Since its launching in 2004, the Middle East Consultation (MEC)has annually gathered individuals from around the world to explore important issues confronting the Church in the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) region and beyond. When the COVID-19 global crisis struck during the early months of 2020, it became apparent that this year’s consultation (originally scheduled for June 15-19) could not take place as planned. As disappointing as it was to see MEC 2020 and its intriguing theme halted before materializing, this disruption provided a unique opportunity for ABTS to imagine creative ideas and pursue fresh initiatives that otherwise would not have been considered. The task of reconceptualizing MEC into a format accommodating, and even capitalizing on, rapidly changing global realities has been a fruitful venture. What has emerged is a new type of MEC 2020: Middle East Conversations.
Middle East Conversation 2020 is an innovative initiative for ABTS that will facilitate monthly online webinars aiming to lend Middle Eastern voices to the global discourse on urgent matters of faith and witness. Little about 2020 is “business as usual,” but there is much to gain by scrutinizing long-held conventions and asking difficult questions in the genuine desire to discover how God is inspiring kingdom ministry during increasingly disorienting times. Complexities abound as we think about our current situations and seek ways to move forward as individuals and communities of faith. A constructive way to proceed is by initiating conversation, and we intend to do just that during MEC 2020!
There is certainly much that concerns us about unfolding developments in the world, but there is even more that should inspire us to recognize God’s hopeful action and motivate us to respond faithfully. We hope you will join us in upcoming discussions that will encourage the Church to consider challenges and identify opportunities for vibrant witness to Christ. Stay tuned for details about the first MEC 2020 webinar taking place on June 18 entitled A Dynamic Pause: Reflections on Simplicity, Purpose, and Transformation in this Time of Pandemic.