The week of March 26 – April 4, was a special week for us in NESSL; another sign that our partners stand firm in supporting the Synod’s ministry, especially the urgent ministry among the Syrian people in need.
Thus, with great pleasure we received a high-level delegation of top leadership from the PCUSA who came to confirm their solidarity with our Churches, visit with our congregations both in Lebanon and in Syria, and sense, on the ground, the agony of so many people as a result of the tragic situation hitting Syria now in the sixth year.
The delegation was headed by the Rev. Dr. Jan Edmiston, Co-Moderator of the Presbyterian Church USA, Accompanied by Mr. Tony Delarosa, the interim Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, the Rev. Philip Woods, Area Coordinator for the Middle East and Europe, Mrs. Sara Licherness, Director of the Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry area of the PCUSA, The Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus,. Director of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the national and international response agency for PCUSA, Mr. Ryan Smith, Director and representative to the United Nations for the PCUSA.
The Rev. Elmarie Parker, who serves as regional Liaison of the PCUSA in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, accompanied the group.
The group met with the leadership of NESSL from Synod churches in Syria and Lebanon, headed by the General Secretary, the Reverend Joseph Kassab, who welcomed the team on behalf of the Synod, and celebrated the long blessed historical relations between the two bodies. The participants exchanged opinions and suggestions for future communal endeavor to edify our Partnership.
The team visited the educational programs the Synod and its churches carry on for Syrian children in the camps in Lebanon.
The team also visited the church in Homs and met with the Pastor, Rev Mufeed Karajieli,.and members of the Session, who welcomed the group and expressed deep gratitude to the PCUSA for being there to help, especially with its generous gift to renovate the destroyed houses of more than 40 families from the Church. They also visited the School and Home for the Elderly.
They, then, visited the congregation in Fairuzeh; met the pastor, the Reverend Yaqoub Sabbagh, with the elders, and had Holy Communion with them, listened to how they serve the community.