Statement of the Presidents of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)

AMMONNEWS – The General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), Fr. Michel Jalakh, called the Presidents of the Council to an extraordinary meeting in Amman, Jordan, on June 19th, 2014, which was hosted by His Beatitude Theophilos III.

The Presidents were mindful of the commitment of His Majesty King Abdullah II to advocating for the Christian presence in the Kingdom, and were grateful for his continued support. In attendance were His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem, President of the Eastern Orthodox family, His Beatitude Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch for Syriac Catholic Church, President of the Catholic family, His Grace Munib Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, President of the Evangelical family, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, President of the Oriental Orthodox family, represented by the co-Presidents.

Pastor Dr. Habib Badr, President of the National Evangelical Church of Beirut and Honorary Treasurer of MECC attended also the meeting.

The Presidents were joined for lunch by members of the diplomatic corps and honored Jordanian and international guests. His Beatitude Theophilos III welcomed guests and introduced his co-Presidents as well as Fr Michel Jalakh, Middle East Council of Churches Secretary General. Following lunch, the Presidents resumed discussion and released the results of their meeting in the following statement:

The current unexpected events taking place in Iraq join a further deterioration within countries in the region, and the Presidents share in the suffering of these tragic events along with the innocent victims of hatred and violence.

The people of Iraq are at risk of being dominated by political and religious extremism, a fact that calls upon us and the whole world to raise awareness and take immediate measures. The Presidents of the Middle East Council of Churches condemn all forms of violence against churches, mosques and other religious institutions. They encourage all Christians and people of goodwill to stand strong and not be afraid and to remember that they, together with their Muslim brothers and sisters, are the children of the same land and all share a common human nature and destiny.

Therefore, we must respect and support one another as brothers and sisters.

The Presidents stand in compassion and prayer for all those in exile, displaced in Syria and in neighboring countries. We call upon all concerned parties to seek reconciliation without racial or religious discrimination. We call to release the two kidnapped archbishops Boulos Yaziji and Yuhanna Ibrahim, in addition to all kidnapped priests and innocent people.

Furthermore, the Presidents of MECC, comprised of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Evangelical, and Catholic families, call upon peacemakers in the entire international community, to defend the dignity and rights of all humans as well as freedom of religious expression, to quickly and effectively interfere in order to help our people to be liberated from the dreadful spiral of hatred and violence. We strongly condemn all forms of violence, regardless of who is the perpetrator, while simultaneously praying for peace, justice and reconciliation. We extend these prayers all over the world, but especially for all people of the Holy Land, to pursue peace, so that Jerusalem may be a beacon of peace throughout the world.

We, the Presidents of the MECC, ask the Holy Spirit to guide our churches in the bond of love in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

To read the article at it’s original site, you can visit Ammon News.

WCC: Arab Christians Have Built Hope in Hopeless Situations

Bishop Munib Younan“We do not live in the mentality of the ghetto, nor in the mentality of a minority complex, nor do we live as dhimmi (dependent) people,” said Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan. “We have always been, as Arab Christians, building our societies, loyal to our countries and nationalities, bringing hope in hopeless situations.”

A Palestinian Christian from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, Younan was speaking at the joint World Council of Churches and Middle East Council of Churches conference on the Christian presence and witness in the Middle East, on 22 May in Beirut, Lebanon.

In his speech, Younan said that the process of reform continues to be at the heart of every Arab and Middle Eastern Christian. Their hopes, he said, will not end until they see the Middle East transformed through the values that Arab Christians cherish.

He particularly stressed a stronger engagement between Christians and Muslims. “Dialogue is important in some contexts, but we need full engagement. We need engagement with all monotheistic faiths, especially Muslims,” he said.

Continue reading “WCC: Arab Christians Have Built Hope in Hopeless Situations”

Middle East Council of Churches Gathers for 10th General Assembly

JERUSALEM, 14 December 2011 – Leaders and delegates from all the member churches that constitute the four families of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) gathered in Paphos, Cyprus 29-30 November for the 10th General Assembly.

The meeting was hosted by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, which was represented by its Archbishop his Beatitude Chrysostomos II.

This was an important meeting for the MECC and, together, all four church families reaffirmed “that MECC remains the common meeting ground for all the Christians of the Middle East” and asserted its firm belief “that Christian unity remains the basic purpose and mission of the MECC.”

Together, those present also reaffirmed the deep rootedness of Christians in the East, who have “effectively participated in and contributed to the renaissance [of the Middle East] and have defended… the national rights of its inhabitants.”

In their final communiqué, the MECC stated that local Christians continue to “stand ready and committed to participate in the building of a new future for the Middle East… [and] call upon all the faithful to hold steadfast to their hope in the peaceful coexistence of the peoples of the Middle East.”

The General Assembly also issued a reminder not only to its immediately concerned parties, but especially to the International Community “of the need to preserve and protect fundamental human rights and principles, such as the freedom of thought, of religious belief and of political action.”

The General Assembly also called upon “all the adherents of the three monotheistic religions to interact with each other in the spirit of love – in thought and in deed.” It also endorsed and asserted “the need to continue with all dialogue initiatives currently taking place between Christians and Muslims.”

New presidents for the church families were also elected at the General Assembly, including Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan on behalf of the Evangelical family of churches. Younan will serve in this continuing capacity for a further four years. A new Executive Committee and General Secretary were also elected during the meetings.

Finally, the General Assembly offered their final assertion:

“As our Churches prepare to celebrate the feast of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh, we assert our hope for our region and for the whole world. We leave the Assembly inspired by the change of the angelic host on Christmas night: “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and hope to all people of good will.”

Click here to view the full Final Communiqué of the 10th General Assembly.

Click here to view photos from the 10th General Assembly.