(07 October 2012 05:00 pm)
On Sunday, October 7th, The Near East School of Theology celebrated the opening convocation and installment of the ninth president, Dr. George Sabra. It was attended by students, faculty and staff, board members, representatives of AUB, LAU and Haigazian University, the Arab Baptist Seminary and friends of NEST and was followed by a reception.
A word of welcome was offered by Rev. M. Karaguezian, president of the Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches and secretary of the Board of NEST, and the invocation was given by Rev Zoorob, Pastor of the Episcopal Evangelical Church, Beirut.
The new president was installed by Rev. Dr Sahiouny, President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community of Syria and Lebanon and Chairman of the Board of Managers, who presented Dr Sabra with the symbol of office. Dr. Paul Haidostian, president of Haigazian University and Member of the Board of NEST, presented the new president and closed by saying: "I can confidently say, that if Protestantism in the Middle East would have liked to see in a theologian rigor and seriousness, in a teacher clarity and method, in a leader faithfulness and faith, in a preacher concern for the truth, in an administrator, ethical standards and transparency, in a public personality diplomacy and openness, in a Christian believer the rationally minded and soft spirited person, then the name would be our new president, George Sabra.
The charge to the new president was given by Rev. Karaguezian who encouraged Dr. Sabra saying that although he had been entrusted with its leadership, it was the responsibility of the community to attend to the needs of the NEST together. He stressed that the NEST community is behind him and with him as we work together to sustain the school and nurture it in its unique role as a Protestant Theological Seminary and a beacon in the local community and in the wider Middle Eastern region.
In response, Dr. Sabra gave an address on the three tasks of a Theological Seminary. He reminded and encouraged us that the role and responsibility of such an institution is to serve both the church and the wider community, to cope with change, responding to the challenges that the Church faces by thinking theologically and searching to find Biblical truths that can be applied to our changing world and working together to transform Church and society.
A Prayer for dedication was given by Mr Jahshan, Vice Chairperson of the NEST Board of Managers and readings were given by professor of New Testament, Dr Awwad, and student Gerard Ghazarian.
Music was played by resident Lori Aintablian, on piano and student Lisa Mohns, who conducted the NEST choir.