From the President
By Dr. George Sabra, President, Near East School of Theology
“To Be or …More than To Be”
(an abbreviated version of the President’s Convocation Service address on Oct. 1, 2018
This academic year 2018/19 marks the 150th anniversary of the first founding of our Seminary in Lebanon. In 1869, the same American Protestant mission that founded the Syrian Protestant College (AUB) in 1866, founded the Theological Seminary in the village of Abeih, Mount Lebanon. That Theological Seminary of 1869 has been in existence ever since, though it had to suspend its work in some years, changed locations many times, and altered its name twice. N.E.S.T. is today the institution of theological education that has lived through and survived all the upheavals, crises, wars and developments of the past 150 years.Read more
Lectionary Selection: John 18:33-37
Prayers for Lebanon:
Almighty God. You are creator of all. You are the blessed and only Ruler. We come before you and praise you, for you are Lord of lords and King of kings.
You use your authority as the Omnipotent in ways unlike earthly kings.
Your rule brings peace and unity.
Your authority originates from doing the will of God.
We praise you for teaching us by example, to serve in humility. You who are Sovereign are found in the most unlikely places. You are with the refugee families in their tents and temporary housing. You are with the foreign workers who lack the most basic of legal protections. You bring light and truth into the darkest of places and situations. When we are impatient as we wait for better living conditions, better financial conditions, and for lasting peace, help us to see you and feel your presence, and acknowledge your sovereignty and Regal rule over the entire universe.
As the people of Lebanon face difficulty upon difficulty, help them to never lose hope in Christ the King. Monarchs and leaders come and go, but you are the same, yesterday, today and forever.
God of hope and light, fill us with trust in Christ our Savior.
Secretary General in the Middle East Council of Churches Dr. Souraya Bachealany participated with in Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies on “Inclusive Citizenship in the Middle East and North Africa”, which was opened today in Abhu Dhabi and lasts until November 15. The Forum, held in partnership with Wilton Park Association, affiliated to the British Foreign Ministry and Adyan Foundation, brought together over 50 prominent Muslim, Christian and other religious scholars from the Middle East, along with a number of policy makers from 11 countries around the world.Read more
Middle East Council of Churches
At its first General Assembly in Nicosia, Cyprus (May, 1974), the Middle East Council of Churches was formed at the conclusion of a series of successful discussions between the Orthodox churches in the Middle East (both Eastern and Oriental) and the Protestant and Episcopal members of the Near East Council of Churches.Read more
Lectionary Selection: John 6:56-69
Prayers for Lebanon:
We come to you, O living Father, the supplier of the bread that feeds and leads to eternal life, asking you once again to help us seek that which is true nourishment. We live in a place where the few enrich themselves with the bread of pride and the spirit of greed. And the many, the Lebanese people, simply want to live in a land of justice, respect and a hopeful future for their children, but are instead given the bread of bitterness and discouragement. Will these things around us ever change, O Lord? Will our hearts ever change? Will we, all of us, ever desire to live by your Spirit, and not according to our appetites and opinions?
Help us to see that we have no one on earth but you, and no one we desire in heaven besides you. Help us to hear the words of life and to follow them above all else. We ask the same for this struggling country; from its politicians to its wealthy to its struggling families to its refugees, all the way to those among us who seek to harm and control others.
Humble our hearts to seek your ways, not to wander off into meaningless journeys, but to walk with you now and into eternity. Amen.Read more
We publish here below, the speech given by Paolo Naso on July 8 from Radio1 Rai for the column "Essere chiesa insieme" of the broadcast Culto Evangelico. Mr. Naso is the coordinator of the Mediterranean Hope - Programme for refugees and migrants by the FCEI. [Dr. Naso is also a member of the Common Global Ministries Board of Directors, representing the Europe region and partners.]Read more
Shortly after I arrived in Lebanon in 2016, General Michel Aoun was elected President by the Lebanese Parliament. This following a two-and-a-half-year period with no head-of-state, when the Lebanese government struggled to maintain basic services, such as trash pick-up and electricity services.Read more
Ecumenism tells us that we cannot live in isolation and that we should engage in existential dialogue; “for Jesus Christ, for the Church, there are no boundaries, so for ecumenism there shouldn’t be any boundaries,” said His Holiness Aram I, the Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Holy See of Cilicia, in a special session at the opening of the Executive Committee of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), being held in Antelias, Lebanon.Read more
An Olive Tree for the Near East School of Theology
Visitors to NEST will find that there is a newly planted olive tree at the entrance of the building. The tree is a gift from the local committee of the Women’s World Day of Prayer (WDP). In gratitude and appreciation for many years of holding the annual service of the WDP in the Large Chapel of the Seminary, the local Committee donated and planted an olive tree on February 27, 2018. NEST has been hosting the event for over 25 years.Read more
Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun.
Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them!
On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them.
And I thought the dead, who have already died,
more fortunate than the living, who are still alive;
but better than both is the one who has not yet been,
and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from one person’s envy of another.
This also is vanity and a chasing after wind. (Eccl. 4.1-4)