Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

 

 

 

 

Everyone should have an opinion for those who remain silent lose it all.

Statement

Message of the Regional Secretary 2015

Posted 2/1/2016

We often pray, but we rarely take the time to understand what we ask for… or perhaps we only superficially understand it, influenced by our daily struggles. The current Eastern life is difficult: we, individuals and churches, face all types of challenges: wars and inhalation, direct and indirect violence, worry, migration. We barely fight the marginalization of women in the church and society. The youths leave the country…We are constantly feeling, thus, that we are a minority in a world ruled by the majority’s power.

Read the rest of this entry »

Message of the Regional Secretary 2014

Posted 1/30/2015

    Church and Society in the Middle East region are still suffering from all forms of violence and all extremism… From local terrorists to the Israeli state terrorism, our populations and especially youths, are victimized.  Iraq and Syria are witnessing the same in multicivil wars. The destroyed Gaza with its 2000 killed civilians, by the Israeli occupation, is still calling the world to be aware of the ongoing injustice in Palestine… But the Palestinians did not give up yet and the World’s conscience is getting liberated.

    The Church of the Arabs in the Middle East is still under pressures, stuck between two wars: the Israelis planning for a Jewish state and the growing Islamic state. The WSCF questions remain: How to be a Christian in the Arab world today? How to witness under terror? Who are our partners in society? How to partnership towards a new society where Christian values and noble Islamic values can be reflected peacefully in a just, democratic, society where women and men can equally build their social and religious blooming.

    Amongst the grim picture, we notice a point, a brink of light that is very important for it teaches us a lot. We spread among each other a tiding: In spite of the destruction, under the bombs and the notorious war, in Syria’s Damascus, a WSCF Ecumenical Youth committee was born. It witnesses Christ among the combatants. The same goes for the bleeding Sudan: the youths are preparing an Ecumenical conference and are willing to lunch an Ecumenical committee for the youths. Social media networks are filled with thousands of hits from participants who joined the activities of the Federation. This is the work of God, in a time we feel useless and hopeless every time we arrange an activity. However, every day we learn something new and perhaps, we spiritually grow. We raise each Ecumenical initiative, along with its dereliction to the God, asking him for love.

    Oh, Church’s youth. Oh, small herd, do not be afraid, for the Murderers cannot kill Love; they, even if they tried, cannot do for we have a Master who taught us how to proceed so we can build together, his temple in three days. Oh, youth, do not be afraid, this Arab Orient has a resurrection. We ought to stay put, praying together and prepare the Resurrection’s Mass. Let us put our hands together and start over, search for that road, leading to Jesus.

    However, in nowadays, Christian youth under all the pressures, still believes that being part of the WSCF, is a big challenge … and continue to pray and act together.  

 

Read the rest of this entry »

صلاة مشتركة

Posted 8/31/2014

نصلي إليك يا ربّ

يا من تألمت على عود الصليب وذقت معنى الألم

عزّي أمّ÷ات الشهداء في بلادنا سوريا والعراق وفلسطين الذين فقدوا أبنائهم وسالت دمائهم إذ كانت خطيئتهم صرخاتهم للكطالبة بحقهم بحياة كريمة

 

إليك يا ربّ نطلب

من أجل إخوتنا الذين يعانون كلّ يوم، نساء وأطفالاً ورجالاً، يُخطفون ولا يعودون إلى ذويهم وإن عادوا يحملون في أجسادهم ونفوسهم ذكريات أليمة

 

تعال يا من لم يكن لك مكاناً لتسند رأسك أعن من تشرّدوا من شبابنا، من طردوا من أوطانهم تاركين بيوتهم قسراً فكان عليهم مواجهة غدهم فاقدين كلّ ما يملكون

نصلي إليك بكلّ إيمان واثقين أنّك يا ربّ قادر أن تبني في كلّ بيت مذبحاً مكرّساً عوض عن الكنائس التي دُمّرت وسُلبت لا لشيء إلاّ لأنّها تحمل صليبك

 

يا ملك السلام حلّ بسلامك على بلادنا حتى نعيش معاً من كلّ دين ودولة من كلّ طائفة ومذهب نعيش في حبّ ووئام

 

إلى الربّ نطلب

استجب يا ربّ

Read the rest of this entry »

Prayer

Posted 8/1/2014

The regional committee of the WSCF-ME was held in Cairo-Egypt on Friday 11th of July 2014. Participants from Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan and Palestine were present to pray for peace in the region and to those who couldn’t join us in our Godlike reunion, our brothers and sisters from Iraq and Syria. 

