New Mission Region for the ECC – Middle East/North Africa (MENA)

Post a Comment » Written on March 21st, 2017     
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In the fall of 2016 the Executive Board of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) adopted a new mission region known as MENA, Middle East/North Africa. In the months that have followed this decision a team has come together under the leadership of ECC Serve Globally Executive Minister Al Tizon and Interim MENA Regional Coordinator Nancy Jo Hoover to lay tracks for future engagement within the MENA region.

Four Pillars of Engagement will give shape to future ministry:

  1. Refugees of the Region
  2. The Persecuted Church of the Region
  3. Muslim Engagement in the Region
  4. Peace and Reconciliation related to Israel and Palestine

The ability to engage well demands greater understanding of a part of the world that gains headlines yet is still largely unknown to many in Canada and the United States. Even on the larger journalistic scene we can see examples of misunderstanding. In a 2015 article published by The Guardian related to the Booker Prize for fiction declared that the only African author on the long list was Nigerian born Chigozie Obloma for his work The Fisherman. In fact Moroccan born Laila Lalami was also on the list for her work the Moor’s Account but because she is from the Arab culture northern Africa region was missed.

In the Christian heritage, four significant Church Father’s came from North Africa: Tertullian/Tunisia, Origen/Egypt, Athanasius/Egypt and Augustine of Hippo/Algeria. In 2016 The Marrakesh Conference held in Morocco produced the very important “Marrakesh Declaration on the Rights of Religious Minorities in Predominantly Muslim Communities” which is hopeful in both Muslim and Christian communities (

The ECC is at the front end of interaction with the MENA region. There have been individuals and initiatives in the past but the future will bring about a far greater desire to understand and engage deeper with this part of the world that is intimately involved in our faith history.

Looking ahead, a “dream” written by Dr. Yohanna Katanacho, Academic Dean of Bethlehem Bible College and Director of Nazareth Evangelical College may provide us with an inspirational roadmap:

I have a dream

I dream of a Middle East in which I have my breakfast in Jerusalem, my lunch in Beirut, and my dinner in Syria. I ride my car and drive to Iraq, to the Gulf, and I enter into Africa in the same car.

I dream of a Middle East in which people choose their own religion without fear. I dream of a Middle East in which there is no bigotry, radicalism, and hatred. I dream of a Middle East in which all human beings are equal, the ones who wear a Hijab and the ones who put a Keffiyeh are equal.

I dream of a Middle East in which Jews love Arabs and seek to uphold their rights, a Middle East in which Arabs love Jews. I dream of a Middle East without poverty, hatred, wars, and massacring human beings.

I dream of peace, peace with God and with all of our neighbours; peace with self and the angels.

I dream of a Middle East without weapons, without traffic jams, without pollution, without discrimination because of sex, religion, age, or weight. My dream is not an illusion but a step forward as I follow Jesus Christ, the prince of peace.

My dream is not something that can be fulfilled in a moment, but it is a celestial kingdom that comes through many generations and many sacrifices, prayers, and tears. Before the dawn there is darkness; before joy there is the victory of sadness, before laughing weeping dominates, before the dominance of the Kingdom of God the kingdom of the devil dominates. 

O Lord! May your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. May your Kingdom come through my words, thoughts, decisions, and relationships! Turn me into a peacemaker.


IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Monday, March 20th, 2017, the Evangelical Covenant Church and Serve Globally have officially hired coordinators for the region of the Middle East/North Africa (MENA). Please join us in welcoming Jeff and Darlene Anderson to Serve Globally and in praying for their work in this area. Both have faithfully served the Canada Conference of the ECC for years, and have worked with and traveled to the MENA region numerous times. We welcome them and their leadership in this important step.



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