Middle East Initiative Webinars
Global Ministries is hosting a series of Webinars as part of the Middle East Initiative, in which partners and mission personnel will offer perspectives on the country, the context in which they are carrying out their witness and work, and the ways they engage that context. These Webinars will take place on the second Monday of each month for the duration of the Initiative.
Each webinar will also be recorded for later viewing.
Mitri Raheb – December 19
The Webinar will focus on the situation of the Palestinian Christian community, their denominational composition, numbers, and challenges they face today. Issues related to identity, political and social involvement will be highlighted. The emergence and development of a Palestinian contextual theology will be another highlight.
The Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb is pastor of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, and President of the Diyar Consortium. He is the preeminent Palestinian Christian contextual theologian and is author of several books including, most recently, Faith in the Face of Empire.
Mira Rizek – November 14
Mira Rizeq, National General Secretary of the YWCA of Palestine, will be sharing a brief background on the Middle East and how it has shaped the current situation in Palestine. Her presentation will highlight the programs and advocacy work of the YWCA, and how the Israeli occupation impacts the lives of Palestinian women and children.
Mira has over 30 years of experience in development, human rights and advocacy in Palestine and in the Middle East. She has worked with Save the Children U.S.A. in Palestine, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as Team Leader for the Rural Development Program in Palestine, and then managed the Palestine NGO Project funded by the World Bank for several years. She has been the National General Secretary at the YWCA of Palestine since April 2006. Her passion is for music and advocacy work. She has joined many music groups as a composer/singer and pianist.
Ms. Wafa Goussous is the Director of the Orthodox Initiative of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and the Middle East Council of Churches Liaison Officer for Jordan. In this webinar, Wafa will share about Jordan, the Christian presence there, and about the Orthodox Initiative’s work with Syrian and Iraqi refugees, in response to the humanitarian crisis they are facing as a result of the war in Syria and the impact in Iraq.
The Middle East Council of Churches and the Orthodox Initiative
We Are Present
Betty & Ken Frank – August 8
Americans are increasingly hearing about events in Turkey–huge numbers of Syrian refugees, terrorist attacks, political polarization, and so on. What may not be well known is that the historical component bodies of what is today Global Ministries first lived and worked in Turkey starting in 1820, when the area was part of the Ottoman Empire. Dramatic changes over two centuries featuring wars, catastrophes, revolutions, and large population movements, as well as the establishment of the secular Republic of Turkey with its vision of universal education and health care, deeply altered how American missionaries continued to work there.
Betty and Ken Frank first went to Turkey in 1982, to a Turkish high school founded and administered by earlier missionaries but operating under secular regulations in a Muslim culture. In the ensuing 30 years this school and others were handed over to a secular Turkish philanthropy made up of the graduates of this and other such schools. The webinar surveys the history and legacy of this long interaction between American missionaries and Ottoman and Turkish citizens. It’s meant to provoke thinking about what’s involved when members of our American churches want to reach out to those in other countries.
Betty and Ken Frank are now retired from Global Ministries and living in Claremont, California, USA. They worked for most of their adult lives in school teaching, administration, and libraries both in Zambia and in Turkey. In their later years in Turkey, they served refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants from a variety of countries.
Tyler Reeve – July 11
Morocco is less than 10 miles from mainland Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar. In addition, there are two Spanish enclaves along the north of Morocco, representing rare land borders between Africa and Europe. This unique geography makes Morocco a hotbed of activity in the migration crisis that has been garnering more and more attention in the Western world in the last few years. This webinar will take a brief look at this crisis and the Protestant Church’s efforts to help those involved.
Tyler Reeve has served through Global Ministries as a Global Missions Intern with the Protestant Church in Morocco (EEAM) since 2014. His work there has touched on many aspects of the unique life of this church, including issues surrounding migration, cultural and theological diversity, and Muslim-Christian relations.
Karen Thomas Smith – June 14
Karen Thomas Smith, of the Protestant Church in Morocco (EEAM), will speak about being Church at the Crossroads, north/south (where Africa meets Europe) and east/west (where orient meets occident). She will also be sharing the mission and vision of the EEAM and the challenges that it faces as it seek to be the presence of Christ in our Muslim context — how we live our everyday dialogue with Muslim neighbors and who we work together for change with Muslim partners.
Since 2002, Karen has been a pastor and leader in the Protestant Church in Morocco (EEAM). In September 2015, she was elected president of the EEAM. She is also president of CEI, the church’s ministry with refugees and migrants, and co-president (with the Catholic archbishop) of the Al Mowafaqa Ecumenical Theological Institute. Karen serves on the National Council of Churches of Morocco and works nationally and internationally on Christian-Muslim relations.
Mona Zaghrout-Hodali and Janet Wright – May 26
Mona Zaghrout-Hodali and Janet Wright will discuss the work of our Global Ministries partner in the West Bank, the East Jerusalem YMCA, and a recent training in treating psychological trauma in Gaza. The East Jerusalem YMCA is a vibrant and integral part of the Palestinian social movement and a leader among Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations. As a member of the World Alliance of YMCAs, the EJ-YMCA is committed to a unique vision of community, based on the universal values of human dignity, peace, and justice.
The EJ-YMCA was established in 1948 in a tent in Aqabat Jaber Refugee Camp, near Jericho. The EJ-YMCA Rehabilitation Program in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, was launched in 1989 in response to the needs of persons with disability, as well as the injured and traumatized survivors of political violence. Today, the EJ-YMCA operates a variety of programs and activities consistent with its vision to respond directly to the needs of people within all sectors of Palestinian society without discrimination. Offices are located in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Aqabat Jaber Refugee Camp near Jericho, Beit Sahour/Bethlehem, Nablus and Salfit, Hebron, Jenin and Toubas,Tulkarem and Qalqilya.
