Churches are being challenged to greater action and to develop a new vision of Christian cooperation in the Middle East.
A major conference organised by the World Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches grappled with the theme, ‘Christian presence and witness in the Middle East’ in Beirut, Lebanon from 21-25 May 2013.
The conference attended by around 150 people affirmed that Christians had lived ‘in the soil of the Middle East’ since the time of Jesus Christ. The Conference addressed the special intensity of the time of crisis in the Middle East. It acknowledged Palestine as a central issue and went on to speak of the occupation of Jerusalem, the dire situation facing Syria, the involvement of young people in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, a recommitment to Christian Muslim engagement and for engagement with Jewish partners also working for peace and justice.
The statement called the churches to “continue to be involved in the building of democratic civil societies, based on the rule of law, social justice and respect for human rights, including religious freedom.”
Christian Zionism was identified as a distortion ‘of the Word of God’ and Islamophobia a mischaracterisation of Islam.
The conference sought to promote understanding and to advocate for greater engagement to promote peace with justice for all peoples of the region.
Read the full statement here.
Another statement was released expressing concern over the recent kidnapping of two Syrian Orthodox bishops from Aleppo, Syria in April.30 May 2013