Lebanon/Syria #15: The Light Prevails
by Ted Kulik, for the team
“For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Hebrews 11:10
The Presbyterians of Homs cherish the view from their church courtyard. From the courtyard, they can see the many different churches and mosques that surround them: a symbol of what Homs once was and what it will be again.
When the war began in Homs, the church neighborhood was the city’s most dangerous area. For fear of safety many members left the city, but many also stayed. Those that stayed committed themselves to maintaining the church in Homs. Even after terrorists drove them from their church in 2012 and then occupied it and vandalized it for a year, they stayed in Homs and worshipped at the Presbyterian elderly care center, where we worshipped with them in 2014.
The elder care center stayed open during the war and is today the only center for elder care in Homs. The Presbyterian school remained open despite being damaged by bombs that thankfully did not explode. Today the school is expanding again and it serves as a witness to the community, with two-thirds of the students Muslim.
After we worshipped together in 2014, we walked to the church to see the damage. They sang hymns for us there and talked of a day we would worship together in peace in a new building. What a great joy it was to do so today!
Today the church continues to grow, with weekly programs for women, youth and teens. On Fridays there is Sunday school and there are sports training and art programs and an expanding library.
In worship today Reverend Jack Baca of The Outreach Foundation and Reverend Yousef Ousta Jabbar both addressed the congregation. Both men talked of the church’s perseverance, and how it should remind us, that through God’s grace, the light will always prevail against the darkness.
Ted Kulik, First Presbyterian Church, Brookline, Massachusetts