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middle east

Once a refugee, now a hunger advocate

Next to the entrance of Lucy Janjigian’s apartment is a drawing that her granddaughter made. It depicts Janjigian, her granddaughter and the words “My grandmother helps orphans in Armenia. She inspires me to help other people.” Her granddaughter has pigtails. Janjigian has a superhero cape. In real life, Janjigian is a bit of a superhero.

Taking a critical look at ministry can help us avoid being ‘copycats’

Recently, I was invited to share my thoughts on the “big picture” view of my church. I had the honor of sharing in a panel with a group of Presbyterian pastors from the Middle East. As Christians they were the minority in their national culture. As Presbyterians they were the minority among their Christian brothers and sisters. As such, they had to be intentional about nurturing faith in their youth, cultivating character in their families, and making disciples who could be the salt and light in their communities. And though I have no firsthand experience of the lives they live, I was struck by the beauty and challenges they faced in their journey of faith.

School for students with disabilities challenges social stigma in Beirut

Despite its history of civil war and its current challenges with poverty and the refugee crisis, the city of Beirut remains fertile ground for those seeking wealth, status and power. For Muslims and Christians, the cultural ethos of pride/shame places a high value on education, success and providing for one’s family.

Seeking unity in God’s mission

I felt trepidation as I entered the auditorium at the Indonesian Islamic University (UII) in Yogyakarta. More than 500 students filled every seat and many sat on the floor. The women sat on the left and the men on the right. I knew I was not the main attraction. A radical Muslim cleric, who had been in and out of jail, was one of the speakers. Some of his students had been suicide bombers in Bali.

Mosaic of Peace Conference leaves lasting impact on participants

When you sign up to take part in the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program’s Mosaic of Peace Conference, don’t expect a simple tour of historic Biblical sights and generic narrative about the history of the region. Many of those who recently traveled to the Middle East will tell you the conference can be a wake up call.

Presbytery of Philadelphia

Congregation inspired by peacemaker visits

For Ivyland Presbyterian Church, the Middle East was something many members had simply read about or seen on the news. There were no personal connections to the refugee crisis or to displacement of Christians overseas. Members weren’t connected to the trials and tribulations facing people in war-torn regions.