• OTHER \ May 26, 2003
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    Abu-Akel recounts events of energetic year as moderator
Abu-Akel recounts events of energetic year as moderator In his final official address to the church, the Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel used distinctly spiritual language in recounting his eventful year as moderator of the 214th General Assembly.

My whole life belongs to God, and to the larger church, he said during the opening session of the 215th Assembly. I have tried to serve God with all my energy.

He said he needed every ounce of energy to get through his year of travel around the church and the world.

Abu-Akel presented a long list of congregations he has visited, in each case highlighting a particular initiative of the church in question, and mentioning the names of Presbyterians and others he encountered there.

He often showed his passion for the work of the church by pumping his fist as he read from a prepared text. He expressed excitement especially about three aspects of the PC(USA) new members, racial-ethnic diversity and mission giving.

I pray and wish we could publicize what the local congregations do every day to be faithful, he told commissioners to this years Assembly.

Abu-Akel noted that his trip to Israel and Palestine included a visit to his hometown near Nazareth, where he was welcomed by relatives and urged to pray for the church in Palestine and for the end of the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

He said he was impressed during a trip to Asia and China by the resolve of the Christian church there, which continues to find ways to thrive. And he said he was thrilled to lead worship in the Sudan and to celebrate Holy Week in Cuba.

He spoke glowingly of the faithfulness of:

* Palestinian Christians, who have learned to survive as a minority;

* Chinese Christians, who hunger for the Word;

* Korean Christians, who teach us how to pray and be in mission;

* Indonesian Christians, who survive in the largest Muslim country in the world;

* Cuban Christians, who cling to Jesus Christ as the hope of the world in every political system that exists; and,

* Kenyan Christians, who teach us the importance of elders, who must help give the Word.

Abu-Akel expressed particular gratitude for his vice moderator, Ann Beran Jones, who was absent because of an injury she suffered in a fall two days before the start of the Assembly, and his wife, Mary, for her unfailing support.

I have discovered the strength of the PC(USA) indeed, the people of the Bible, he said. May God help us to continue to be a people of prayer, as we seek to study and understand church history and abide by the constitution.