“Building knowledge with compassion and empathy,” webinar focuses on COVID-19 in the Middle East

Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

A webinar organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and Middle East Council of Churches on 14 June focused on “COVID-19 in Time of Unrest – economic crises and socio-political conflicts.”

The Middle East regional webinar was part of an ongoing series on the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in the context of the COVID-19.

Bishop Ibrahim Azar, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, who moderated the discussion, opened with a prayer that our thoughts and actions may be rooted and grounded in God’s love for us.

He also reflected briefly on vaccination in his region. “Vaccination is also in our region now well-taken by the people but many of them have many questions about their fears,” he said. “Many still are worried what will happen after five years or seven years.”

Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy general secretary, said that in our common Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, we are part of one body in Christ. “We are bound together as one humanity on our one planet,” she said. “The suffering that each person feels in one region or one family impacts all. Let us build up our knowledge and wisdom with compassion and empathy as one body in Christ to overcome this crisis.”

Prof. Dr Michel Abs, general secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, reflected on how people see the pandemic. “It is not something which is inflicted by God on the human race,” he said. “They’re doing things against the will of God, against the teaching of the Gospel, and against the teaching of human values. The human beings went too far and pushed the luck too much in making nature bear much more than it can take.”

The 90-minute webinar also explored the economic and socio-political context, medical Infrastructure, just access to testing and vaccines, refugees, youth, and the role of religious institutions. 

WCC, oikoumene.org