Middle East Conversations 2020

The Middle East Consultation is an annual event that has gathered participants from around the MENA region and the world since 2004 to explore issues of faith by presenting insightful analysis and facilitating meaningful discussions. Due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the new global realities of distancing and travel restrictions, this year’s consultation (originally scheduled for June 15-19) has been reimagined and a new type of MEC 2020 has taken shape: Middle East Conversations. We look forward to having you join us for monthly online webinars as we embark on an innovative MEC 2020!
Purpose of MEC 2020: To lend Middle-Eastern voices to the global discourse on urgent matters of faith and witness.

In a moment of global pandemic fraught with health crises, economic fallout, and widespread disruption, ABTS seeks to engage the global Church with a biblical worldview on topics of weight and relevance. Middle East Conversations 2020 will bring together MENA and global perspectives to illuminate our understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing us at this time, encouraging thoughtful analysis and constructive debate.

Join us for our fifth MEC2020 webinar:
October 22, 6:00-7:30 pm Beirut Time (GMT+3)

Lebanon’s Year of Meltdown: Faith Refined

Contributors include:
Conversation Host: Martin Accad, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary
Guest: Eugene Sensenig, Notre Dame University in Lebanon
Guest: Nadia Khouri Accad, Tahaddi, Beirut
Guest: Wissam al-Saliby, World Evangelical Alliance

Webinar Context:
The 17 October 2019 outburst of popular protests was a watershed moment for Lebanon. It effectively launched a tumultuous 12-month period dominated by three prevailing national crises: a street protest movement fueled by rapidly deteriorating socioeconomic and political conditions, a public health emergency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the horrific Beirut Blast disaster on the 4th of August. Entrenched cracks in Lebanon’s political, economic, and social fabric have been exposed in volatile ways this past year, and the impact has been devastating on many levels. Though it is reasonable to look at such a climactic situation with despair, biblical faith compels us to respond to crisis in ways that resist defeatism and embraces hope. This is certainly not an easy task. Even so, the past year has provided valuable lessons of faith and witness as the Church in Lebanon reconsiders its role in society. The experience has been both bitter and sweet, and there is much more to learn.

The 22 October MEC 2020 webinar will take stock of this consequential year by facilitating a reflective conversation that assesses the challenges of Lebanon while garnering valuable lessons about refining faith during times of national meltdown. Diverse voices from the fields of political science, public health and human rights advocacy will lend their perspectives in an exercise that aims to illuminate theological frameworks and consider missiological implications for Christians. By drawing from the dynamic context of Lebanon, this webinar will stir an informative conversation and generate practical insights to enrich the global Church as it seeks to witness in a world of crisis.

For questions, please contact MEC@abtslebanon.org.

Previous Webinars:

September 17:
Rethinking Missions During Pandemic: Considerations from the Middle East

Contributors included:
Keynote Presentation: Wes Watkins, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary
Regional Respondent: Kamel Shalhoub, The Navigators
Global Respondent: Pam Arlund, All Nations International
The webinar will be moderated by Elie Haddad.
August 20:
No Space or New Space? Navigating Exceptional Times as the New Normal for the Local Church

Contributors included:
Keynote Presentation: Nabil Habiby, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary
Case Study: Ara Badalian, Baghdad Baptist Church
Case Study: Bassem Melki, Church of God-Beirut
Global Respondent: Shadi Fatehi, Pars Theological Center, London
Moderator: Emad Botros, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary
July 16:
COVID-19 and Theological Education in the Middle Eastern Context: Between Mounting Challenges and Emerging Opportunities.

Contributors included:
Elie Haddad, President of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Lebanon
Hani Hanna, Academic Dean at the Evangelical Theological Seminary, Cairo
Stephanie Black, Associate Director for Orientation and Training of Theologians Without Borders
Martin Accad, Chief Academic Officer at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Lebanon
June 18:
A Dynamic Pause: Reflections on Simplicity, Purpose, and Transformation in this Time of Pandemic.

Contributors included:
Martin Accad, Chief Academic Officer and Director of the Institute of Middle East Studies at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Lebanon
Rima Nasrallah, Professor of Practical Theology at the Near East School of Theology, Beirut
Gary Nelson, President of Tyndale University, Toronto