Conferences look at the 'Challenges facing the Church in the Middle East and at home'

3.11.2015 | Mission News, Global Mission, Mission in Ireland

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland is organising two conferences on Tuesday, 17th November, one entitled ‘Faith in the Furnace – Challenges facing the Church in the Middle East’ and the other ‘The Refugee Experience – Challenges facing the Church at home’.


Rev. Farouk Hammo, Senior Pastor, Baghdad Presbyterian Church, Iraq is the main speaker at the morning ‘Faith in the Furnace’ conference, which is being run in conjunction with Open Doors.  Rev Hammo has seen membership of his congregation drop dramatically due to the violence and persecution of Christians in Iraq over the past 10 years. Despite the dangers inside the ‘Fiery Furnace,’ Rev. Farouk plays an important role in caring for the many displaced Christian families driven by IS from Mosul and the surrounding Christian villages.

PCI’s Global Mission Secretary, Rev. Uel Marrs, will also share his thoughts following his recent visit to Lebanon, where he saw how the local church is responding to the crisis in Syria, and how refugees fleeing conflict are turning to Christ having ‘come through the furnace’.

Rev. Uel Marrs said, “The Arab Spring, the rise of ISIS, the conflict in Syria have all brought great changes in the Middle East and far beyond.  At the two conferences, we hope to discover more about how the local churches in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are coping with the challenges, and discuss what we in Ireland can do to stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ there. 

"We also hope to learn from them, especially as we continue to welcome refugees here in Ireland, and to learn more about the practicalities of getting involved in helping refugees who arrive here.”

At the afternoon  conference, ‘The Refugee Experience – Challenges facing the Church at home’, Dr. Edith Shillue, who works for the Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (NICRAS), will give an explanation of the asylum and refugee system and processes in the UK, and talk about the experiences of those in the system. Following this, there will be a discussion session on how churches can best help and support new refugees who arrive here.

The two conferences at being held in Assembly Buildings, Belfast.  They are open to anyone with a desire to hear more about these issues, and will include table group discussions.

For more information on the conferences, go to
To book a place, contact the PCI Mission Department on +44 (0)28 9032 2284 or email or

The closing date for bookings is Friday, 13th November. 

Unfortunately the afternoon conference – ‘The Refugee Experience – Challenges facing the Church at home’ is now FULLY BOOKED.  (It is hoped to run this conference only for a second time in the near future.  Everyone interested in this should contact the Mission Department as soon as possible).

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