Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Mazen Alsaqa Concludes Visit in Holston Presbytery

Dr. Mazen Alsaqa, a refugee from Iraq, and a speaker for the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program gave his final presentations Wednesday at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, Tusculum College and First Presbyterian Church in Greeneville.

This post is a wrap-up of his week with information on how interested individuals can learn more and contribute to peacemaking in Iraq.

Thanks to Madison Mathews for this article in the Johnson City Press, Visiting Peacemaker Says Faith Still Practiced Despite Obstacles and to Eugenia Estes for this article in Tusculum College's paper, Iraqi Refugee Speaks About Christian Persecution In His Native Country.


Friday Sept. 30: Mazen met with five members and their spouses of the Ethical Issues and Human Needs Committee for supper at Babylon, a restaurant in Johnson City that is owned and operated by Iraqi Christians.

Saturday Oct. 1: I took him Roan Mountain to visit the snow.


Sunday, October 2: Mazen spoke to the Sunday School and preached at Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Dandridge. In the evening he made a presentation at Cold Spring Presbyterian Church in Bristol.

Monday, October 3: Mazen spoke to students at King College in the morning...


...and at First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton Monday evening.


Tuesday, October 4: I interviewed Mazen on my new radio program on WETS and WEHC. That program will be aired in November. I'll let you know when. Mazen presented at the Presbyterian Campus House at ETSU in the evening.

Wednesday, October 5: Mazen presented at chapel at Emmanuel Christian Seminary in the morning...

mazenemmanuelgroup Tusculum College at noon...


and at First Presbyterian Greeneville in the evening where he was joined by the youth of Timber Ridge Presbyterian.

More Information

For pictures go to my Facebook album, Mazen Alsaqa, and please tag yourself or others you know. If you have pics please get them to me electronically and I will add them to the album.

Snad and Mr. Dewey produced a DVD of his presentation in Elizabethton. Contact Snad for details on how to get one.

Emmanuel also recorded a DVD of his presentation. Contact Heather Holland for details on how to get one.

For more information regarding the situation of Christians in Iraq go to the General Assembly Mission Council Iraq Webpage.

While there, you can make a donation to the Iraq Partnership Network.

You can also give to The Peace Fund for Solidarity with the Iraqi Churches.

Here is the link for the International Peacemaking Program.

You can also contact Dr. Mazen Alsaqa directly if you have questions or wish to learn more. E-mail him here.

Here are some background articles:

Visiting Peacemaker Says Faith Still Practiced Despite Obstacles
Iraqi Refugee Speaks About Christian Persecution In His Native Country.
Al Qaeda Turns to the Church

Iraqi refugees move to Michigan despite economy

Iraq native on mission for Presbyterian Peacemaking Program

Michigan remains a magnet for Iraqi refugees

Final Thoughts

I am honored to have been able to spend time with Mazen, to learn his story, and through him to be connected with followers of the non-violent peacemaking Jesus in Iraq.

This is a good way to end my term on Ethical Issues and Human Needs Committee. In the last three years we were able to bring in addition to Mazen, Augustin Mukendi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2010), and Vinita Eusebius of India (2009) to Holston Presbytery.

I learned that in the 90s we hosted Shehadeh Shehadeh (Israel/Palestine) in 1992, Zeni Soares (Brazil) in 1993, Elier Ceballos (Cuba) in 1994, Tamara Zgonjanin in 1996 (Bosnia), and Maen Bitar (Syria)1998.

I hope we can continue this tradition of hosting International Peacemakers in the future.

I will close with a photo that captures the spirit of the week. Mazen seemed especially energized to address students at Emmanuel Christian Seminary who are preparing for ministry and/or the mission field. After his presentation they gathered around Mazen and prayed for him, for the people of Iraq, and for all of us that we might walk in the way of peace.


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