The Executive Committee of the Middle East Council of Churches held an exceptional meeting, as the Council's Twelfth General Assembly was scheduled to take place at this time. However, the exceptional circumstances imposed by the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the inability of direct meeting between members from different countries and churches, and replacing it with virtual electronic means for the member churches in Egypt, Kuwait, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Cyprus, produced a legal agreement on this exceptional meeting, which was hosted in Lebanon by His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi - Patriarch of Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch at the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerke with the participation of His Beatitude Youhanna X - Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and president of the Council for the Greek Orthodox Family, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II - Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church who is the president of the Council for the Eastern Orthodox Family, and Right Rev. Dr. Habib Badr, President of the National Evangelical Union Lebanon and president of the Council for the Evangelical Family. His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael Sako – Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans and president of the Council for the Catholic family, participated electronically from Iraq. And in a generous initiative, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II - Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church hosted members of the Committee from the various churches in Egypt at the Papal Headquarters in the Coptic Orthodox Church of in Cairo.Read more
Written by Dr. Bernard Sabella, Executive Secretary
Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees (DSPR)
Middle East Council of Churches
Dear Partners, Friends and Colleagues,
A remarkable increase in numbers of infected both in Palestine and Israel had dashed hopes that the first phase of Covid-19 infections was indeed behind us. DSPR Jerusalem and the West Bank has resumed field visits to the localities designated for the implementation of projects and activities. Shortly, DSPR-West Bank will share a strategic approach for advocacy regarding the foreseen annexation plan. The effects of annexation are expected to remain with us for years to come.Read more
Written by Dr. Bernard Sabella, Executive Secretary
Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees
Jerusalem, May 28, 2020
On Covid-19 it looks like some down trending in infections and speeding up of recoveries have occurred across the region. The relatively low mortality experienced in the countries where DSPR works is due according to analysts to ‘demographic good fortune’ with more younger generations in the population and the fact that this virus is age-gradient, meaning that the elderly are more prone to infections than the younger groups. The death rate per million population according to worldometers is 0.6 for Palestine; 0.9 for Lebanon and Jordan and 31 for Israel.Read more
His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Greek Orthodox Church Theophilos III was interviewed by the World Council of Churches (WCC) director of communication Marianne Ejdersten. The interview is transcribed here.
National, religious and ethnic borders are of no relevance to the COVID-19 virus. As we watch its effect on the entire world, we are reminded of the interconnectedness of the entire human family.Read more
As part of its efforts to improve the socio-economic situation of women in Al Husn Refugee camp, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) Jordan established two green-houses next to its vocational training center. The aim of developing these facilities is to train women in vegetable production and use some the produce as raw materials in the “Production Kitchen” initiatives. With the help of the work of the DSPR volunteers, both green houses were planted in November, 2019 with vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, green beans, and leafy vegetables such as lettuce, Rocca, parsley etc.Read more
We in the Middle East, but also you in all parts of the world are going through a difficult time. Many people are worried and frightened, no one knows what is coming and many find it difficult to judge how to behave properly. Such a situation is new and unprecedented.
On Monday this week, the Executive Directors of the Areas, together with the Central Office of the Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and the Chairman of the Central Committee, met for the first time via a zoom conference and exchanged information about the current status in the Areas in order to stay in touch and maintain communication among each other.
The Theological and Ecumenical Department of the Middle East Council of Churches has launched its process entitled " Kairos Middle East Towards Churches Global Compact " in a first consultation seminar that brought together about 25 experts in theology and geopolitics from Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and Jordan. The seminar took place over a three-day period from 6 till 8 December 2019 in Bethania, Lebanon.Read more
This summer, the Orthodox Initiative (OI) has continued to serve Syrian and Iraqi refugees throughout the Kingdom. The OI has also provided support for Jordanian families in the areas surrounding refugee camps, especially in the vicinity of the Al-Faisaliya Refugee Camp at the Northern Badia (Northern Desert) region of the Mafraq Governorate. We also continued to serve Iraqi refugees who remain the country. The OI has provided support for low-income Jordanians, especially in the area of education.Read more
The new issue of the Middle East Council of Churches' quarterly magazine, al-Muntada, (September-October 2019) is now available. Al-Muntada is a platform where all free voices can be heard with your participation and support!
The “Great March of Return” passed its 31st Friday amid increasing violence from the Israeli forces and militants amongst the legitimate protestors. More than 230 people were injured, and five killed including 19-year-old Nassar Abu Tim.
Lord of the suffering, we pray for a commitment to human rights by all sides and the protection of all lives. We pray for effective international intervention to ensure justice. We pray for humanitarian aid and rebuilding where destruction has occurred. We pray for peace and for justice in our homes and on our city streets. Wrap all and each of these your people in your love. Let them hear: “Come to me you who suffer and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Lord in your mercy…hear our prayer.Read more