DANVERS, Mass. (BP) – For 38 years, hundreds of Middle Eastern Christians have come from nearby communities in New England and places far away to worship together for one weekend. Since 1984, the Arabic Baptist Church of Boston has hosted its annual conference around the July Fourth holiday. The event draws attendees and online viewers from around the world.
The first conference saw around 80 to 100 people, said Samy Ibrahim, one of the organizers. This year’s event drew more than 450 – attendance made up of Arabic Baptist’s local congregation as well as visitors from around the U.S., Canada and the Middle East, who gathered July 1-4 at the Doubletree Hotel in Danvers, Mass.
Joe Ghobrial, a pastor at Arabic Baptist, came to faith in Christ at the 2009 conference and said the annual event is an important marker for him and many of the regular attendees.
“It’s like when the people of Israel were about to cross the Jordan River, and Joshua made the river dry up, and God told them to take stones of remembrance and mark the spot of the miracle,” Ghobrial said. “The conference for me every year is that, being reminded of the stone of remembrance and God’s grace of saving this wretched soul.”
The Arabic Baptist Church of Boston, a part of the Baptist Churches of New England (BCNE) since its founding, takes the lead in hosting the conference, which is supported with grants from the BCNE.
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Source: Baptist Press