October 14, 2022
H.E. Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen: guaranteeing the religious freedom in Lebanon is good news for the country, the region and the world
Aiming at building Ecclesiastical bridges between the East and West, His Eminence Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro, visited the offices of the Middle East Council of Churches’ General Secretariat in Beirut, on Thursday 13 October 2022. He was accompanied by a delegation from the Diocese in the UK, including Rachael Varney, Executive Assistant, David Fieldsend, International Affairs Adviser, and Revd Etienne Van Blerk, alongside Dr. Mike Bassous, General Secretary of the Bible Society. At MECC, Secretary General Dr. Michel Abs and a team from the Council’s General Secretariat welcomed the delegation.
During the meeting, His Eminence Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, discussed the reasons of their visit, and stressed the need to strengthen the partnership between UK and Lebanon, in addition to witness closely the challenges faced by the country at various levels. He also emphasized the importance of facing the challenges with faith, hope and love. His Eminence mentioned that guaranteeing the religious freedom in Lebanon is good news for the country, the region and the world, especially since Lebanon is not just a country but a message. But with the absence of religious freedom, Lebanon will witness negative results.
As well as, His Eminence indicated that the Diocese of Truro had worked on a 22 recommendations submitted to the Foreign Affairs office in the UK, in which it urged the office to take into consideration and seriously the religious affairs it in its work and projects.
Noting that the visit of Rt Revd Mounstephen includes a lecture he will present on Thursday 13 October 2022, at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, under the title “Why Our Religious Freedom Matters”. It is organized by the Middle East Council of Churches, the Bible Society, and the Faculty of Religious Sciences at the University.
From his end, the Secretary General Dr. Michel Abs presented an introduction about the Middle East Council of Churches and its history, in addition to the programs it implements through its various departments. He also said that the main goal of the MECC mission is the rapprochement between Churches to know each other enough. He also stressed the Council’s keenness to consolidate the Christian presence in the region. Dr. Abs pointed out that the Ecumenical work in the region has been developed over the years, and explained the MECC role in developing and supporting the interfaith dialogue, because through dialogue we can achieve the desired peace and ensure a better future.
The meeting also included a session for introduction between the MECC team and the visiting delegation. At the end, His Eminence Rt Revd Mounstephen presented to Dr. Abs a book entitled “Heretics, Hermits and Kings, A short history of the Celtic Church” by Revd Canon Pat Robson. In his turn, Dr. Abs offered His Eminence the “Christianity” book, which is from the MECC publications.