Celebrating 8 Years of a Growing Middle Eastern Presbyterian Church

From Mountain Shadows Church
October 2016 Oracle Newsletter

In his August 14 remarks to his congregation, Pastor Georges lifts up all his people: newcomers, those standing by him since the beginning, as well as those who out of necessity have moved to other parts of the U.S.

Embraced in the love of Christ Jesus, 36 families have been received into the church from all over the Middle East.  Seventeen of those have gone on to other communities but are not forgotten.

In his words, Pastor Georges has “answered the call to every inviting church to preach.”  Despite his efforts and those of the MEPF Administrative Commission, building partnerships within Presbytery de Cristo and beyond remains a challenge.

The MEPF Mission Statement is “WE CARE, WE SHARE, WE DARE.”

That is the fellowship CARES for the MEPF community and all who come to worship and study.

In terms of practical ministry, the MEPF offers new refugees and migrants: translation and interpretation, access to the Northminster church food bank, limited family support for the jobless and much more.

WE SHARE our faith beliefs as the body of Christ, interacting with the many traditions of Middle Eastern churches without judgment of religion, ethnicity or family.

As evangelists and witnesses to God’s salvation, WE DARE to tell the Good News of the gospel through word and deed.

As the fellowship seeks a better identity, vision, and financial stability, they recognize the time a young church takes to fully develop.  The good news is, in Pastor Georges’ words:

“This baby church had embraced all because our church believes that the very big and warm heart she has is not hers, but the Lord’s who loves her.  Our church is in God’s heart also.  So she loves limitlessly and contains the limitless; and though our church is poor in resources, her reputation is all over the state and even beyond now.”

The fellowship now has a new 5-member steering committee (functioning like a session) and Pastor Georges is hopeful that his leaders will develop “courageous people to say ‘I am here to learn how to love and how to study and how to witness to others about what the Lord has done through me.’ Let everyone see that you share and you care and you dare.”

Pastor Georges concludes with thanks to the Northminster church, providing worship, study, and pastoral living space. In addition, he expressed his gratitude to Mountain Shadows and all the other churches in the Presbytery supporting the MEPF prayerfully and financially.  His words of hope for the fellowship and for all of us are, “Today is a new beginning of the next 8 years of our lives together.  We are all invited to be more serious about our faith, about our commitment to Christ and commitment to our church.”

Dennis Nelson

MEPF and Refugee Mission Connector

[1] Edited version of Rev. Georges Bitar’s August 14, 2016 message to the MEPF congregation

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