For many years, Saint Luke’s was in relationship with Cindy Morgan, MD and Les Morgan, MD, Presbyterian medical missionaries in the Southern Asian Territory, helping to provide support through prayer and funding. The Morgans retired in the summer of 2019 after 30 years in Bangladesh.
Wanting to continue our support of work going on in that same part of the world, the Saint Luke’s Outreach Committee has now initiated a relationship with mission co-workers, Rev. Elmarie and Rev. Scott Parker, who are based in Beirut and are Associates for Ecumenical Partnerships with the people of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Elmarie’s work focuses on strengthening and deepening relationships between the church in those three countries and Presbyterians in the USA. She is convinced that the the witness of Christian churches in the region is needed to contribute to a peaceful future in the Middle East. Scott serves with the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) as a writer in residence. He uses written story-telling to communicate the experiences and views of the Middle East church and people to Presbyterians in the USA and Europe. He also leads MECC efforts to respond to children traumatized by unrest and war in Iraq and Syria who now seek refuge in Lebanon.
Prior to this call, both Parkers served as parish pastors, serving in California, Florida, and Ohio. Each has a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. Additionally Elmarie has a Master of Science in marital and family therapy. The Parkers moved to Beirut in 2013.
Just at the time Saint Luke’s was initiating contact with the Parkers, Beirut was rocked by a massive explosion causing huge numbers of deaths and injuries and extensive damage to buildings and homes. When we asked what we could do immediately to help, Elmarie requested and received funds for the re-building of the Blessed School. Blessed School, founded in 1868 by English missionaries, serves primarily young adults who are on the autism spectrum, have Down’s Syndrome, or are mentally handicapped.
Included in this article are a letter that Scott sent to introduce Elmarie and him to the children of Saint Luke’s and a picture of them. In the future he will be sending us a letter addressed to the adult members of the church. In the meantime, please keep Elmarie and Scott Parker and the people and churches in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria in your prayers. Especially remember those in Beirut during this dark, post-blast time.