BEIRUT CHURCH SHARES LOVE OF REFUGEES ACROSS ARAB WORLD
A Beirut church that has learnt to love its refugee neighbours is now testifying to that love to audiences across the Arab world through SAT-7.
Broadcasts of live Sunday services from Resurrection Church, Beirut (RCBeirut) began last month (October). The church is situated close to parts of the city that have become home to many Syrians and Iraqis fleeing conflict. Recognising deep social needs on its doorstep, RCBeirut has become known for supporting and welcoming people from many backgrounds.
The five weekly worship services at RCBeirut combine contemporary, Arab-style worship with clear, hope-filled, biblical teaching. Complementing these, a wide range of aid, friendship, and education ministries offer hope and practical care to hundreds of Iraqi, Syrian, and Lebanese neighbours.
SAT-7 Arabic Programming Director George Makeen says:
“We are very happy to see this weekly service on air. It is difficult to find someone who is biblically solid, yet can speak a simple language people can understand. [RC Beirut’s] Pastor Hikmat does this perfectly: he always builds bridges between the biblical text and its historical context and today’s challenges. He focuses on how Christian faith can be implemented in everyday action and how the church, the one body of Christ, can together reflect God’s image in the ways its members relate to one another and serve society.”
Pastor Hikmat found Christ during the Lebanese civil war. Today his church acts as the hands of Christ to those escaping civil war in neighbouring countries.
“The displacement of people from Syria and the presence of Iraqi refugees has created huge social challenges,” says Pastor Hikmat Kashouh. “So as a church our role is to serve the family holistically. We care for its spiritual, emotional, and physical life. We offer a variety of activities without discrimination, aiming to serve and love as God taught us to.”
These activities include providing household essentials, home visits and a level of help with medical care, educational learning support, family and personal counselling and a welcome to church life groups and services.
“For those who are eager to learn about Jesus Christ we have faithful individuals always ready to read God’s Word and pray with them,” Kashouh says.
LEARNING TO LIVE TOGETHER
Becoming a shelter for people from many different societies and cultures has not been easy.
“When the church shelters people with ethnic and background diversity, it creates conflicts,” Pastor Kashouh says. Over the last five years, RCBeirut has had to learn how to live and coexist despite the different backgrounds.
The result has enriched the church as a local expression of Christ:
“The way we learned to genuinely love one another, despite our differences and exceptional diversity, equipped us with spiritual maturity.”
“So when we observe during our worship and gatherings how God placed in this church people from different backgrounds, we see a beautiful, diverse picture,” Pastor Kashouh says.
A MESSAGE FOR THE REGION
SAT-7 has provided media and TV training to a group within RCBeirut:they are now using this to full effect as the church looks far beyond its local community to proclaim God’s love to the entire Arab region through weekly TV broadcasts. Pastor Kashouh says:
“Our objective is to impact each person to love God willingly with all his heart and soul and love his brother the way he loves himself. We hope through this genuine and honest collaboration to spread the name of Jesus Christ everywhere.”