A report from the Emmanuel Community in Aleppo, Syria
– by Andre Codouni
The brothers and sisters from Emmanuel Community in Aleppo Syria just finished a long-awaited retreat in the first week of June where they came upon a renewed commitment to the vision and mission they have from the Lord. There are about 60 people in the core community. Earlier this month an additional 19 made their commitment to join this core group.
Fortunately, there is a lot of good news to report, even if not much has changed concerning the prohibitive basic necessities’ prices. The community continues to operate with the support of local clergy, both priests and bishop and there is also a parish Priest who has joined as a member and is helping with the pastoral care of the community.
The focus this year has been the establishment of a community center. A large donation from a benefactor church is being used to refurnish a five-bedroom apartment located in a safe area of the city even for evening meetings. The members specially the sisters can safely get there to attend small group meetings, formation courses and evangelistic prayer events.
The main job is to convert this property to serve as a community center which includes purchasing office furniture and chairs for large meetings. It also will entail upgrading toilets, revamping the kitchen, enhancing security of the building, and putting in air conditioning which is currently not there. This type of conversion is quite typical in Aleppo, and following the devastation of the war very much needed.
This process will realistically take many months to achieve since most of the skilled labor has left the city and those who have remained are swamped with work and they have to work slowly by hand; why? Because many machines have been destroyed by the fighting during the last five years in two thirds of the city.
The Emmanuel Community is running their regular schedule of evangelism and formation courses as the renovation of the center is slowly getting under way. They have even more people participating since the cessation of fighting last December. There are about 120 people who have lately attended their prayer meetings. The feast of Pentecost was celebrated with a week end retreat where rich worship, and strong community relationships were strikingly evident.
The Community sends their special thanks to all who have prayed and supported them over the last five years. They assure everyone that their work is touching many around them and ask that you continue to pray for them and their supporters. Come Lord Jesus!
Andre Codouni is a member of the People of God community in Beirut, Lebanon. Photo for illustrative purpose.