The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) partners with and supports the congregations in Iraq. PC(USA) currently has two mission co-workers serving in Iraq, and a regional liaison who visits there regularly. Many PC(USA) congregations and individuals coordinate their efforts through the Iraq Partnership Network. The PC(USA) also helps Iraqi churches connect with other Presbyterian churches in the region, such as the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt, the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, and the Reformed Church in Kuwait.
Iraq needs our continued support and help to continue a lengthy and historic tradition of mission work in this country. Iraq contains some of the oldest organized churches in the world. Iraqi Christians were pioneers in spreading the gospel to China, India, Persia and Arabia. However, in modern times, political changes, social changes, two major wars, and persecution have led many Iraqi Christians to emigrate from the country. Since the 8th Century Christians have been a minority in Iraq, but the precipitous decline of Christians in Iraq over the last 25 years—especially since 2003—now threatens the very existence of Christianity in Iraq.
Evangelical (Presbyterian) Church of Iran
The Evangelical Church of Iran may be traced to the earliest days of Presbyterian overseas missionary activity. Today this small but vital church makes its witness through three language-aligned presbyteries: Armenian, Assyrian and Persian. Its current pastors receive their theological education by extension. A few are graduates of (or are studying at) the Near East School of Theology. In recent years the church, together with other Christian churches, has been engaged in a series of healthy Christian-Muslim dialogues facilitated by the semi-governmental Islamic Organization for Christian-Muslim Relations based in Tehran.
The Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC), and the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) have provided an arena for familial and ecumenical participation for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Iran, which might have otherwise been somewhat isolated from its sisters in the region.
Elmarie Parker, Regional Liaison, Presbyterian World Mission, Elmarie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Lacey Gilliam, Mission Specialist for the Middle East and Europe, Presbyterian World Mission, email@example.com
Iraq Partnership Network
The Iraq Partnership Network continues the long history of Protestant activities that began in 1830 with European and American Christians living in the areas of the Ottoman Empire known as Mesopotamia. During the 20th century Presbyterians, together with the Reformed Church in America and the United Church of Christ, cooperated in the United Mission in Iraq. The network’s vision is to continue this tradition of cooperation with the RCA and UCC by raising the voices of Reformed churches to work toward God’s just peace in Iraq.
The Iraq Partnership Network is among more than 40 mission 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 more information, contact Lacey Gilliam, Mission Specialist for the Middle East and Europe, Presbyterian World Mission, firstname.lastname@example.org.