Monday, 9 June 2003

Amman (Fides Service) – To foster ecumenism is the aim of the Middle East Council of Churches, based in Amman Jordan. MECC represents the various Christian confessions present in the region. During a meeting in May held in Amman, the MECC called on all Christians to be more ecumenical in the Middle East. In its June Newsletter the MECC stated: “Without firm fellowship between Christians – Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal or others, now matter how different we are - we cannot really address the burning issues in the Arabian Gulf today. We cannot afford to be exclusive, we are a minority as Christians and we need one another. We cannot carry the century old divisions or our fathers on our shoulders. That will lead us away from Christ’s commandment to love one another so that the world will believe.”
MECC stresses the need to develop unity among the Christian communities in order to promote dialogue with Muslims. MECC reports “Slowly but surely the Gulf is opening up to a process of dialogue between religions and cultures…Churches have been built or are underway in several places in the Gulf, including Bahrain and Qatar. The Copt Orthodox Church has at last a church in the United Arab Emirates. Others building are Catholics, Anglicans, Indian Orthodox.”
MECC reports that ecumenism in the region is cemented by joint social activity. In Oman and Bahrain for example different Christians present engage in ecumenical projects to assist the poor, prisoners, migrants in collaboration with Christian organisations in the countries of origin of the latter. Another area in which believers in Christ offer a recognised and appreciated witness is medical care: Christians have opened health clinics and dispensaries for those who cannot afford other medical assistance. PA (Fides Service 9/6/2003 EM lines 27 Words: 298)

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