By Rev. Adib Awad
More than 50 pastors and elders from the synod churches in Syria & Lebanon responded to a call from Spiritual & Ecclesial Affairs Committee to a retreat held in the Synod’s Conference Centre in Dhour Choueir on June 14-17 (2016), on the theme “I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, and I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations” (Is 42.6).
True, it was a great joy to get together, but our joy overflowed when we saw our sisters and brothers from Qamishli, Hassakek, Aleppo amongst us, bearing so much trouble and hardships to come, leaving their families (wives and children) behind, with no guarantee of safety – to & fro. It was a great decision of faith, hope, and affirmation of the promise of the word of God in the Theme.
The main emphasis was on news of the churches in Syria, their challenges and tribulations, and how they are facing these time of severe tests. It was a great chance of getting deeply touched by their faith, Christian valor, and perseverance in an all – open battle against death, disease, want, shortage of food & water & fuel & medical care & electricity …!
The experience kindled our unity in faith & ministry, and strengthened our sense of commitment. Let us commit to praying for the congregations in Syria and their pastors and elders, and to do whatever possible to sustain their spiritual and physical needs. Alongside, an ample time was given to contemplate means of edifying ministry and Diakonia in these churches.
The days were initiated with devotional time followed with a bible study. Two “talks” connected the participants with past and future; the first was on “The History of the Reformed Church in the Middle East”, the second on “How Churches Grow”.
Before adjourning, we responded to the “invitation” of our Lord and Savior, to the Lord’s Table, and parted with supplications that the Good Lord would accompany our sisters and brothers back to their homes and ministries, and assure them of His faithfulness and compassion.