On Monday, April 4, 2016, His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph attended a meeting of CAMECT (Christian Arab and Middle Eastern Churches Together) at the Armenian Orthodox Prelacy in New York. His Eminence was accompanied by the Archdiocese Vicar General, Archpriest Thomas Zain. Nearly all of the various churches with their roots in the Middle East were represented by their respective hierarchs or a representative.
There were two main items on the agenda for the spring meeting. The first was a dialogue with the New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner, William Bratten. This was a very welcomed and enlightening dialogue as it was the first time such a meeting has taken place with the leaders of the NYPD and the New York Middle Eastern Christian community. Both sides agreed to further the dialogue in the months to come. Other representatives of the NYPD from the Arab-American community were present and gave their input on how both groups can work together to help build bridges and keep our neighborhoods safe.
The second major item on the agenda was a presentation by Mrs. Kristen Evans of In Defense of Christians (IDC). Many recent achievements of IDC were reviewed and noted, including their successful efforts to urge the United States Congress to classify as “genocide” the massacre of Christians (and other groups like the Yazidis) by ISIS and other extremest groups in Syria and Iraq. Future objectives and goals were proposed by the CAMECT group to Mrs. Evans to bring back to IDC for consideration, including the plight of other Christians in the Middle East.
Both the dialogues with the NYPD and IDC will be ongoing in the weeks and months to come. The next meeting will take place in the fall of 2016.