Churches in the Middle East re-affirm their commitment to peace
At the significant event of the 10th General Assembly of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), Christians in the Middle East renewed their commitment to unity, dialogue and peace amidst varied political developments in the region, as well as elected a new general secretary.
The assembly was held from 20-30 November in the ancient city of Paphos and was hosted by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus.
Participants addressed the theme “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart” (Acts 4:32) relevant to the churches in Middle East and beyond.
“In these critical historical moments, which your region and churches are going through, you could not have found a more pertinent and inspiring theme for your assembly, than the one you have chosen, which expresses diversity in unity,” said the World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, in his message for the MECC assembly.
Churches from various Christian traditions, including Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Evangelical and Catholic churches participated in the assembly.
Together they elected Fr. Dr Paul Rouhana from the Maronite (Catholic) Church in Lebanon, as general secretary to serve for the next four years. Rouhana was the former dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Holy Spirit University in Kaslik, Lebanon.
A communiqué issued at the end of the assembly also highlighted “churches’ commitment to participate in the building of a new future for the Middle East.”
“Churches call upon all the faithful to hold steadfast to their hope in the peaceful coexistence of the peoples of the Middle East. Thus they support the recent and ongoing movements of reform, change and development for the common good of humanity,” states the communiqué.
While expressing solidarity with the Middle Eastern churches, Tveit also stressed that, “ecumenical family has always regarded your region with a special interest because the faith that it holds has its roots here.”
“Your continuous presence and active participation in the life of the different societies to which you belong have been a remarkable witness to the Christian faith,” he added.