Middle East Council of Churches
At its first General Assembly in Nicosia, Cyprus (May, 1974), the Middle East Council of Churches was formed at the conclusion of a series of successful discussions between the Orthodox churches in the Middle East (both Eastern and Oriental) and the Protestant and Episcopal members of the Near East Council of Churches. The MECC is unique among regional ecumenical councils. It represents the advancement of ecumenism in a way not found anywhere else. At the Fifth General Assembly of 1990, the seven Catholic churches of the Middle East joined the council as its fourth family. This symbolically completed the square of wholeness and made the council a fully inclusive body. The Middle East Council of Churches is a fellowship of 27 member churches gathered in four families–Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Evangelical, and Catholic. Spanning the Middle East and North Africa from Algeria to Iran, 12 to 15 million Christians are thus represented in this all-inclusive Council. The Council has several units and programs, including the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees, and the Inter-Church Network for Development & Relief in Lebanon (ICNDR).