The aim of our partnerships is to encourage the development of meaningful relationships between churches in the United States and those in Syria and Lebanon.
Our Partnership Program is somewhat new and still in its learning stages, as well as continuing to be in flux with the changing conditions in the region. Because of this we ask churches to begin slowly and to bring expectations that are realistic in terms of what is happening among the churches of National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL).
We invite you to start by selecting a NESSL congregation and by mobilizing prayer groups within your community for that church partner. During this time, we recommend learning together all you can about the particular congregation you have chosen, the name of the pastor and leadership, where the church is located, what they have experienced and what specific challenges they are currently facing. Secondly, the SLPN can help by working to connect you with a leader in the congregation you have selected, in hopes that some contact can be maintained between churches. This may take some time and, even when it is established, it may be inconsistent with long periods of no-response. This is understandable for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, our continuing commitment to pray is very meaningful and encouraging to these churches who are living with so much uncertainty.
If you have questions about, or are interested in partnering with a NESSL congregation, please contact Rev. Tim McCalmont, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This map shows the location of the NESSL churches. CLICK HERE to view it larger or to download it.
Relationship Building: This initiative is about building relationships. We want to come alongside, support, and encourage each other, especially our brothers and sisters in this very dangerous and conflicted area of the Middle East. We want to become friends as part of the wider Christian community and to partner in a friendship.
Mutuality: Relationship is a two-way street. We are going to be praying for each other. As we ALL need prayer, we want to avoid coming to our partners in any paternalistic manner. Sharing the needs of your congregation would be appropriate so they can pray for your church. In our communication, we can sense the needs of each other, to give each of us a stake in this shared relationship.
Respect: Along those same lines, this needs to be a respectful exchange. From America, we are inspired by the brave and courageous ways our brothers and sisters are remaining faithful; and from Syria and Lebanon, our friends can see how the church in the United States is working to create a Christian witness in an increasingly secular society, that yet suffers from racism and injustice.
Length of the Commitment: This is a long-term commitment. A normal relationship takes years to unfold and develop. This will be more challenging, as it involves distance and is cross-cultural. We ask for you to be as consistent and as responsive as possible. It is likely that we may not be able to send or receive communications over long periods of time, but taking into consideration the issues we are dealing with, we can understand why. You must try not to let long periods of time lapse before responding; but understand when they do occur to have patience.
Prayer: Prayer has been a significant part of our work on all levels. Take time to pray as you consider this partnership. When you make contact, pray prior to writing out your messages. It is so important to our friends in Syria and Lebanon that prayers are being offered for them by those of us in this country. Also, remember to ask your congregation to pray in your worship services, mission committee meetings, and session meetings. This kind of consistent prayer over time really makes an impact on us all, and it does make a difference.