name Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself after officials had blocked his attempts to make a living selling vegetables without a permit.
By the grace of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a rich and remarkable history in Syria and Lebanon. Not only has God used Presbyterian Christians to impact thousands of lives in Syria and Lebanon themselves, God has used these Christians to impact countless lives throughout the entire Middle East and far beyond.
Begun in 1823, the NESSL is one of the earliest active and continuing overseas mission outreaches for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).Through this mission Presbyterian churches throughout Syria and Lebanon were planted.The entire Bible was translated into Arabic and printed in that language for the first time.World-class educational institutions were established; for example, the American University at Beirut, Beirut College for Women [now a full university known as Lebanese American University] and some 20 elementary and secondary schools). Health institutions (e.g., Hamlin Hospital) and other ministries were started and have continued to flourish. The 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. Located in a gorgeous area of the mountains east of Beirut, this is the original camp and conference site of the Presbyterian Mission in Syria and Lebanon. The center is now fully renovated after near total destruction during the civil war (when it had been occupied by warring factions). Today the center is throbbing 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 contact Najla Kassab or visit the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon website.
The NESSL also owns and operates Hamlin Hospital, an institution of distinction in the area of health care. Hamlin Hospital was originally an emphysema clinic located in the cool, fresh air of the mountains just east of Beirut. Later Hamlin also developed into a mother and child hospital. During the civil war it served Lebanon as a general emergency hospital. Hamlin Hospital is now reconstituting itself as a specialty hospital for geriatric, nursing and other services in accordance with the emerging needs of its mountainous location.
Near East School of Theology
The Near East School of Theology (NEST) is a high-level theological seminary located in Beirut. With roots tracing all the way back to 1835, NEST was actually founded in 1932 with the merger of two theological schools: one from Turkey and one from Lebanon. From the beginning 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.
The Syria-Lebanon Mission 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 Elmarie Parker.
2014 meeting date: April 3–5, Louisville, Ky.
See the 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, pp. 337, 339