The Beirut church is the oldest and largest of these nine congregations; indeed, it is the oldest indigenous Arabic-speaking Protestant congregation in the Middle East. It was established in Beirut in 1848 as a result of the efforts of Congregational and Presbyterian missionaries from the United States. In 1869, the first evangelical church edifice was built to house the Arabic and English-speaking congregations. For the next hundred years it served as the center for all the activities and celebrations of both communities. The Arabic-speaking congregation is typical of most other evangelical churches around the world. It has active Sunday school, youth groups, women’s program, spiritual, social and cultural services and committees which minister to the needs of the congregation and the society surrounding it.
In 1975, with the beginning of the war in Lebanon, most of the active ministries of the NEUL came to a halt. The Church of Beirut was still able to worship in the chapel of the Near East School of Theology in Ras Beirut. However, most of the churches of the Union were destroyed or deserted. The elementary and high school, which the Beirut Church was running in the nearby town of Dbayyeh, had to move to several different locations in and around Beirut during the war years (1975 – 1990).
In 1990, the churches of the Union began gradually to rebuild their infrastructures and rejuvenate their ministries and activities. #Beirut #Church #heritage #Lebanon