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Evangelical churches’ councils merge through unity agreement

By Rula Samain - Nov 16,2017 - Last updated at Nov 16,2017

AMMAN — The three Evangelical church councils of Jordan, the Holy Land and Galilee on Tuesday evening signed an agreement to unite under the Union of the Synagogues of the Evangelical Churches in Jordan and the Holy Land. 

The event, titled “To Be One” as inspired by a verse from the Bible, is considered to be a “historical step”, according to the signatories. 

Imad Maayah, President of Jordanian Evangelical Council, told The Jordan Times that the event is the fruit of the past three years of hard efforts that seek to promote dialogue and friendship, and help remove obstacles to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between the church members, and then move to work in unity for the better at the local level as well”. 

Maayah, who is also a former MP, said that the agreement is “purely spiritual” and has no political dimensions. 

During the ceremony Maayah read the statement of the union declaration, which was later signed by the three heads of the churches of Jordan, the Holy Land and Galilee. 

Munir Kakish, president of the Council of Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land, and Pastor Rajaie Samawi, president of the Council of the Evangelical Churches in Galilee, agreed on the importance of encouraging unity. In their respective speeches, they provided historical background information on the churches’ role in each community. 

David Rihani, vice president of the Jordanian Evangelical Council, mentioned that the evangelical work in Jordan started in 1821 and 1823 in Karak, Ajloun and Salt governorates, noting that the council constituted of the Alliance Church, The Free Evangelical Church, Jordan Baptist Convention, Church of the Nazarene, and the Assembly of God Churches are Arab and Jordanians churches which have a long history of working for the local community.

The event was attended by priests from different denominations from Jordan and Palestine, and key Christian figures.

Kamel Abu Jaber, former director of the Royal Institute of Interfaith Studies, told The Jordan Times that the Zionist hostility was also aimed against Christians, a fact that few acknowledge, voicing hope that the unity will have a positive effect on minimising the Christian immigration. 

Rev. Yousef Hasweh, president of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Jordan and the Holy Land, said that after such a historical initiative, they hope to move towards a governmental recognition of the council in order to be able to establish a special court for the members of the church in the future.

“Christ church is but one, and the [Jordan] River that separates does not divide us,” Hashweh concluded.  

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