NEST Newsletter – December 2022

NEST Newsletter – December 2022

From the President: N.E.S.T.: 90 Years and Still Going Strong!

November 11, 2022, marked the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Near East School of Theology (1932-2022). We have not planned any public commemorations or celebrations of this anniversary mainly out of a sense of responsibility and solidarity with the overwhelming number of people in this country who are finding it difficult to procure daily bread. But it behooves us to pause today and marvel at the story of this theological seminary that has survived the last 90 years, prospering at many times, and enduring great difficulties and crises at others.

Since 1932, our School of Theology has experienced difficult and prosperous times; it faced many a crisis in the country and the region. Born under the French mandate over Lebanon, NEST has gone through World War II, Lebanon’s struggle for independence (1943), the Arab-Israeli War and the catastrophic consequences of the establishment of the State of
Israel (1949), the ensuing Arab-Israeli conflicts, invasions and occupations up until today, the civil strife in Lebanon (1958) and then the Lebanese War (1975-90), and the tension and instability in Lebanon during the Syrian hegemony of the country (1990-2005), as well as the repercussions of the “Arab Spring” in neighboring countries. The list is endless, but NEST withstood all those events and crisis and has continued to serve the churches of the Middle East by providing ministerial training and theological education, and promoting ecumenical relations among Christians and Christian-Muslim dialogue.

We give thanks to God above all for enabling us to reach this day in the history of our Seminary. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has accompanied and protected us by His Holy Spirit throughout nine decades. Without God’s faithfulness, our faithfulness to this institution and the hard work of all who have overseen and managed it, taught and worked in it, would not have been possible. We also thank the Middle Eastern Protestant Churches for continuing to believe in the mission of this Seminary, as well as our many friends and partners all over the Christian world without whose faithful support NEST would not have survived in difficult times.

May God bless our efforts and enable us to continue for another 90 years …at least!

– Dr. George Sabra, President, Near East School of Theology

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