For years, we’ve been hearing that the church is not the building, it is the people. Now the time has come to walk the talk! How are churches reacting to this pandemic and what adjustments have been put in place to ensure the preservation of the congregation?
The coronavirus is now officially spreading through Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria, as well as in other countries in the Middle East. This follows a harsh winter and unprecedented economic and financial crises that have already severely impacted the most vulnerable.
Disappointed by the cancellation of the Baptist Children and Youth Ministry (BCYM) Children’s Camp that they had flown all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to help out at, the Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) team from Lorne Park Church was surprised to learn that their visit was nevertheless an unexpected answer to a struggling pastor’s prayer.
The war in Syria is far from over. Since early December, over one million people from the Syrian province of Idlib have been displaced with nowhere to find refuge. In other places that are considered “safer”, humanitarian needs have never been greater.
Wave after wave of violence has threatened to extinguish the light of Christ in Iraq as the country has been vacated of over two thirds of its Christian population since the early 2000s. And yet, at least one pastor and his congregation can be highlighted as having stood firm in the face of the temptation to flee and chosen to shine as bright lights in the impending darkness.
Our small team from New Zealand comprised two dentists, one general practitioner and two Tearfund NZ staff members. This visit to Lebanon was saturated with history, culture, hospitality, and stories of the redemptive power of God’s love in the marginalized of Lebanese society.
It has been nine years. Nine years of crisis in Syria. Nine years of displacements. We hear more and more people say, “It is safer now; why don’t they go back? Even if we give them food today, they will still need food tomorrow”. Precisely!
Two important aspects of our faith are the intimacy of our relationship with God and that we are part of a community of fellow believers. Both wonderfully highlighted in the opening two words of the Lord’s Prayer. God’s great love for all people is also a central theme of our latest book release When Righteous Fall by Rev. Dr. Nabil Haddad.