Presbyterian Churches in Iraq Escape Major Damage

May 01, 2003 03:15 PM EDT

LOUISVILLE - Word has finally reached Presbyterian Church (USA) officials from Iraq that the five Presbyterian churches there have escaped significant damage and are carrying on with their ministries.

In an April 24 email from Cairo, Worldwide Ministries Division coordinator for the Middle East Victor Makari wrote: "First-hand report indicates that the Presbyterian churches in Baghdad and in Mosul are managing fairly well under the circumstances. The Arab Evangelical (Presbyterian) Church of Baghdad was able to gather for services on Good Friday and on Easter."

Makari said that the Rev. Nuhad Tomeh, the PC(USA)'s mission co-worker with the Middle East Council of Churches who is coordinating MECC relief efforts in Iraq, told him that the Good Friday service at Arab Evangelical church was broadcast live on Iraqi television.

Tomeh, who is based in Beirut, told Makari that the MECC site coordinator for Iraq, Edward Esho, has visited the Presbyterian churches in Iraq and is now working with refugees outside Mosul, which is in northern Iraq.

Riad Jarjour, MECC general secretary, is currently traveling in Kuwait and is hoping to go to Basra, Iraq soon. Tomeh said he also hopes to visit Iraq before returning to the United States in early June for Worldwide Ministries Division briefings. Tomeh's home is in Tucson, AZ.

By Jerry L. Van Marter