Organised by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s (PCI) Council for Global Mission, and run in conjunction with the Bible Society in Northern Ireland, the conference on 26th January will hear of the challenges and opportunities faced by the Church in the Middle East from Beirut-based Dr. Mike Bassous, General Secretary of the Bible Society Lebanon.
PCI’s Global Mission Secretary, Rev. Uel Marrs, who spent time in Lebanon last year, encouraged those with an interest in the Church in the Middle East, especially those in leadership roles in congregations to attend.
“The Arab Spring, the rise of ISIS, the conflict in Syria have multiplied challenges faced in the Middle East. Whilst Christians are in the minority and increasingly under pressure, the region is not without hope. Despite the atrocities, political, social, and economic difficulties, there are wonderful examples of how God is building His kingdom. Stories of unexpected hope amidst the despair and destruction,” Mr. Marrs said.
“In late 2015 we heard from Pastor Farouk Hammo of Baghdad Presbyterian Church at our conference ‘Faith in the Furnace’. Pastor Hammo told us of the significant challenges faced by persecuted Christians in the Middle East and the incredible hope that is sustaining the persecuted Church in the region.
“This month we are looking forward to welcoming Dr. Bassous and hearing about the challenges and opportunities faced by the Church in the Middle East and about the work and witness of the Bible Society in Lebanon, which serves God in an atmosphere of persecution, upheaval and change.
“We anticipate that we will hear examples of how we can support Christians in the Middle East and have time to consider lessons for our own congregations here in Ireland. Everyone interested in attending will be welcome, especially those in leadership roles well-placed to envision congregations,” he said.
In a special video made by the Bible Society Lebanon ahead of the conference, Dr. Bassous says that he is looking forward to coming to Northern Ireland. Talking about his home city of Beirut and his visit to Belfast he says, “…both cities have suffered a lot, yet they have been able to survive and have learned valuable lessons for all of us.
"Sharing about news in the Middle East, about some of our programmes and activities, but most importantly sharing about the hope in the midst of chaos and crisis and how the word of God can really bring hope to a region and community.”
The conference is being held in Assembly Buildings, Belfast and is free of charge.
Conference is fully booked. Further details on the event can be found here.