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Syria

For information about Presbyterians serving in Syria, please contact the office for the Middle East and Europe

Click here to donate to PC(USA) partners in Syria as they continue to serve during the current conflict.

News

Middle East partnerships essential to understanding, change: PC(USA) workers find hope in stories and the church following Jesus’ example
Regional liaison tells about “the bravery of the church in action”—those who, instead of fleeing Syria, choose to take care of those in need

March 2015  Syrian Refugee Crisis Near Tipping Point

Feb 2015  A letter from the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon
As our Armenian brothers and sisters are commemorating the Hundred Anniversary of the massacre inflicted on them in early 20th century, we watch with great sadness and are stunned by the news of Christian villages in the Northeast of Syria being criminally attacked by ISIS. We appeal to all who love peace and justice to cry with us to the God of life and hope for this tragedy to come to an end.

Activists warn of end of Christian presence in Middle East as Isis seizes 90 Assyrians

Fears grow for abducted Syrian Christians

Read older news concerning the ongoing crisis in Syria, a call to prayer, and more information  here.

 

Responding to rising violence in Syria 

UNHCR Syria Operations Profile


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. 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.

 

Map or Syria

Background

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.

PC(USA) mission history in Syria (and Lebanon)

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.

Read more for a complete history and overview.


Partner churches

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.).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.

A teacher standing with her young students in a classroom.

Some “Kindergarten 1” students pose for a photo with their teacher at one of NESSL’s schools.

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.

Support PC (USA)'s partnership with the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon.


Partner organizations

A group of students singing on a stage in a church.

Children recite scriptures during a Christmas celebration at one of the NESSL churches.

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.

Support PC(USA)'s partnership with the Near East School of Theology.

Support PC(USA)'s partnerships in the Middle East.


Syria/Lebanon Partnership Network

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.

The way to the watering hole: Syria-Lebanon Mission Network keynote The Presbyterian Outlook

For information, contact Pauline Coffman
2015 meeting date: September 17-19, LPTS Law's Lodge, Louisville, KY


Resources

The Cradle of Our Faith

Syria Lebanon Mission Records


Learn more about Syria

BBC country profile

BBC: The Story of the Conflict

Visit National Geographic’s Syria Guide

Read about Christians in the Middle East (from the BBC)

See further information on the Lebanon page.

See the 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, pp. 350, 351

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Comments

  • Our prayers, heartfelt, are with the Syrians who have suffered the effects of chemical warfare and those seeking to help them. by Ann Livingston on 09/11/2013 at 1:02 p.m.

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