Praise from a gathering of 10,000 Christians at a special worship event in Lebanon was said to be louder than the blast of bombs” as leaders affirmed the power of church unity in the “afflicted” Middle East region. 

The event, “Beirut 2024”, was held on Saturday 20 January as part of celebrations for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 January) and the 50th anniversary of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC). The program was covered live by Lebanese station MTV and aired by SAT-7 ARABIC and other Christian channels.

Heads of churches and thousands of believers took part in the special night of worship and prayer in Lebanon, made all the more poignant against a backdrop of conflict and escalating tensions in the region.  

Opening the event, Professor Dr Michel Abs, Secretary General of the MECC, encouraged the worshippers about the impact of their unity in Christ: “Our chant tonight will be ascending to heaven, with the power of the Spirit that unites us, and it will be, in this afflicted region, stronger than the screams of haters and murderers of man, and louder than the blast of their bombs.”  

An ecumenical choir of 300 singers and musicians from different churches led the congregation of church leaders and worshippers through an uplifting night filled with spiritual songs and prayers. They sang hymns representing various liturgical traditions to highlight Christian unity through music.   

“Our ecumenical spiritual evening tonight is the product of the Holy Spirit, through believers, who worked with persistence and determination to make it happen and bring together the one Church of Christ with its cultural diversity and richness, in which the Middle East abounds,” added Prof. Abs.  

Heads of churches shared prayers and reflections on the importance of unity and peace in the Middle East. Rev. Dr Paul Haidostian prayed: 

“Lord Jesus, on the day you died for us you prayed for your disciples to be one just as you are in the Father and the Father is in you. Let us unite in you so you can give us joy through your prayer of unity. Let us find in you the way that leads to unity in you and obedience to you.”  

Beirut 2024 is the first event in a program of activities by the MECC to celebrate its 50th-anniversary year. 

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