Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Monday, 16 May 2022
"Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid!"

Dr. Michel E. Abs/ Secretary General of the Middle East Council of Churches :

This is the theme of the Twelfth General Assembly of the Middle East Council of Churches, held for the first time in Egypt, as the Council is overseeing its fiftieth anniversary.


From all the corners of the globe, we meet to the land of the See of St. Mark, renewing the covenant on communication and solidarity in faith, love and service.


Spiritual leaders, partners and delegates of international institutions, local partners and workers in the Council's institutions, are all coming to hear what the Ecumenical Stronghold in the Middle East has to say to them.


They are all coming to tell us their concerns and to hear our plans and aspirations.


Five days will be historic, as East and West interact in an ecumenical crucible after years of interruption caused by the pandemic.


They all come in your name, and in Your Name, O Incarnate One, full of your faith, your salvation, and your values that have changed the face of the world.


They are all concerned with the fate of humanity, with justice and peace in the world, based on Your teachings and Example.


Christians in the Middle East gather in the framework of their ecumenical council and in a land of faith and holiness.


Christians are the sons of the Middle East, from which they have spread the Faith in the world, and they are concerned with the fate of all members of their societies, with the fate of this region, which is yearning for long-term stability.


This General Assembly is Christian, ecumenical, humanistic, seeking truth, justice, and development for all the people of the region. This General Assembly unites man and society in terms of equality in rights and duties stressing the focus on full citizenship that embraces diversity-in-difference.


This General Assembly will discuss ways to improve life on Earth, focusing on our grieving societies.


This General Assembly will consider the issues that have been tackled as priorities by the Council's Ecumenical Central Working Group and by its committees as well.


At the beginning of the Assembly, there will be words of meditation, and warm welcome from the church leaders, followed by presentations on the various subjects placed on the agenda before moving on to organizational and managerial affairs and then to the strategic and priority topics for the work of the Council.


This Assembly will discuss diakonia, relief, social service, development, and ways to deal with such working areas with a focus on emerging priorities in a region suffering from displacement, asylum and poverty, all being issues that humanity condones.


In this Assembly, we will discuss ways to activate communication between people and groups as well as formulate the most effective methods for advocating issues of truth and justice in our region and throughout the world. Injustice is great and misinformation is greater, and therefore the need for advanced communication and advocacy work, which adopt modern methods to reach people are of crucial growing importance.


The Assembly will also discuss Christian presence in the region, interrelations between the churches and between them and other components of society, and the issue of environmental justice will occupy a great place in our deliberations because of the importance of the environment in an era during which God's creation is being systematically destroyed, threatening the future of humanity.


Moreover, the problem of rebuilding capital and social cohesion in societies that have been witnessing disintegration for decades, will take a large part of foreseen discussions as well  in order to formulate  agreed upon formulated suggested proposals in such a way that will bring the constituent groups of Middle Eastern societies closer together. In this context, research on human dignity and its re-establishment as a central value in our lives occupies a special place.


As for the problem of the Council’s sustainability as an institution, the development of its administrative aspects, and the securing of necessary resources needed to continue with all these aforementioned tasks which it has taken upon itself to delve into, will also be the subject of discussion, as the institutional framework is the cornerstone for carrying out all foreseen actions. Without a solid and coherent institutional framework, ecumenical endeavors will remain subject to many dangers.


In addition, this General Assembly is characterized by cultural activities that are adopted for the first time in the Council's past assemblies, as they are considered as a trampoline on which to build for the future.


The participants will visit the monasteries and shrines of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and they will attend a spiritual evening, during which teams from the church will sing the famous hymns for which it is known. Such activities will be widely spread on existing communication sites.


This forthcoming General Assembly we as a Council as well as our hosts have agreed that it will be housed in the distinguished premises of the Patriarchal Logos Center - Monastery of Anba Bishoy, and its adjoining component set ups as we all feel that we are the sons of Egyptian lands.


In Your Name and in Your Resurrection, we gather, O Redeemer, may Your Holy Spirit overshadow our work, and may Your Resurrection inspire us to the right path, as we walk together to the celebration of the event of Your imminent Pentecost.