Syria Relief Update
Scroll to the bottom of this article and click on the link for a downloadable church bulletin insert.
Dear Friends in Christ’s mission,
Thanks for your generous response to our appeal on behalf of the relief efforts of the National Evangelical [Presbyterian] Synod of Syria and Lebanon. Since February 2012, we have sent over $70,000 for the needs of Presbyterian families who have been displaced or adversely affected by the ongoing conflict there. Twenty of the thirty congregations of the Synod are located in Syria.
Unfortunately, the conflict has severely damaged several churches, disrupted the ability of congregations to come together for worship, and affected hundreds of families who have had to flee the fighting, leaving behind their homes and their livelihoods.
With the conflict now extending into Aleppo and Damascus, where two of the larger Presbyterian churches are located, the needs of the Synod are increasing. Many more Presbyterian families await help to meet the basic needs of food, medicine, housing, and school fees. Additionally, with colder weather setting in, expenses for heating fuel are adding to the burden of many whose jobs have been suspended or businesses closed.
The Presbyterian congregation in Homs, Syria was one of the first to be impacted by the violence last year. Its sanctuary was badly damaged, and most of the congregation has been displaced. But they are still worshipping God - wherever they have landed - as we learn from the pastor:
“Beside the worship service we hold every Sunday in the church’s Home for the Elderly, we began a bi-weekly Bible Study for the people in Mashta [a nearby hilltop town to which many members have fled]. There is also a Bible study on Saturdays in the Valley [called the "Christian Valley" because there are so many Christians in this area near the Lebanese border]. Sometimes we celebrate Holy Communion.” He goes on to say that in Fihaileh [a small village in the Christian Valley] where there are seven Presbyterian families, he recently joined with them in one of their homes, celebrating Holy Communion as they sat on the floor around the stove. He wrote, "I felt I belonged to the early church," and closed his letter saying that despite all the difficulties, service in Christ’s name is sweet!
Underneath the headlines about Syria are our brothers and sisters who are struggling. You are making a difference. Your congregation is making a difference. We thank you for your support and compassion.
To continue to support this ministry, please designate your gift for the "Syria Appeal." You may send a gift to our office or make an on-line gift through our website, www.theoutreachfoundation.org. You will also find a downloadable bulletin insert on our website.
IS GOD CALLING YOU TO TAKE A NEXT STEP? JOIN US IN LEBANON THIS SPRING ON AN IMPORTANT MISSION-VISION TRIP…
Lebanon: A Journey of Solidarity
May 15-24, 2013
The National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, the extension of our Presbyterian family in the region, is based in Beirut which will be our base, as well. For almost two years, the Synod has worked diligently to address the crisis faced by its churches in Syria whose members in places like Homs and Aleppo have been displaced by the war. This visit of solidarity is intended to encourage the Church there through these difficult times while also discerning ways in which we can most effectively provide support and partnership at this critical time, while allowing congregations and individuals who have supported the Syria Relief Appeal through The Outreach Foundation to experience the situation first-hand. We will meet with displaced families and learn of the complex relief initiatives of the Synod from the Rev. Salam Hanna, who is directing operations, as well as from Dr. Mary Mikhael (recently retired President of Near East School of Theology) who is charged with reporting on the work to global partners. This trip will be led by Marilyn Borst, Associate Director for The Outreach Foundation. For more information and an application from, please visit our website at www.theoutreachfoundation.org.
To support this ministry, please designate your gift for the "Syria Appeal." You may:
*send a gift to The Outreach Foundation office
*make an on-line gift by clicking on https://give.theoutreachfoundation.org/syria-relief-donation-page
Thank you for praying for brothers and sisters in Syria,
The Outreach Foundation