I. The National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL)
HISTORY OF NESSL
Origins in the 1800’s: In the early years of the century (around 1819) a number of missionaries from the Presbyterian and Reformed Presbyterian churches in Europe and America landed in different areas of the Middle East, including Syria and Lebanon. The believers who responded to the ministry of these missionaries were known as the Evangelicals, due to the way they acted in their worship and behavior in response to the message of the Bible, and sought a life based on the pure teachings of the Bible.
In 1848 these “Evangelicals” were officially recognized as a church within the Millet system of the Ottoman Empire. The first Evangelical church was organized in Beirut that same year, followed by churches in Hasbaya/South Lebanon (1852), Aleppo (1853), and Homs… In 1920 the work of the Evangelical churches in Syria and Lebanon was reorganized under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church USA to form a single Synod: the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon. In 1959 the Board of Foreign Mission of the Presbyterian Church – USA transferred full responsibility for the spiritual, educational, medical, social, and administrative ministries of these churches over to the Synod and its indigenous personnel.
To facilitate its decision-making, the Synod regulated the field of its service through a Synodical meeting (General Assembly), the Administrative Council, the Executive Committee, and the Proper Committees: Ecclesial and Spiritual Affairs Committee / the Educational Committee / Financial and Property Affairs Committee / Medical Committee / Media Committee.
The Synod field of work in Syria and Lebanon includes around 38 churches, and about 4000 active members, and more than 20 ordained pastors, and another number of legal preachers and students of theology.
Since its beginning, the evangelical presence in the Middle East has been accompanied by the emphasis upon sponsoring education. The Synod has contributed richly to the educational development of both Syria and Lebanon, with its schools today serving more than 14000 students. Of great significance is the fact that these schools serve students from all Christian and non-Christian affiliation, with no discrimination toward race, religion or gender. This is a Christian legacy and testimony of interaction, harmony and reconciliation within a community which has suffered from generations of Sectarianism. This commitment to inclusiveness addresses what has historically been a source of division and abuse.
The National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon shares, with other Middle Eastern evangelical churches, the Board of Trustees of the Near East School of Theology (N.E.S.T)in Beirut, and participates in the two Governing Boards of Lebanese American University (L.A.U) through its eight delegates. The Synod is a co-founder and active member of the ecumenical movement through its membership in the Council and the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches, and the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon (the Evangelical structure representing various Evangelical churches in Syria and Lebanon before the civilian authorities).
II. Board of Education
Evangelical school’s Board of Education continues to do the most important work of our communities – that of educating our young people. Their primary goal is always focused on the success of the children in our schools. They establish the vision, mission and goals and develop policies to achieve them. They implement plans for the development and improvement of our schools and oversee the work of each school. They approve the budget; monitor the fees, annual revenues, expenditures and ratifyannual reports.
This work includes an endless string of meetings and school functions to attend; reams of reports, agendas, proposals and other documents to read and study; and a never – ending commitment to thoughtful consideration of the issues, balancing perspectives, and making difficult decisions that are focused on what is best for our students
III. SES MANAGEMENT TEAM
IV. SES ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM