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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.

This is the era of experiences. The Church currently faces the biggest challenge as it loses its comfort midst darkened ideas. We might have forgotten that we only exist because the First Church sacrificed a lot during its time… That Church paid an expensive price for us to gain Faith and live within a Church. Our youths are currently facing n edging challenge, and this is exactly why they need guidance. The youth is the core of the Church. Either the Church overcomes its challenge and deepens its roots of Love, Faith and Liturgy, or we fall, together, in this era’s cruel abyss. This way, we deviate from the Church, and our youths become from this era and towards it, rather than being from the Church and towards it.

We, at the WSCF, must read these challenges with the Divine Help, listen to the youths in their movements, and perform the role that the Lord asks us in building His Church. We are way behind in what we must do. However, with utmost humbleness, we have tried to continue this journey. Although pretty much lost, we smile midst the storms as the hand of the Lord kept reaching for us to guide us through.

The activities continued midst this storm. We sense Love from the participating youths every day, while we acknowledge their urge for cooperation and meeting. We tried “to try”. Our youths wanted an Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East and that is why, in 2015, this dream became true. Because the Lord blessed this work, this Institute was born, under the hood of the Federation. The challenges began vanishing one after the other. We were worried that no one would apply, but instead of 40 applications, we got a 100. We sadly had to reject 60 applicant, coming from various churches and movements. 25 lecturers and instructors participated in the first round, coming from different backgrounds and specialties. We were also blessed by incoming funds and supporting from members of the clergy as well as the Bossey Institute in Geneva, and the World Council of Churches.

Talented students were members of this Institute and they will hopefully graduate and preach for Ecumenism, while carrying the sorrows of this Eastern Church, presenting it to the Other and exposing it to the works of the Spirit.

We tried to incorporate the Federation’s long experience, in domains of youth activity and ecumenical work, in the establishment of this Institute. The Institute thus became an embodiment of Life, Knowledge, and common prayers. Simply and humbly, we would like to announce that the graduates of the first round of this Institute prayed, lived, thought and studied… which enabled them to be blessed by true Christian love. Because they loved one another, coming from different backgrounds, they recognized the beauty of the Lord’s United Christian Church.

I assure you that saying goodbye was the hardest part. Bidding farewell to brothers who spent time around Jesus, midst Christian blood and tears was indeed heartbreaking. What we must pay attention to in these difficult days is that these students continuously use social media platforms. This can be used to pray, challenging distances, challenges, and boundaries. They thought, loved, and prayed. They still do.

Dear everyone, this Institute was not born as a mere establishment, it was born with the love of the students. These students hold today their gained expertise to their Churches, Liturgy Institutes and Movements. We all tried to spread the seeds in this Institute to plant and harvest a huge return. We are few, yet the harvest is noteworthy. Let us all read and feel what God wants us to do through this Institute. Although they say it’s a time of violence and war in our beloved country, and a time of hold back for the Ecumenical Movement, this Institute was born regardless. Let us all pray that this birth is from Above. Let us all hope that this is a light we can offer to our youths.

We emerge from the hardship of challenges and experiences so we can remain determined in our aim to build visions, suggestions, and workshops, as well as attempting to make them real and thus serving the hopes of the Church and its youths, and eventually witness for Christ in today’s world. Achieving this allows continuity and renewal of witness that the World Student Christian Federation seeks to draw in communication with the youths. All this is done with utmost humility and perservance, with the blessing of the Lord and your continuous prayers.

We tried to collaborate in the activities that we planned together. I therefore thank all the movements for their collaboration and extend my thanks to Brother Ayman Karam who ensured the success of our efforts.

We finally ask God to embrace this Institute and bless it with His care. We gift with humility our past, present and future, and we promise to make Ecumenism our end. We strive to approach the Other while keeping His teachings in mind. Hopefully, we will be blessed with his care and step on sorrow with Hope.