Report from SLPN Travel Team 2018
A team from the SLPN traveled to Lebanon in April 2018. The group included Pauline Coffman, Garnett Foster, Gordon Edwards, Alice Haznedl, and Tim McCalmont.
Following are a few highlights of their experiences. CLICK HERE to read the full report.
Upon the invitation of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL), Tim McCalmont and Pauline Coffman attended the Third Partners’ Consultation in Beirut.
Others attending included Elmarie Parker, our PC(USA) World Mission regional liaison; people representing relief organizations and non-governmental agencies (NGOs) from around the globe (UK, Sweden, Ireland, France, Belgium, Brazil, and more); NESSL pastors and other church leaders from Syria and Lebanon; Laurie Kraus, Director of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance; Philip Woods, Middle East liaison for the PC(USA); and a delegation from the Outreach Foundation -- nearly 100 attendees in all.
The theme for the four-day Consultation was Reconciliation and Reconstruction. Discussions and reports included:
- Reports from the NESSL pastors and NGOs about relief efforts in Syria and Lebanon
- New ways to reinforce our partnerships between churches in the U.S. and NESSL churches by using social media and by asking young adults to help us make best use of these media
- A shifting focus from day-to-day survival to planning in light of the end of the fighting
- Rebuilding and efforts to bring groups together for reconciliation to heal divisions
- Training to help relief agencies work with people who have faced trauma, especially children
Worship and prayer together at the NESSL Consultation -- as partners committed to listening to and responding to the word of God -- infused all the discussions and grounded participants within the wider perspective of what God is doing in the region.
travels in Lebanon after the NESSL Consultation
Following the Consultation, the SLPN team visited partners throughout Beirut and southern Lebanon who are “in the trenches” of doing ministry. They spent time worshiping, praying and sharing thoughts with those churches who are working with refugees from Iraq and Syria. They saw the work each one is doing to not only provide relief for those in need, but to train and support those who are looking to start a new life in their communities.
Some highlights included:
- Visiting a local mosque in Sour/Tyre in southern Lebanon, meeting with the Imam of Sour, and gaining his perspective on the work ahead and about how Muslim and Christian communities are joining together to address the situation going forward.
- Visiting the National Evangelical Institute for Girls and Boys (NEIGB) school in Saida, a large (K-12) school, and learning of the rich history of the work there.
- A series of conversations with our partners at the Near East School of Theology (NEST), including Dr. George Sabra, President of this highly impactful graduate school, who provided valuable commentary on our Overture from his Lebanese and academic perspectives.
- Fruitful discussion with Dr. Joseph Kassab, Mary Mikhael, and the staff at the NESSL offices.
Media from the SLPN 2017 Trip to Lebanon & Syria
PowerPoint presentation; click through the slides to "see the trip."