by Reem Haddad
The Joint Christian Committee (JCC)* teenagers were far too young to note the forlorn stand of the elderly man standing in the middle of what used to be a stunning century home with high ceilings and archaic roof - the trademarks of a charming old Lebanese house. They rushed by him, stopping only to bestow the usual Arabic greetings required, and continued energetically to the small garden behind the house where a mountain of wood debris, mostly remnants of oak doors, awaited them.Read more
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
Israel has imposed a second national lockdown to last three weeks after a recent surge of over 4000 confirmed COVID-19 cases every day. The lockdown will close all schools and only supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open. Schools have only just reopened for the start of the new academic year and this lockdown will bring major disruption.
Lord, we pray for all those in positions of authority in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory as they take decisions on how to manage the resurgence of the coronavirus throughout the land. We pray for the families trying to manage their work and their children’s education from home. We pray too for the protection of the care workers looking after those who are seriously affected by the virus. Lord, in your mercy...hear our prayer.Read more
Sept. 4, 2020 - The World Council of Churches (WCC), ACT Alliance and the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) present their condolences to all Lebanese people who lost their loved ones in the catastrophic explosion that ripped through the heart of Beirut on 4 August 2020. We stand in solidarity with the bereaved, the injured, the displaced and the suffering.Read more
Update from the Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) of the Middle East Council of Churches
The world is still in a situation of absolute crisis, and so is the Middle East. While Beirut is trying to recover from the catastrophe of its port explosion, the first four cases of virus infection occurred for a family of four in a crowded refugee camp in Gaza. The virus was under control in Gaza since infections started in March across Palestine and Israel. All reported cases were in the quarantine areas close to the border with Egypt and those entering from Erez Checkpoint were all tested and those with symptoms were quarantined. The system of control worked for Gaza until this past week. Gaza is now on complete lockdown till Monday 31st of September. It is expected that the lockdown will be extended.Read more
Two weeks Later...
As clean-up efforts are completed and the true extent of the damage of the August 4 explosion is uncovered, many NGOs are turning their attention to the longer, slower process of rebuilding the homes damaged across Beirut. FDCD is happy to partner with other NGOs in this work to provide the most efficient assistance available to those in need.Read more
In a gesture of love and solidarity and as an expression of brotherhood between the Egyptian and Lebanese citizens, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria answered the MECC Beirut appeal in response to the Port Explosion, which occurred on the 4th of August, by relieving the devastated Beirut and its afflicted people. This first contribution was a shipment of food aid and medicines transferred to Beirut airport on board two military aircrafts that arrived through a military airlift by the order of Egyptian President Mohamed Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to send aid from Egypt to Beirut.Read more
The Middle East Council of Churches’ Statement to the Churches of the World and to Its Partners: Support to the devastated city of Beirut and to its distressed people
Christ is risen indeed He is risen! For two thousand years, Christians in the Middle East have been continuously proclaiming Christ’s Resurrection to express at the same time their faith and their confrontation with death, the greatest threat to humanity and creation. Due to its religious, cultural and commercial vivacity and its presence in the heart of the ancient world, their region did not really witness true peace except for intermittent periods. In fact, it was in most cases, a crossroad, a meeting place and starting point on the one hand, and an arena for conflicts and confrontations on the other. Due to raging conflicts and wars, for more than half a century, the Middle East has tremendously suffered violence, extremism and killing, uprooting its inhabitants from their lands and displacing them, tampering with their fate, and undermining human dignity.
From the churchyard to silence
La barca quasi integra dopo gli incendi del 5/6/2020, Foto di Elisa Biason The “Lo sguardo dalle frontiere” (A Look from the Border) editorial is written by operators of Mediterranean Hope (MH), the migrant project of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI). This week’s “Look” comes from Elisa Biason, a volunteer in Lampedusa. Read more....Read more