George Sabra – May 16
Join Dr. George Sabra, President of the Near East School of Theology for a webinar on Lebanon and its important role for Christianity in the region.
Ariel Royer – April 18
Ariel Royer served with Global Ministries as a Global Mission Intern in Jordan, Israel/Palestine, and Lebanon from 2013-2015. In her work with five different partners of Global Ministries she was engaged in the fields of refugee relief, human rights, and the theology of non-violence.
For the last seventy years, Lebanon has been host to approximately 1/2 million Palestinian refugees, a community that continues to hope for the right to return home. In the last several years, refugees from Syria have fled to their neighboring country of Lebanon and now number more than 1.8 million. This webinar will examine the substantial impact of Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
Hind Khoury – March 21st
The Kairos Palestine call of Palestinian Christians provides a Christian and human answer to how peace can be built, reached and maintained; a peace that accepts the other and a resistance to evil based on love and non-violence. However, the key is in the true adherence to the tenants of our faith, the tenants of justice and love, and the focus on concerted and effective action. This is to be promoted among the Palestinians themselves, the people of the land and guardians of traditions, but more importantly by international partners of goodwill, first and foremost the global Church.
Hind Khoury serves as the General Secretary of Kairos Palestine. She is a development expert, and previously served as the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and as the Ambassador of Palestine to France.
Hagai El-ad – March 14th
There is great diversity in opinion among Israelis about the occupation. Join us to hear from Hagai El-Ad, Executive Director of B’Tselem: The Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Mr. El-Ad has stated, “the fight against [the occupation] is more crucial than ever – a fight in which B’Tselem plays a major strategic role. There is no doubt in my mind that human rights cannot be upheld under an oppressive regime of ongoing occupation and dispossession.”
Hani Riad – February 8th
Hani Riad works with the Bishopric for Public, Ecumenical, and Social Services (BLESS) of the Coptic Orthodox Church. His presentation will include a brief overview of the history BLESS and the ministries that provide for 90,000 individuals in Egypt.
Rev. Dr. Andrea Zaki – February 5th
Rev. Dr. Andrea Zaki is the President of the Protestant Churches of Egypt and the General Director of the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services. His presentation will focus on the Arab Spring, Christians in the Middle East, and the role the Coptic Evangelical Organization plays in post-revolution Egypt.
Dr. Bernard Sabella – December 14th
Dr. Bernard Sabella is the Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches’ Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees. He was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006. He is a professor of Sociology at Bethlehem University, and has done extensive research and writing on Palestinian Christians. He will speak about the current situation in Palestine/Israel, highlighting the presence of Palestinian Christians.
Dr. Walter Brueggemann – December 9th *Special Opportunity*
Global Ministries is excited to announce a special webinar opportunity with Rev. Dr. Walter Brueggemann who will be joining us December 9th at 1pm ET to discuss his new book Chosen?: Reading the Bible Amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
Gabrielle Worley – November 9th
2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Turkey’s Genocide against the Christian people living in what is now Turkey. The majority of those killed in the Genocide were Armenian and so, it is widely referred to as the Armenian Genocide. However, it is not widely known that there were other groups of Christians who lived in the region and suffered the same fate.
Gabrielle’s family is Syrian Orthodox and, a few years ago, she made the journey to Southeastern Turkey to see the land where her ancestors once lived. In her presentation, Gabrielle will share tales of her travel in the region, her work with Global Ministries partners, and pieces of the Syrian peoples’ history.” Gabrielle Worley worked with Global Ministries partner organizations in Lebanon and Armenia for 2.5 years.
Mr. Levon Filian – October 12th
Mr. Levon Filian was born in Anjar, Lebanon, the child of an Armenian refugee from Musa Dagh. He attended a missionary school there before studying at Haigazian University and the Near East School of Theology, in Beirut. He earned an MS in education in California. He has served as principal at the Armenian Christian School in Pasadena and as Executive Director of the Armenian Missionary Association of America. He is married with four sons, and one grandchild.
In his webinar presentation, Mr. Filian will speak about Armenian history, including being the first Christian nation. He will also share some of the impact of the missionaries in historic Armenia, especially in the area of education. Mr. Filian will discuss the Armenian Genocide (1915), and the current crisis in the Middle East. He will discuss the witness of the Armenian Protestant community in the Middle East and in the Republic of Armenia, including the work of the AMAA in 24 countries today.
Rev. Dr. Riad Jarjour – September 14th
The Rev. Dr. Riad Jarjour is the President of the Forum for Development, Culture, and Dialogue, and the General Secretary of the Arab Group for Muslim-Christian Dialogue. He has been active in response to the Syria crisis, including humanitarian response and aspects of conflict resolution. He is a former General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches. He lives in Beirut, Lebanon.
Dr. Mary Mikhael – August 10th
Dr. Mikhael is a staffperson for the National Evangelical (Presbyterian) Synod of Syria and Lebanon, the immediate past president of the Near East School of Theology, and a former member of the Common Global Ministries Board of Directors. She will be presenting on the current situation Syria and the role of Christians in responding to the conflict.
Peter Makari – August 3rd
Dr. Peter Makari, Global Ministries Executive for the Middle East and Europe will share an introduction to the region and an overview of the Middle East Initiative. The presentation will touch on our mission history in the region, the importance of the region for us as North American Christians, and why the UCC and Disciples are engaged in the ways that we are.