A letter from… Syria
Joseph Kassab reports from Syria
The Church in Syria and Lebanon is still going through tragic circumstances, alongside all people in our two countries. At a time when churches are struggling to keep up their mission and services in difficult conditions, young people are still searching for a better future abroad. Youth are driven outside the country, either by the state of war in Syria or by the lack of job opportunities and bad economy in Lebanon. Under such circumstances, the Church of Christ is called upon to continue to maintain its presence by calling people into the circle of faith and spiritual commitment. The Church is also called to exert influence through its institutions and services.
For the last seven years, the Syrian war has wreaked havoc on the nation, people, institutions and economy. It has particularly harmed Christians and their presence. Fifty per cent of Syria’s Christians are still outside Syria, looking for safety in foreign countries. Most Syrians never thought of going abroad before the war, or imagined that one day they would hold refugee status outside their country. The Christian community in Syria could not escape this demographic hemorrhage, which has taken many young people, families and children from their historical homeland. Lebanon, a very small country, is taking on the big burden of receiving one million Syrian registered refugees. This adds to the already enormous economic difficulties that Lebanon suffers.
Remarkably, the threat of Islamic jihadis – who aim to arrest the Syrian state and society in the name of Islam – has retreated. However, another phase of the war has started in which regional and international powers are the players…
Joseph Kassab is General Secretary of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon
This is an extract from an article that was published in the May 2018 edition of Reform