National Evangelical Church of Beirut (NECB)
The National Evangelical Church of Beirut (NECB) is a small but influential church in the heart of Beirut. The NEC originated from the work of American missionaries who came to Lebanon in 1848.
The NECB sponsors the Johann Ludwig Schneller School in Khirbet Kanafar, among others. This is one of the EMS projects in Lebanon. The school offers children from very needy or difficult families a school education and, if they wish, vocational training. In addition more and more refugee children from war-torn Syria have been taken in. The NECB continues to support the Philemon Project, which helps refugees meet their everyday needs in Lebanon, and the Near East School of Theology.
Christianity in Lebanon
It is difficult to put the distribution of religious affiliations in Lebanon into figures. There are a total of 18 recognised religious communities of which about a third are Christians and two thirds Muslims. The largest groups comprise Shiite and Sunni Muslims followed by Maronites, Greek-Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Christians. Besides these groups, there are Orthodox and Catholic Armenians, Druze, Protestants and other smaller religious communities.
The various Christian denominations, with their unique concentration and diversity, have become part of the national identity in Lebanon. As such, Lebanon is a centre of Christianity in the Arab world. Traditionally Lebanon was an important haven for movements and communities persecuted for their religious convictions. It is therefore no coincidence that the ecumenical movement for a rapprochement between the various Christian churches and communities in the Middle East had their origins here.