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“A Time for Everything…”

A Letter from Elmarie and Scott Parker, serving in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria

Fall 2023

Write to Elmarie Parker
Write to Scott Parker

Individuals: Give online to E132192 in honor of Elmarie and Scott Parker’s ministry

Congregations: Give to D500115 in honor of Elmarie and Scott Parker’s ministry

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery)


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“What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.”
– T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

Dear partners in ministry,

A year ago I wrote to share about the opportunity for me to participate in an advanced Chaplain Residency with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, specializing in Pediatric Psychiatry. And what a year it has been!

I knew that learning from the top children’s hospital in the nation would exponentially grow my capacity in accompanying and caring for underserved, traumatized children in the Middle East. What I wasn’t prepared for was that accompanying and caring for underserved, traumatized children in the United States would radically expand God’s call on my life.

A significant portion of my work with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital this year has been treating children traumatized by homelessness, and this work has been profoundly fruitful. Eventually, this work put me in contact with Church at the Park (Church@thePark,, a church that exists to embrace, accompany, learn from, and serve the immense population of unhoused persons in the area surrounding Salem, Oregon (30 minutes from where Elmarie’s mom lives).

Church@thePark seeks “…the mutual transformation of unsheltered people, our staff, and our volunteers through relationships, agency partnerships, and tangible resources… Church@thePark seeks to be a peace-maker in our city through the provision of low barrier shelter, person-centered navigation service, and workforce development.”

Sunset Over the Lebanese Coastline

Aware that spiritual care/chaplaincy is a vital piece of accompanying these individuals and families in their journey toward wholeness, I have received and accepted a call by Church at the Park to be their Chaplain/Pastor for Spiritual Care, effective September 5, 2023.

While I will be ending my official employment as a mission co-worker, I am excited that we as a family are not closing the door on the vital work we joined 10 years ago. Elmarie will continue in her capacity as a regional liaison, and we will maintain our residence in Beirut, with Elmarie living there for part of the year and joining me in the U.S. for extended periods throughout the year. In this way, our service through Presbyterian World Mission/Presbyterian Mission Agency will continue, albeit in a different shape.

I will bring with me the many learnings and insights I have gained from working with my World Mission and Presbyterian Mission Agency colleagues as well as our partners at the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) in the context of the Strong Kids, Strong Emotions Program and at Blessed School. My transition out of serving as a mission co-worker comes at a time when both the Strong Kids program with MECC and Blessed School are undergoing leadership changes. So this will provide the incoming leadership of both Strong Kids and Blessed School the freedom to carry forward the best practices I was a part of creating through my service with them, as well as initiate new dimensions to their respective ministries. World Mission will continue to collaborate with both MECC/Strong Kids and Blessed School. So I urge you to continue in your partnership with both of these transformational ministries and continue your prayers for them as they too are navigating times of transition and change.

Sunset over the Oregon Coastline

As you can guess, I am currently filled with both joy and sadness. While you may have many questions and concerns (and I will be glad to respond to them in the coming weeks), for now, I will simply say how deeply, deeply grateful I am that every single beautiful thing that Elmarie and I have experienced over the past decade of mission work has been in partnership with each and every one of you, our beloved friends and partners in the work of Jesus Christ. Thank you for the many ways you have partnered with us, Presbyterian World Mission and the Presbyterian Mission Agency, and our partners in the Middle East.

I invite your continued partnership with Elmarie and me as we navigate this transition in our lives—for Elmarie as she continues to serve as a mission co-worker in the capacity of regional liaison in a new pattern of travel and for me as I begin to step into this new manifestation of God’s call on my life.

Continuing in Christ’s Service together,

Scott (and Elmarie) Parker

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

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