6 • The ACO and its diversity of faces

The ACO and its diversity of faces  

For over a century a multitude of missionaries with diverse capacities have been involved with the ACO in a spirit of service in the name of the Gospel. In the Middle East, there were missionaries engaged in various occupations working hand in hand with Armenian, Arab and Assyrian colleagues. Armenian pastors and evangelists served in France. Volunteers of civic service and of international solidarity were and still are involved as well as committed members of the ACO Fellowship.

Some have devoted most of their lives to the ACO, others only a few months. Some have gone through personal hardships or dangerous times like the civil war in Lebanon. Some have started families! All gave and received in a spirit of joy and gratitude.

Here are some of their portraits.

Max Muller, missionary, 1920s
Medical team in Aleppo, 1930s: Dr. Philip Hovnanian, nurses Behie and Sarah Aladjadji, nursing assistant Nevart, nurse Kati Ostermann

Family of Pastor Joseph Barsoumian, who went from Aleppo to Lyon then Alfortville, 1923 to 1946

Djellal Kaloubek, Turkish convert, evangelist, 1930s

Family of Ghazar der Ghazarian, evangelist to the Kurds in Eastern Syria, 1930s
Daniel Couderc, pastor in Damascus from 1937 to 1945, and his wife Hélène, who died giving birth to her third child
Jean-Michel Hornus, pastor of the French-speaking parish of Beirut from 1953 to 1958 and teacher at NEST, Faculty of Protestant Theology

Anne-Marie Beck, Alsatian, teacher and evangelist from 1938 to 1976, with her Syrian husband, evangelist Elias Tartar

Nans Groeneveld, teacher, trainer, pastoral support in Lebanon from 1956 to 1990
Hélène Hartmann, from 1955 to 1982, in Aleppo then Saghbine and Zahlé in Lebanon: training centre for young women
Alice Ulmer, from 1956 to 1978, teacher in Aleppo then Beirut and Anjar in Lebanon
Sister Yvonne Favre, from 1961 to 1971, training centre for young women in Saghbine, Lebanon
Robert Breicheisen, pastor and director of ACO from 1961 to 1995, at the inauguration of the new church of Hassake in Syria
Pastor Paul Brès, in charge of the AFNA (Accueil Familiale Nord-Africain) in Strasbourg, from 1971 to 1988
Pastor Martin Burkhard and his wife Claire-Lise, sent to the French-speaking parish of Cairo from 1992 to 1997
Bernard Coyault, pastor in Cairo from 1997 to 2001 and Ernest Reichert, pastor and director of ACO from 1995 to 2007

Pastors Frédéric and Laurence Gangloff, sent to NEST, the Protestant theological faculty of Beirut, from 1997 to 2001

Figures de l’ACO Fellowship

Bchara Moussa Oghli, pastor of the Church of Christ in Aleppo
Pastor Megrditch Karagoezian, President of the Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches of the Near East
Anie Boudjikanian, active in the medical and social sectors in Beirut

Pastor Joseph Kassab, secretary general of the Arab Synod

Hadi Ghantous, Syrian-Lebanese pastor and theologian, surrounded by a couple of parishioners displaced by the war in Syria
Sargez Benyamin, Iranian pastor exiled in Germany
Hendrik Shanazari, Iranian pastor exiled in the United States and Jean-Claude Basset, pastor engaged in interreligious relations who spent some time in Iran