Lebanese pastor elected president of World Communion of Reformed Churches
Published on 11 July, 2017
The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), of which the Kirk is a part, has elected a new president from Lebanon.
Experience and many gifts
The Rev Najla Kassab, a minister in the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL), was elected on Friday
“With her experience and many gifts, Najla’s vision, insight, spiritual strength and grace make her the right person to lead us forward as president,” said Alison McDonald, the moderator of a Nominating Committee that brought a slate of nominees for the WCRC Executive Committee to its General Council.
The elections took place on 7 July, the final day of the Council, which has been meeting in the eastern German city of Leipzig since 29 June. Of the 22 members of the new Executive Committee, 10 are men and 12 women; 15 are ordained and 7 are lay people.
Five of the members of the Executive Committee are young adults under 30 years of age, including one of the vice-presidents.
Kassab, 52, has been a member of the WCRC executive committee since 2010.
The director of the Christian Education Department of NESSL, she was the first woman to receive a preaching licence in her church and, in March 2017, the second woman to be ordained. Kassab has a BA in Christian Education from the Near East School of Theology, and graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary (USA) in 1990.
“Since 1993 I have been struggling for women to be ordained in the Middle East, and I thank God that just two months ago two women were ordained as pastors in the Middle East,” Kassab told a press conference after her election. “I stand, as I said, for equal rights for women to fully use their talents in the life of the church and for the church to grow through the talents of women.”
Among her priorities are strengthening the regions of the WCRC and supporting young people. “This is a time to listen to them, struggle with them, hear their contribution in the life of the church,” Kassab stated.
She noted that on some issues, WCRC member churches have different views. “The priority is to sit around the table and listen to each other in a spirit of discernment and dialogue guided by the Holy Spirit.”
She underlined the importance of ecumenism in the life of the WCRC. “As Reformed people we cannot survive without ecumenism,” she said. “What happened in Wittenberg is a strong ecumenical statement of the churches.”