A Peacemaking Workshop Series with a Local Church
July 16, 2021
July 2021 Newsletter: This Land Is Worth the Effort Because It Is Dear to God
July 16, 2021
Christian hope is what comes unexpectedly in unexpected places. It is beyond our imagination what the Word of God has done in the last 50 years in the world, regardless of the soil and its nature. […] The Word is Jesus Christ— through your hands, your lips, and your lives. You are the sowers.
These were the words of the graduation speaker Pastor Joseph Kassab, President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon, as he addressed our graduates during our June 19 virtual graduation ceremony. This time, our Elias Salibi hall wasn’t bustling with the ambient noise of the audience as they went in and then went out to congratulate the graduates after the ceremony. Faculty may have found it slightly strange that they were addressing a camera instead, but as ABTS President Elie Haddad pointed out, the changes that the pandemic caused became an opportunity to upgrade our programs and educational approaches to meet the emerging needs.

Together, we had the privilege of worshipping God and celebrating the harvest of our graduates. Our faculty gathered on campus, and our graduates joined them virtually from each of their respective countries, along with our friends who joined our live stream.

During the ceremony, we heard congratulatory speeches from ABTS president Elie Haddad as well as Charlie Costa, who is the Chairman of our Board of Trustees. We sang with the worship and praise team, and we heard the testimonials of our graduates before Walid Zailaa, our Academic Dean, announced the names of the 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 graduates.

Our 2020 Bachelor of Theology graduate, Nabou from Syria, was the student speaker for the Integrated Theology Program. Despite all the challenges he and his family faced during the Syrian war, Nabou heeded the Lord’s calling for him to study theology and dedicate himself to the service of the Church. Our 2020 graduate Ashley Al-Saliby from Texas was the student speaker for the Master of Religion (MRel) program, whose vivid portrayal of meaningful encounters during the program’s field visits warmed our hearts. We leave you with her concluding prayer:

“Oh, that God would lead us to walk humbly with Him all our days. He is worthy. Oh, that He would enable us to walk humbly with one another. Oh, that He would help us to walk humbly through a groaning world of hurting and harassed neighbors, imitating the way Jesus laid down his rights and gave Himself up. May He be glorified in us, friends. Thank you. God bless you.”