Iraq: Leadership Development
The Outreach Foundation supports two organizations, based in Lebanon, who are active in offering leadership training for the Presbyterian Church in Iraq which is currently without any similar resources in its own country:
- The Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC) was created in its present form in 1974 as an umbrella organization bringing together 15 Evangelical Reformed, Lutheran, and Episcopal churches in the Middle East region (approximately 600 parishes with 1.5-2 million members). These churches are located in Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, Kuwait, and the Gulf. Through FMEEC the member churches gather as one family, cooperate together in different areas, have common actions, and offer a qualitative contribution to the ecumenical movement.
- The Near East School of Theology (N.E.S.T.), based in Beirut and formed in 1932, is a Protestant seminary serving the evangelical churches of the Middle East. The primary purpose of the school is to train pastors and church workers for ministry in the churches and other evangelical organizations in the Middle East. It is also concerned with continuing education for pastors and church workers in active service and with theological education of the laity. Students from beyond the Middle East who have a special interest in biblical studies against the cultural background of the Middle East, Islamics, or Oriental and Orthodox churches are also welcome.
Both organizations work closely with the pastors and elders of the Iraqi churches to determine their actual needs and hence investigate possible future means by which week-long seminars might address those needs. At the same time, they offer a safe and stress-free context in which those attending can, for a brief time, escape the danger and violence which still plagues the country. Recent foci of the seminars have included elder training, capacity building for women, Theology 101, and nurturing spirituality in young children.
Minimum Goal for 2016