|Rev Dr. Rima Nasrallah and Rev Pamela Strachan
The Presbytery World Mission Group have been exploring possible links with Lebanon for a few years. This came out of links that Earlston made with Tripoli and continued with Marina Altounian visiting in Augist 2018. Our locum minister, Rev Pamela Strachan, also went out in October 2018 for a 3 month study leave course at the Near East School of Theology (NEST) based in Beirut. We are making progress and hope to bring a report with recommendations to Presbytery in the near future.
As part of this process, the committee had a zoom call with Rev Dr Rima Nasrallah, a lecturer at NEST and also a pastor in a local church in Beirut. She and Pamela struck up a friendship when Pamela was at NEST. Rima was able to give us apersonal update on what the situation is in Lebanon, Beirut and NEST which was distressing in its detail. She described 3 crises. The first last year when political unrest led to the Government having to resign and a new one formed, then COVID hit an already fragile infrastructure. Finally the blast in the port area of Beirut in August which destroyed most of the port, killed and injured hundreds, made 1000's homeless and destroyed the stores of wheat which normally feeds the nation over the winter. With the world gripped in a pandemic and political storms waging in that part of the world, aid has been slow and the Lebanese people face an extremely difficult winter.
We in Melrose and Peebles Presbytery cannot hope to sort the problem but Rima asks that we as a Presbytery pray for our brothers and sisters in Lebanon. The fact that we are concerned and remember them in our prayers goes a long way to help people realise they have not been abandoned. If nothing else this pandemic has made us all realise how small the world really is and how interconnected we all are.
Some Possible Prayer Pointers:
- The impact of rampant inflation and economic collapse resulting from years of corrupt and inept leadership at Government level.
- The rise recently in Covid-19 cases burdening an already underfunded and over stretched health system
- The ongoing aftermath of the August explosion in the Docks area of Beirut which resulted in over 200 deaths, 6,000 severe injuries and disabilities, and 300,000 homeless
Please share this request with your family and your church family and on behalf of the World Mission Committee, I pray you have a safe Christmas and look forward in hope to 2021.
- Chair, Presbytery World Mission Committee
You can also read about the catastrophic explosion on the BBC's web site
(11th August 2020)