Prayer:
To you Almighty God we pray 
For you have suffered on the cross and knew what it’s like to suffer
Comfort the mothers of the martyrs in our countries and especially Syria, Iraq and Palestine
Comfort those who are enduring injustice upon claiming their rights in having a decent life

To you Almighty God we pray 
To soothe the pain of our brothers and sisters, men and women, elders and kids who suffer on a daily basis
To give strength to the kidnapped ones, those who will no longer feel the warmth of their homes
To help those who bear the scars of painful memories in both their souls and bodies

Almighty God
Come rest among us and between us, in the hope that the homeless will find their way back 
Guide us and lead us on this rough road, for we willingly had left everything behind to face our tomorrow 

We pray for you with all the faith we’ve got, hoping that you build in each heart an immortal altar instead of all the destroyed churches

King of peace
Let your peace reign on our region so we live as one in harmony, peace and love, as you are one with your Father and Holy Spirit

Amen

Read the rest of this entry »

WSCF STUDENTS COMMIT TO OVERCOMING VIOLENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Posted 4/16/2014

 Communiqué issued at the conclusion of the WSCF Inter-Regional Leadership Development Programme on Overcoming Violence in the Middle East.

    The World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) has a unique potential to contribute to positive change in the Middle East and has taken a major step, on the international level, to realize it.

    Christian students from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, North Sudan, and Syria who are connected to the WSCF through their national student Christian movements have been engaging as actors in the recently turbulent, at times hopeful, at times overwhelmingly destructive events in their countries and region. The WSCF Middle East Region has been intentional about taking up the themes and real issues Christian students and young adults face and equipping them to play a role in their societies and churches.

    The WSCF has felt itself called to come around this region in a focused way in these days to amplify the voices of the students; deepen our solidarity with our students, the Christians, and all the citizens of these countries, Christian and Muslim; and to mobilize our network to play a stronger role in the work for justice and peace in the region.

    As a major step in this process, WSCF organized a global leadership programme on “Overcoming Violence in the Middle East”, with a solidarity visit and special focus on Palestine from 20-28 February 2014. More than 30 students and young people from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America participated in this significant event, hosted by the WSCF Middle East region and the Student Christian movement (SCM) of Palestine (Palestine Youth Ecumenical Movement (PYEM)) together with the Joint Advocacy Initiatives YMCA/YWCA (JAI). The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America was the major funding partner together with the United Church of Christ and in kind contributions from participants and Senior Friends (alumni).

Come and See Palestine

    The WSCF delegation began with a solidarity visit to Palestine in response to the Palestinian Christians’, and our member movement’s, call to “Come and See”. Through this visit, the group witnessed the realities, deepened understanding, and expressed solidarity with our SCM members, the Palestinian Christians, and all the people of Palestine.

    The WSCF delegation met with the Palestinian Youth Ecumenical Movement (PYEM), members of the Kairos Palestine movement, and church leaders including Bishop Younan Mounib (Lutheran Bishop of Palestine) and were deeply moved to witness the harsh realities lived each day by Palestinians as well as the deep faith, hope, and love that they embody as they struggle, side by side with their Muslim sisters and brothers, in their ongoing struggle for justice and peace in the land.

    The WSCF experienced the “alternative tourism” developed by Palestinian Christians, whereby pilgrims may visit the traditional holy sites in the context of “human living”, interacting with the Christians who have worshipped there since the time of Jesus, while at the same time gaining a social political exposure to what is happening today in Palestine.

    One of the most disturbing and impactful experiences was the encounters with the wall that is constructed to divide Palestine and Israel. The group affirmed that it truly is a horrific “apartheid wall” creating the separation of people, controlling the freedom of movement for the Palestinian population, and illegally destroying Palestinian land and communities. The WSCF delegates spray-painted onto the wall “The Wall Must Fall- WSCF” in a symbolic and collective action and statement of solidarity and intention for future action.

    Visiting the city of Hebron was an equally shocking and an eye opening experience. As the group walked with their Palestinian guides on the small paths allowed to Palestinians, avoiding the main roads forbidden to them, the image of Israeli settlers jogging down the street with their machine guns became a symbol of the injustice, trauma, and palpable tension throughout the city.

Hearing young Christian voices from around the Middle East

    The WSCF group traveled from Palestine to Amman, Jordan to meet other participants from WSCF’s Middle East movements unable to travel to Palestine. Students and young adults from movements in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, North Sudan, Palestine, and Syria gathered to share with each other and the international participants their stories and their situation as young Christians in their different but inter-related countries. The discussion was then enriched by ecumenical and church leaders in Jordan, Senior Friends (alumni) of WSCF, and other resource people with expertise on Middle East politics, inter-faith relations, and the geopolitical dynamics necessary for a comprehensive diagnostic of solidarity and advocacy measures that can be undertaken by the WSCF.

WSCF general assembly

    Following from this event, WSCF’s Advocacy and Solidarity Committee will bring recommendations to the upcoming General Assembly 15-21 August 2014 in Bogota, Colombia to deepen theological reflection and analysis on Christian Zionism and the way it serves to maintain misperceptions and injustices around Israel and Palestine and to support the Kairos Palestine call to boycott, divestment, and sanctions as a peaceful form of resistance designed to lead to a situation of justice and peace for all in the lands of Palestine and Israel, as well as to deepen solidarity and work for peace in the entire Middle East region.

Faith, Hope, and Love

    Despite the heaviness that permeated the visit, participants were inspired by the deep faith, hope, and love of the Palestinian Christians and were filled with this hope about how we can work together in love, faith and compassion to overcome this injustice. A rich community and solidarity between the participants developed, which is a model for the way in which friendship leads to peace and strengthened peace work.

    In a section of the apartheid wall we saw a message “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” We strongly pray that this prophesy of Amos becomes a reality, and commit ourselves to ensuring it does.

“In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope.
We believe in God, good and just.
We believe that God’s goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and of death that still persist in our land.
We will see here “a new land” and “a new human being”, capable of rising up in the spirit to love each one of his or her brothers and sisters.”
(Final section of “Kairos Palestine”)

-The WSCF participants of “Overcoming Violence in the Middle East”
(01/04/2014)

Read the rest of this entry »

We Stand Our Ground in a Time of Violence and War

Posted 10/25/2013

I am happy today to be amongst you. I am a woman from Beirut, Lebanon and a daughter of the Church of the Arabs, which we were desired to witness by God. Within this Church, the Lord wanted us to pray in Arabic, to withstand difficulties and serve, to cross our hearts and chant his resurrection with others, for their sake and ours.

The Arab Spring was firstly known as the youth revolutions in many concerned Arab countries. These youth historical initiatives quickly opened the door for all components of the society oppressed from many decades. Youth with some naivety didn’t know that pacific demonstrations become upraising and that peaceful upraising becomes Revolution and that the military oppression transforms the peacefulness of the revolution to violent reactions… and to forms of civil wars.

 

 

The lost word becomes Peace. The youth who launched the process are again back searching for the lost Peace in the Middle East questioning themselves, their church and the society… which Peace? How to rebuild Peace? How to settle the bases of justice for a solid Peace? What’s the role of the Church and Christian youth to settle this dreamed Peace?

I would have wanted to share with you the experience of the World Student Christian Federation in the Middle East struggling from many decades for Peace. I have a lot to share about this experience on the so-called conservative societies and Churches. Here, I would like to be franc; I feel ashamed of sharing this experience with you, though of high importance, in a time where a river of blood runs steeply in our countries when people decided to stand up and face their oppressors... just because they dared to dream of an Arab Spring, and that for which, they sacrificed their lives. Such spring did not flourish yet.

As for the Church in my society, it now fears in general the fall of tyranny as much as its fears the post revolution.  And in the midst of all these scarifies and martyrs, we tried, in the World Student Christian Federation to remain close to the revolution, with the change that our countries always dreamed of, to keep up with our practice in this crazy violent world. We tried to translate in our populations upraising the meaning of being “the salt of the Earth”, a message for Justice and peace.

The revolutions in the Arab World revealed also many positive forces that were hidden underneath layers of oppression and tyranny which sole purpose was to eradicate these forces.  Nonetheless, in the same time, all forms of deviations and subdivisions also appeared. It is no secret that the religion was the umbrella for all these groups. Within an Islamic shape lies a political core that has no problem in using all forms of violence to fuel the revolution and to fulfill an ancient dream of an Islamic realm. We live in a violent context where every party is targeting Peace… but his own definition of Peace… So also we’re in the Middle of churches between different concepts of Peace.

It is not easy in the contemporary Arab World to preserve a free spirit, capable of critique. Even with the onset and fulfillment of revolutions, freeing women was never an aim. Nonetheless, marginalizing woman is still in process after the revolutions in the Arab world. Whatever the motives were, women withstood the marginalization and took part in all direct and indirect up raisings. Sometimes “she” led the revolution activities and in others, “she” was led. She was also imprisoned, killed ... She strived to make a change, though siding with her harassers.  She walked beside them in order to fight all the oppressors. Without any doubt, before, during and after the revolutions, religion was and is still the background for all this harassment. Unfortunately, the tone of the political language of some Islamists sharpened during and after the revolution regarding the ill treatment of women. But also, the Church marginalization of women remained even in different forms unfortunately. The past revolutions Peace continued to marginalize women in the Middle East.

A shallow reading of the post revolution happenings reveals its causes: it is the unwillingness of Islamic parties to propose a new society project to solve the socio economical and practical problems, which led to revolutions. Most of the ruling Islamists look as not capable of achieving on the economical and political level, so they tried to insist on the sociological level starting again by the control of people’s daily behavior, considered by them as an easy target and may be the only target to successfully hit. There are attempts to legalize early marriages, circumcision, and wearing the veil. This is in addition to the establishment of private schools for women and other weird and sometimes nasty legislations that are diminishing to women… This concept of Peace will lead to alter revolutions.

Is this the revolution and its results? We assure: No … Our impression is that the Change is just starting in the Middle East with a lot of contradictions and negative initiatives launched under the umbrella of Islam and again under the Religion and its sensitivities for all. But we can never generalize while reading the situation because in the contextuality there is also many positive initiatives and defensive ongoing actions and very important to mention that the Church in general is rarely paying attention to what’s at stake towards justice and peace in the society because the Christian community  “survival” is the priority and any other item is considered “as secondary” in the actual challenges. But also “StJohn taught us that Love exhales fear”.

Those who know the Arab Christian life know that a large number of Christian, though they did not initiate those revolutions, participated in them. Many Christians were stricken by the neutrality of a large number of Muslims that welcomed them with cooperation. Christianity also withstood revolutions and today (especially in Egypt) many are enrolling in parties, leading political movements and revealing a society that they isolated themselves from for a long period of time.

The Arab Christians and especially youth, today live an extreme fear about the future but taken also it is a spiritual challenge … Can we remain really as believers in Jesus Christ in time of violence and war. And maybe, if we remain close to our Lord in this difficult time, Christians can reborn from “high above” as Paul says and transform this tragedy to a renewed era of love between Christians and Muslims.   

We can say, humbly, that the World Student Christian Federation in the Middle East has succeeded in building many regional programs as Ecumenical Leadership, Christian-Muslim dialogue, with topics regarding “church and revolutions” “Church and freedom” and a Women program. We hope that this will ease the process of rebirth in the era so called “youth revolutions” towards a real Peace in the Arab World.

The revolutions in most of the Arab countries were called “the youth revolutions” very spontaneous in the beginning but were lately dominated y many local and international forces of hegemony … Most of the youth who made the revolutions were shocked discovering the realities in their societies dominated longtime by the dictatorships who hided and manipulated the population dynamics before the big change initiated by the revolutions which permitted to the authentic social forces to appear as they are on the scene before being again manipulated by local and international forces.

But in this process the youth also maturated and started to realize that revolution is not an easy quick process … and that Idealism is not enough to achieve the romantic revolutionary dreams.

The Christian youth in most of the Arab countries were firstly very skeptical before many of them joined the currents for change in the first phase. The shocking realities after the departure of the dictatorships pushed again the Christian youth in general to withdraw, give up, or Emigrate, that was the second phase for them, but after maturating the Christian youth comeback again on the scene willing to be actors for change in the middle of violence and wars in most of the concerned countries. We can easily remark today the birth of a new personality of Christian youth in Egypt especially but also in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon and parts of Sudan. In Syria the level of non violence is a lot of pressure for everybody but at the end of the third year of war, the Christian youth are also evolving and expressing more not only their fear but their will to build a new society of peace and justice in their country.

Arab Christian youth through many WSCF meetings expressed their will to maintain hope beyond the unbearable violence and wars in the Middle East. This hope is somewhere a deep renaissance of faith, which will be also the base for the resurrection of peace in the countries. Our Christian youth affirmed that this resurrected peace by the grace of God will stimulate the Christians in the complexity of the Arab world to give a definition for the dreamed resurrection of Peace as the following:

-                            A real peace should be based on the value of acceptance of “Diversity” which means in political terms “citizenship”.

-                            A real peace in the Middle East should be based on the respect of the “Human Rights” as bases of the new society and also women rights of any new constitution and laws.

-                            A real peace in the Middle East should be based on economical justice between the various categories in the society.

-                            A real peace should be based on freedom for all citizens in their daily life, behavior and political expression.

-                            A real Peace should be based on an equitable solution preserving the Palestinian rights to solve the Arab Israeli conflict.

The Christian youth building peace in the Middle East can’t be done without the full involvement of the church and the Christian community in this historical change. Knowing that we need to strengthen the ecumenical option for more initiation to the culture of dialogue, acceptance of our neighbor in parallel to a new adequate theological expression.

A new resurrection of peace in the Arab society after the violence and wars supposes also a new resurrection of Ecumenism in the life of the Church… This is the challenge for Christian youth for the future of the witnesses of the church and for the future of the whole Arab society.

Some of the youths wanted the World Student Christian Federation to be an embodiment of this change in both the Church and society. And we’re ready to restart up and restart up not only for us but for the life of our Church and the blooming of our society… remembering permanently the word of our Lord in Matthew (7:7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”.

Read the rest of this entry »