NEST Newsletter: June 2015
Written by Dr. George Sabra
President, Near East School of Theology
The high point of the academic year 2014/2015 was a non-academic event. It was an action to help the Christian Assyrian refugees in Lebanon undertaken by the NEST students, faculty and staff. Moved by the tragic plight of this minority Christian group in Syria and Iraq, our Seminary students decided to do something for the children of the refugees at the Beirut suburb of Sadd el-Bouchriyyeh, where the Assyrian quarter of Beirut is located. So far, 1500 Assyrian families have taken refuge in Lebanon, some from Iraq but mostly from northern Syria. There are thousands of children among them who cannot all be accommodated in local schools; many are traumatized by what they have experienced at the hands of extremist group who expelled them from their homes; many leave behind family members and relatives who are still held captive by ISIS.
NEST students made an appeal to all the Protestant Churches in the Beirut area, and they were able to gather several thousand dollars and also to enlist the support of youth from the various churches to hold a one-day event on May 1, 2015 at the Assyrian School of St. Severus adjacent to the Assyrian bishopric. Some faculty and staff members also joined. Over 100 refugee children had fun, and enjoyed educational games and artistic activities, including refreshments and snacks. It was a joy to see those kids smiling, laughing, and enjoying themselves after what they have been through. It was a proud moment for us at NEST to see our students and whole community put its faith into action. The funds collected were also used to buy food parcels and mattresses for the needy families.
Several days later, NEST students rented a pick-up truck and took 100 mattresses, 100 food parcels and some 60 boxes and bags of clothes to the Assyrian Church to be distributed to those in need.
The full newsletter is available here: